Should we simply disallow ZFS on FreeBSD/i386?

Oliver Fromme olli at
Tue Jan 8 09:52:03 PST 2008

Erich Dollansky wrote:
 > Maxim Sobolev wrote:
 > > Gary Corcoran wrote:
 > > 
 > > I believe that 95% of hardware today that realistically is capable of 
 > I do not think so.

Actually I think it's less than 95%.

Of the seven machines I have at home, only one is 64bit
capable -- and that one happens to be a DEC-Alpha which
doesn't support ZFS.

Of the machines at our office room (dunno the count,
must be about a dozen) only one is amd64 capable --
and that one happens to be a workstation that needs
to run 32bit i386 because of X11 graphics support
(and I don't really need to use ZFS on it).

 > > running ZFS is also capable of running 64bit code, so that potential ZFS 
 > All new hardware since Intel started supporting 64 bits on their 
 > Pentiums is.

Nope.  There's still hardware produced today that's not

FWIW, my NFS server at home is an EPIA PD-10k board with
a VIA C3 processor (32bit only).  I chose that one because
of the very low power consumption.  It works perfectly
well for my purposes.

 > So, just make it a requirement for ZFS to run only on 64 bit upward.

I would certainly vote against such nonsense.

However, I think it does make sense to print a warning
if an admin tries to use ZFS on an i386 machine.  It
wouldn't hurt anyway.

It's quite normal that running certain software requires
some tuning so that software will work at all.  Typical
examples are squid (uses a lot of sysv message queues)
and PostgreSQL (semaphores) -- they won't run without
tuning, except for trivial setups that don't really do
much.  The ZFS tuning issues aren't much different.

Best regards

Oliver Fromme, secnetix GmbH & Co. KG, Marktplatz 29, 85567 Grafing b. M.
Handelsregister: Registergericht Muenchen, HRA 74606,  Geschäftsfuehrung:
secnetix Verwaltungsgesellsch. mbH, Handelsregister: Registergericht Mün-
chen, HRB 125758,  Geschäftsführer: Maik Bachmann, Olaf Erb, Ralf Gebhart

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