ZFS on small systems

Steve Bertrand steve at ibctech.ca
Thu Sep 17 12:26:48 UTC 2009

Anselm Strauss wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm interested in using ZFS on one of my small systems with 256 MB of
> RAM and 4 GB flash disk. Since ZFS is now considered production ready on
> FreeBSD I would like to use it as root filesystem and profit mainly from
> the cool snapshot features for easy backups.
> I found multiple recommendations to run ZFS only on systems with enough
> resources. But is this only a requirement if you want good performance
> or also for ZFS to function properly at all?

I've found that on the i386 arch, that at minimum you need 756M of
memory to do anything really useful. Now, I don't know if this has
changed or not, but I doubt that the box would be useful for anything
with only 256M.

With that said, I can keep a box running at max disk r/w for hours on
end with 2GB, and 1536M allocated/reserved for ZFS.

Perhaps however that there have been enhancements introduced that I
don't know about, that allow ZFS to operate in such a small memory
address space, but for some reason I doubt it. If I'm wrong, someone
will let us know ;)

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