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Posted on 5 August 2013 @ 02:33edited 08:41 39s
Hi ZFS Gurus,

I require some advice. Seems this is the best place on the net to come to for all things ZFS, so hopefully your collective knowledge and experience will help guide a ZFS noob like me. So here's the the use case, I want to build / rebuild a home / SMB file server.

I currently uses Ubuntu with an Adaptec 5805 card using 5x 3TB WD Reds in Raid5 plus an OS drive.
But I want to move away from EXT4 and adopt ZFS. As I understand it the Adaptec 5805 has a JBOD mode (preferred for ZFS right?) but based on one forum post I'm told it still writes metadata to each disk, which ZFS does not like. Is this true? And is there a way around this?

Otherwise I see three options 1. Buy an LSI 98211-8i card flashed to IT mode - but I understand that LSI and Gigabyte boards are not overly compatible. 2. use onboard SATA2 (MB is a GA-X48-DQ6) but I'm concerned about performance. Or 3 upgrade to brand new MB /processor and lots of ram - again the question is if the onboard sata3 of the new board will be good enough. So below are my vital stats for the current and the possible new system.

Current Server:

MB: GA-x48-DQ6 (sata2 only)
CPU: Q9550 at stock speeds
GPU: very budget nvida card
Controller: Adaptec 5805
1x500GB Drive (OS)
5x3TB Drives storage - attached to RAID controller in RAID5
OS: Ubuntu 12.10 using Ext4

Proposed Server - if required:

MB: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 Motherboard if using onboard sata3 or m-itx variant if using controller card.
CPU: Xenon 1230 V3
Mem: 32GB
GPU: same as current
OS Disk: same as current
Storage Disk: same as current but in RaidZ1
Controller: use onboard sata3 or LSI 9211-8i depending on your recommendation
OS: Ubuntu with ZFS kernel mod

In terms of performance at present I get on average 357Mb/s read and 499Mb/s write. I would be aiming for something comparable to that. I did read:

Which was an excellent intro and I walked away with the impression that onboard was ok but to counter that:

at the bottom of the page shows quite a remarkable difference in performance.

The only thing to add is I am looking to encrypt the storage device LUKS/Truecrypt under Ubuntu or ZFS native if that is possible outside of Solaris. I know there is a gain in using the AES-NI instructions on the new processor but its no big deal if I stick to what I have

So just to recap my main questions are:

1. Can I use the 5805 in JBOD mode for ZFS?
2. If not should I use the onboard sata2 on my current board, noting it only has 8GB ram (cant be expanded) and what will the performance be like?
3. If not should I go get a LSI HBA or new MB or both? Again performance is the primary concern.

[edit removed the OS questions for non-performance reasons I need to stick with Ubuntu]

Sorry for the long post, go easy I really am a ZFS noob and thanks so much for reading.

Kind regards,



20 posts

Posted on 7 August 2013 @ 19:50edited 19:57 53s
I see you like intel. From perspective of amd guy, you could get one of supermicro mbs with opteron 3000 line cpu, if you need only storage and dont intend to go for VM. With that you would get low wattage with 8 sas/sata3 connections in hba mode, plus expansion options with pcie8 (H8SML-7F / H8SML-7 / H8SML-iF / H8SML-i)
ecc support(big bonus for software raid and has usb connector inside too). I have my current setup supermicro H8SML-7F and amd 3350he runing with no problems exept power control does not work properly, but i get like 135w on idle with 8 4TB wd hdds. Cant say nothingabout speed, as it was not important for me, so i never tested properly. If you want to go lower, you can go for intel atom or AMD Embedded GX line SOC 9-25w range, but limitation would be pcie4x as they do not have integrated raid cards, so speed wont be very good. As for the questions, jbod mode works for most new cards, so dont see a big problem here, mixing onboard sata and raid or hba card can impact on performance since raid card usually have better cipset and mixing them together is not the best way, you can have two separate pools, then one woul be slower, but thats it, zfs loves ram, but 16GB is enough for most systems, unles many VMs are used, or heavy load is expected. For the last question i cant be specific, becouse a lot depends on hardware configuration and software configuration interacting. Same setup may be good for one and bad for another person. All i can say, that my server resilvered 4tb hdd in about 23 hours(server is in zfs2 mode and 3,5TB free space of 20,7 usable).

6 posts

Posted on 16 November 2018 @ 02:33edited 02:35 30s
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25 posts

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22 posts

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