Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as ‘A Year in Provence’, does it? After a year of using Solaris and ZFS for a home fileserver, I thought I would share my experiences here to give an insight into things that worked or did not work.Also, others have asked me to give a summary of my experiences of using ZFS to highlight strong and weak areas, and to give a critique.
The NAS had a zpool utilising one vdev (virtual device) of three drives in a RAID-Z1 configuration.Also, they appear to have marked this Green range of drives as unsuitable for RAID usage, even though the low price, low rotational speed (5400 RPM) and low power usage make them an obvious candidate for consumer RAID drives.If this is an intentional decision in order to create market segmentation between consumer and enterprise drives, then it is a pity, as there are many potential buyers of these drives for consumer RAID applications where issues of low price, high capacity and power economy are of primary importance, with performance of secondary importance.Currently the WD20EADS 2TB version of the same drive is just too expensive per GB to use, unless you’re building a monster Blu-ray server.Update #1 2010-01-20: Please note that serious problems with the current range of Western Digital Green drives are being reported in various fora, and so I can not recommend these drives as suitable for use in a RAID system, and Western Digital do not recommend them as suitable for RAID systems either. thread ID=121871&tstart=0 Update #2 2010-01-20: As of the date of this update, the price sweet-spot are the 1.5TB drives, with the 2TB drives still a little too expensive and currently not good value for money, although this will surely change in the coming few months.Also, Intel’s Atom processor and associated chipset and D945GCLF2 motherboard look interesting for very small NAS systems utilising a simple 2-way mirror.Unfortunately, due to only having two SATA connectors on the motherboard, it makes this unsuitable for a more substantial NAS using more than two drives, although I’ve seen that Zhong Tom Wang got round this limitation with his Intel Atom-based ZFS home NAS box. The latest Intel Core i7-based Xeon 5500 series of processors have 15 P-states, so can select an appropriate CPU frequency dynamically according to load.Update 2010-01-20: Since originally writing this article, there have been several new processor developments: I originally chose ECC memory for added robustness, and I will continue to use it for future builds, as the cost premium is minimal for the added peace of mind it gives in its ability to detect and correct parity errors within the memory. Enterprise server systems use ECC memory, and there’s a reason for that.Please see the important updates below before continuing.I just put media like music, video and photos on there, which I had masters of elsewhere.I also used this NAS as a kind of ‘dumping ground’ for copies of existing data from various machines and external drives.