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    Thread: ZFS and Raid-Z

    1. Member nemesis099's Avatar
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      04-02-2009 11:38 AM #1
      I thought I would ask a question that I seem to be getting different answers on when I search online about ZFS and Raid-Z
      First from my understand ZFS is a filesystem and offers not true backup unless you do a mirror or a raid. (if this is incorrect please point me to an article that shows otherwise).
      Am I correct in saying Raid-Z using ZFS cannot be grown horizontally (by adding disks). But it can be grown by replacing the disks with larger disks one at a time.
      I ask because I'm looking into building a media server and have been looking at some free options rather then going the WHS route. But I would want something that I can add drives to as I have extra funds to purchase them and also be able to take advantage of the larger drives that come out.
      Right now WHS is in the front running for a few reasons one is the ease of use and the fact that I can just keep adding drives. But it seems like I could do most of this with a free OS such as Solaris or Freenas (although I wish they would include a final build with ZFS and Raidz rather then nightly builds).
      I would be serving everything to a PS3 and I would want to store HD movies. I would also store all sorts of different files formats between my wife and I.
      Please correct anything I may have said and if I am incorrect please post a link as I have little faith in someone saying I did it without any direction how.
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    3. Geriatric Member Hostile's Avatar
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      04-02-2009 11:43 AM #2
      Quote, originally posted by nemesis099 »
      I would be serving everything to a PS3 and I would want to store HD movies. I would also store all sorts of different files formats between my wife and I.

      One thing you need to keep in mind with streaming to the PS3 is that because of it's lack of codec support you may need the ability to transcode video on the fly, specifically for x264-encoded mkv files which are common for BluRay rips in particular. The other option is to re-encode them beforehand, which is just horribly time consuming.
      Or you can just avoid that codec alltogether.
      iain

    4. Member nemesis099's Avatar
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      04-02-2009 11:54 AM #3
      Quote, originally posted by Hostile »
      One thing you need to keep in mind with streaming to the PS3 is that because of it's lack of codec support you may need the ability to transcode video on the fly, specifically for x264-encoded mkv files which are common for BluRay rips in particular. The other option is to re-encode them beforehand, which is just horribly time consuming.
      Or you can just avoid that codec alltogether.

      I won't be downloading any files off of torrents the idea is to have one copy of the disk with the English audio ripped to a server so I can pull them up without finding the disk. I have a decent collection of DVDs and I'm starting to add Blu-Rays to it so both would be ripped in the best format possible (no compression preferrably in a format that can play without transcoding), which is why I want the ability to add disks as needed to grow the storage of the server.
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    5. Member Slayer's Avatar
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      04-02-2009 12:09 PM #4
      ZFS/ Raid-Z doesn't replace a true backup. it does offer snapshots, and it does keep checksums of the data to make sure the filesystem never gets corrupted, but you still need to do backups.
      you can't add a drive to raid-z, but you may be able to grow by swapping disks like you said.. i don't remember, its been a while since i goofed around with it
      I used solaris at the time, but I did try FreeBSD with zfs, and I had an issue with it.. basically lost the array, but luckily I was just testing at the time. Solaris worked great, but I swapped it out for win2k3 because of some other things that I needed to do. I'd kinda like to go back to Solaris to take advantage of zfs though
      also, zfs is very fast. only issues that I have with using a unix OS as a file server is that samba share transfers are considerably slower to a windows machine than they would be windows to windows.. not sure why, every release of samba that I have seen has the same issue
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    6. Member devnull's Avatar
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      04-02-2009 12:12 PM #5
      You're correct that ZFS does not provide "true backup" -- no filesystem does inherently, you need to back it up. What it can provide is resiliency to failure, the degree to which depends on how you set it up (Raidz, Raid2z, mirrors, 3 way mirrors, hotspares, whatever). ZFS snapshots do provide a method of creating quick and simple on-disk backups, which can also be sent over to other places, but its something you'd have to do.
      You can grow a raidz volume by adding more raidz sets to the zpool.
      For example, if you have created a pool called "tank" with drives A B and C
      zpool create tank raidz A B C
      and have some more disks available at a later date, D E and F
      zpool add tank raidz D E F

      Sure, it's not the same as "Growing" an existing RAID5 set, thats not how raidz works -- but you can grow the pool itself. Don't think of the resulting zfs pool as the actual RAID set, but a container that can hold a multitude of varied vdevs and mountpoints (filesystems).
      With the current state of zfs on non solaris systems, I personally wouldn't recommend using it on anything but Solaris or OpenSolaris -- though i'm not up to date with the progress Freenas has made, I do recall there being some serious performance issues under the linux implementations due to license encumbrances and how the filesystem could be loaded.
      I highly recommend reading the SI Best Practices wiki: http://www.solarisinternals.co...Guide


      Modified by devnull at 9:25 AM 4-2-2009

    7. Member Slayer's Avatar
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      04-02-2009 01:54 PM #6
      Quote, originally posted by devnull »
      With the current state of zfs on non solaris systems, I personally wouldn't recommend using it on anything but Solaris or OpenSolaris -- though i'm not up to date with the progress Freenas has made, I do recall there being some serious performance issues under the linux implementations due to license encumbrances and how the filesystem could be loaded.
      I highly recommend reading the SI Best Practices wiki: http://www.solarisinternals.co...Guide

      pretty much what I was getting at.. ZFS is amazing, but its not quite ready yet on anything but Solaris. The version I used on FreeBSD was buggy and not stable enough for me to use it at home reliably
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    8. 04-02-2009 05:56 PM #7
      Quote, originally posted by Slayer »
      pretty much what I was getting at.. ZFS is amazing, but its not quite ready yet on anything but Solaris. The version I used on FreeBSD was buggy and not stable enough for me to use it at home reliably

      whats wrong with solaris? it's only one of the most production ready operating systems on the planet.

    9. Member Slayer's Avatar
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      04-02-2009 06:46 PM #8
      Quote, originally posted by strider5 »
      whats wrong with solaris? it's only one of the most production ready operating systems on the planet.

      oh, no, you read it wrong.. i said it isnt 100% yet on anything other than solaris. its the only os i would use zfs with
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      04-03-2009 01:54 AM #9
      What about a good ol' software RAID-5 with LVM and EXT3 ? I think that's pretty much as bulletproof as you can get. You still need to back it up...naturally.

    11. Member jerk's Avatar
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      04-03-2009 01:58 AM #10
      Quote, originally posted by J-Tim »
      What about a good ol' software RAID-5 with LVM and EXT3 ? I think that's pretty much as bulletproof as you can get. You still need to back it up...naturally.

      I'll take a raidz any day of the week over raid5.

    12. 04-03-2009 05:19 AM #11
      Quote, originally posted by jerk »
      I'll take a raidz any day of the week over raid5.

      x2

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