ZFS install on a partition

Paul Kraus paul at kraus-haus.org
Sat May 18 00:03:39 UTC 2013

On May 17, 2013, at 6:24 PM, "bsd at todoo.biz" <bsd at todoo.biz> wrote:

> I know I should install a system using HBA and JBOD configuration - but unfortunately this is not an option for this server. 

I ran many ZFS pools on top of hardware raid units, because that is what we had. It works fine and the NVRAM write cache of the better hardware raid systems give you a performance boost.

> What would you advise ? 
> 1. Can I use an existing partition and setup ZFS on this partition using a standard Zpool (no RAID). 

Sure. Be careful when you say RAID… I assume you mean RAIDz<n> configured top level vdevs. Remember, a mirror is RAID-1 and the base ZFS striping is considered RAID-0. So set it up as plain stripe of one vdev :-)

> 2. Should I use any other solution in order to setup this (like full ZFS install on disk using the entire pool with ZFS). 

If the system is configured with existing LUNS use them.

> 3. Should I avoid using ZFS since my system is not well tuned and It would be asking for trouble to use ZFS in these conditions. 

No. One of the biggest benefits of ZFS is the end to end data integrity. IF there is a silent fault in the HW RAID (it happens), ZFS will detect the corrupt data and note it. If you had a mirror or other redundant device, ZFS would then read the data from the *other* copy and rewrite the bad block (or mark that physical block bad and use another).

> P.S. Stability is a must for this system - so I won't die if you answer "3" and tell me to keep on using UFS. 

ZFS is stable, it is NOT as tuned as UFS just due to age. UFS in all of it's various incarnations has been tuned far more than any filesystem has any right to be. I spent many years managing Solaris system and I was truly amazed at how tuned the Solaris version of UFS was.

I have been running a number of 9.0 and 9.1 servers in production, all running ZFS for both OS and data, with no FS related issues.

> Thanks. 
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Paul Kraus
Deputy Technical Director, LoneStarCon 3
Sound Coordinator, Schenectady Light Opera Company

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