FreeBSD & Software RAID

Valentin Bud valentin.bud at
Mon May 25 16:38:21 UTC 2009

On Mon, May 25, 2009 at 7:30 PM, Graeme Dargie <arab at>wrote:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Howard Jones [mailto:howard.jones at]
> Sent: 25 May 2009 14:58
> To: freebsd-questions at
> Subject: FreeBSD & Software RAID
> Hi,
> Can anyone with experience of software RAID point me in the right
> direction please? I've used gmirror before with no trouble, but nothing
> fancier.
> I have a set of brand new 1TB drives, a Sil3124 SATA card and a FreeBSD
> 7.1-p4 system.
> I created a RAID 5 set with gvinum:
> drive d0 device /dev/ad4s1a
> drive d1 device /dev/ad6s1a
> drive d2 device /dev/ad8s1a
> drive d3 device /dev/ad10s1a
> volume jumbo
>        plex org raid5 256k
>        sd drive d0
>        sd drive d1
>        sd drive d2
>        sd drive d3
> and it shows as up and happy. If I reboot, all the subdisks show as
> stale, and so the plex is down. It seems to be doing a rebuild, although
> it wasn't before, and would newfs, mount and accept data onto the new
> plex before the reboot.
> Is there any way to avoid having to wait while gvinum apparently
> calculates the parity on all those zeroes?
> Am I missing some step to 'liven up' the plex before the first reboot?
> (loader.conf has the correct line to load gvinum at boot) I tried again,
> with 'gvinum start jumbo' before rebooting, and that made no difference.
> Also is the configuration file format actually documented anywhere? I
> got that example from someone's blog, but the gvinum manpage doesn't
> mention the format at all! It *does* have a few pages dedicated to
> things that don't work, which was handy... :-) The handbook is still
> talking about ccd and vinum, and mostly covers the complications of
> booting of such a device.
> On the subject of documentation, I'm also assuming that this:
>    S jumbo.p0.s2           State: I 1%     D: d2           Size:
> 931 GB
> means it's 1% through initialising, because the states or the output of
> 'list' aren't described in the manual either.
> I'm was half-considering switching to ZFS, but the most positive thing I
> could find written about that (as implemented on FreeBSD) is that it
> "doesn't crash that much", so perhaps not. That was from a while ago
> though.
> Does anyone use software RAID5 (or RAIDZ) for data they care about?
> Cheers,
> Howie
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> I have been running ZFS RAIDZ for 5 months on a 7.1 amd64 install, I
> have to say my experience has been mostly good. Initially I had an issue
> with a pci sata card causing drives to disconnect, but after investing a
> new motherboard with 6 sata ports everything has been smooth. I did have
> to replace a disk last week as it was showing checksum, read and write
> errors. ZFS rebuilt 2TB of data in around 5hours and did not loose any
> files at all.
> Regards
> Graeme
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I have been using ZFS for about half an year. I just have mirroring with 2
drives. Never had a problem with it. I would go with ZFS in the future too.
And yes the server is in production and it has all sort of important data.

a great day,

network warrior since 2005

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