Anyone using freebsd ZFS for large storage servers?

Kaya Saman kayasaman at
Thu May 31 16:12:55 UTC 2012

On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 5:05 PM, Oscar Hodgson <oscar.hodgson at> wrote:
> That helps.  Thank you.
> This is an academic departmental instructional / research environment.
>  We had a great relationship with Sun, they provided great
> opportunities to put Solaris in front of students.  Oracle, not so
> much, and the Oracle single-tier support model simply isn't affordable
> for this "business" (there's no ROI at the departmental level <g>).
> Solaris is not a viable option.

We found Oracle to be the cheapest out of all the solutions we looked
at: Netapp, MSI, et el.....

> FreeBSD looks like the next best available option at the moment,
> particularly considering the use of the storage heads as compute
> machines.  OpenIndiana shows promise.  Nexenta has a great product,
> but the user community expects more flexibility in software options.

FreeBSD is better then Linux in my opinion though lacking some
software and multimedia functionality that Linux has and not for the
Desktop as it's not as "bleeding edge" as say Fedora 16, however, if
FreeBSD offered Gnome3 and supported my wireless NIC I'd be all over
it like a "bad rash" :-)

> Is there anything like a list of "supported" (known good) SAS HBA's?

LSI HBA's are really good!

For my DIY solution at home I used a SuperMicro system board with
non-RAID LSI HBA.......

It is a similar solution that we will use for our test NAS at work
though we already have a Dell R700 series server. For this setup
however I will need to use an LSI HBA with both internal and external
Mini-SAS ports.

Instead of Promise we will use NetStor JBOD solutions as they work
with 6Gbps drives and overall give better performance.

> Oscar



> On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 11:38 AM, Kaya Saman <kayasaman at> wrote:
>> If this is any consellation I run a 36TB cluster using a self built
>> server with a Promise DAS (VessJBOD 1840) using ZFS at home! to
>> support my OpenSource projects and personal files.
>> As for OS take your pick: NexentaStor, FreeBSD, Solaris 11
>> All capable, of course Solaris has latest version of ZFS but still.....
>> At work we're looking into getting a StorEdge appliance wich will
>> handle up to 140+ TB.
>> I am also in charge of redesigning one of our virtual SAN's to a
>> FreeBSD ZFS storage system which will run.... well how many JBOD's can
>> you fit on the system?? Probably round ~100TB or so.....
>> Regards,
>> Kaya
>> On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 4:32 PM, Oscar Hodgson <oscar.hodgson at> wrote:
>>> The subject is pretty much the question.  Perhaps there's a better
>>> place to be asking this question ...
>>> We have (very briefly) discussed the possibility of using FreeBSD
>>> pizza boxes as a storage heads direct attached to external JBOD arrays
>>> with ZFS.  In perusing the list, I haven't stumbled across indications
>>> of people actually doing this.  External JBODs would be running 24 to
>>> 48TB each, roughly.  There would be a couple of units.  The pizza
>>> boxes would be used for computational tasks, and nominally would have
>>> 8 cores and 96G+ RAM.
>>> Obvious questions are hardware compatibility and stability.  I've set
>>> up small FreeBSD 9 machines with ZFS roots and simple mirrors for
>>> other tasks here, and those have been successful so far.
>>> Observations would be appreciated.
>>> Oscar.
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