FreeBSD and large harddrives

Mike Tancsa mike at
Thu Nov 18 13:51:24 UTC 2010

On 11/18/2010 7:16 AM, Andy Wodfer wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm going to build a server that's intended to store uncompressed videofiles
> (where 1 hour film equals about 500GB). I plan on using Western Digital 2TB
> or 3TB SATA harddrives.  Total storage in version 1 of this server will
> probably be 8-12 TB. Harddrive speed is not so important so a 5400rpm drive
> would be OK. Seems like the green line of WD harddrives use both 5400rpm and
> 7200rpm. I will use RAID 5.

I would stay away from the green series hard drives for this
application. There have been a number of reports of issues with the
drive's power saving design causing problems when used in raid arrays.
Search the list for more details.  Use their black series instead.

> The processor will be a 64bit capable Intel processor and I plan on using a
> Highpoint Rocketraid or 3ware Raid controller.

I would use FreeBSD 8.2 ( a contemporary RELENG_8 snapshot in other
words) that is AMD64.

Use ZFS for the file system.  Snapshots for backup and data integrity.
3Wares are great controllers, but a decent MB with 6 SATA ports and then
an additional eSata controller with external drive cage like this one.

see the man page for ahci on what is supported.

Booting off zfs is a bit tricky.  If you already have the 3ware card, a
pair of smaller / cheaper drives for the base OS and then all your zfs
drives for data storage is the least painful way to go right now. I do
this for my backup server. 10TB of storage, but the box boots off a
3ware raid card in raid1 mirror for the base OS.

ZFS is a bit of a different beast at first, but its very worth while to
get to know and understand.


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