FreeBSD and large harddrives

Ryan Coleman ryan.coleman at
Thu Nov 18 14:52:41 UTC 2010

On Nov 18, 2010, at 6:16 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.

As a user of such a system (1.5TB, though) I recommend that you NOT use the green drives. If you insist on WD go with the Black. I've had good luck with Hitachi, myself.

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

I have the RR2320 and am happy.

> So now my questions:
> 1. Which FreeBSD version should I install? (it must support large drives).
> I'm currently using the standard FreeBSD 8.1 (STABLE) on several servers,
> but this is a 32bit version, right? I suppose I need a 64bit version when I
> use large harddrives?

Running 8.1 for the AMD64.  I'd run 64bit no matter what. You can always get 32bit to run in 64, but not v-v.

> 2. I know that the 3ware Raid controller supports larger drives than 2TB (or
> was it 1TB?). The Highpoint controller I'm not so sure of, but I've had good
> experience with these on a few Windows servers and on one FreeBSD server. My
> setup would be to use the entire disk for both operating system and
> filestorage (in version 1). How can I create this huge partition/slice? I
> don't think the installer (atleast on the standard FreeBSD version) supports
> these large drives?

Yes. I'm using UFS (at the recommendation 3 years ago of this list) and am quite happy.  The 2320s are supporting both an 8x1TB RAID5 (6.3TB) and an 8x1.5TB RAID5 (~9.5TB) without issue. If you get it all going OK in the first run you have a web interface for the RR223x boards. 

> Thanks for your help. I might have follow-up questions as my project make
> progress.

Good luck, Andy.

> Best,
> Andy

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