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 Post subject: Quiet Solaris [Express] / ZFS on x64?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:30 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:09 pm
Posts: 1
Hello everyone,

I certainly don't want to get into the ZFS merits wars... But I did recently set up a redundant ZFS disk server for my home. Given that neither freeBSD nor solaris was particularly familiar to me (have used mostly linux), I chose solaris express 11 on the thought that the solaris guys have to care deeply about this, given that they're putting it in production machines. My questions are:
1. no one on these message boards seems to use it... why is that? is there something obviously wrong with it that i don't understand? people refer to it, but i just never hear anyone saying that he's done it.
2. has anyone set up any scripts to control CPU fan speed on solaris/x64 (not sun hardware)? after a few hours of frustration, i've resorted to the age-old technique: unplug the CPU fan (i know, i know...).

that aside, though, it was pretty easy and is totally stable over the last month (although every time i smell smoke, i think of that machine). i'd love to hear any success stories or specific advice regarding reasonable fan control options.

thanks in advance

 Post subject: Re: Quiet Solaris [Express] / ZFS on x64?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:24 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 3:49 pm
Posts: 82
Location: Seattle, WA
If you see my Gallery thread, you see my Solaris ZFS build. It include custom built Wood case with EMI shielding and modified powersupply, and custom HDD mouting.


The Fan speed is controlled by Mother Board BIOS, and runs at very low speed, and only increases to speed when CPU hits 55+c. which is never. Even with 2x Prime 95 thread, it does not budge 42c.

I also have one 120mm fan common for HDDs and MB and Powersupply. Original intent was to mount tower heatsink with only one fan total, but it became little tight to mount tower heatsink.

BTW, I run Ubuntu inside Solaris Express 11 using Vbox. This is to run MediaTomb upnp server. I tried coherence upnp in solaris, but lot of issues. But if you have success with coherence, let me know.

I have 6 x 2TB SATA drives, and 1 x 2.5: IDE drive, and flash drive for ZIL and running with 8GB memory. Running RAID Z2, one dedupe folder,and non- dedupe, all run compression.


Media PC(Living Room): ASUS M4A785-M X4 [email protected] 1.15v, 4GB Corsair 42" LG 1080P LCD TV, Harmony Remote, Logtech RF PS3 Keybaord/IBM . WinTV-HVR-1600, USB ATSC Tuner with BeyondTV/XBMC

Processing PC(Den). Gigabyte P35-DS3L Quadcore [email protected], 4GB ADATA Extreme DDR800, 24" HP LCD, Blu-Ray/HD-DVD Drive.

 Post subject: Re: Quiet Solaris [Express] / ZFS on x64?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:57 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2003 2:47 pm
Posts: 133
Location: USA
After Microsoft dropped the "no more drive extender" bomb on Windows Home Server, I migrated to a FreeBSD/ZFS solution and have been running it successfully for the past several months. Lately I've been experimenting with SE11 on a secondary server that I use to backup the primary. Some observations:

    For someone accustomed to Linux, FreeBSD is probably a less painful transition. From a system administration viewpoint, most things are in familiar places and use familiar config files (e.g. Samba, sshd, etc.). Solaris has its own set of admin tools and the way services are managed is different. It's not as jarring as switching to, say, Windows Server 2008, but there is a learning curve. If you use the freely-available Napp-it GUI to set up the server, it's vastly less painful. FreeBSD also has an excellent front end called ZFSGuru. It's still somewhat embryonic at this point, but I think it's shaping up nicely and already supports most of the important things. ZFSGuru also implements a much better strategy for dealing with 4K sector drives efficiently, mainly thanks to some very powerful features in the FreeBSD kernel that Solaris currently lacks (specifically the GEOM framework). SE11 doesn't address the 4K alignment problem at all, though apparently you can use FreeBSD to create properly aligned pools and then import them into SE11.

    It's unclear, at least to me, whether its a good idea to rely on the free version of SE11 long term. Oracle doesn't seem to provide patches for it, nor do there seem to be any software repositories available, unless you pay. I don't know if there's a user community supporting SE11 with open source repositories or not.

    SE11 uses the latest version of ZFS/zpool. This is probably a good thing, but see my previous point. If SE11 turns out to be unsupported in the future, you may not be able to migrate your pool back to FreeBSD or one of the Open Solaris projects (e.g. OpenIndiana), because they all use older versions at this point. So when you create your pools, you may want to specify an older version of the filesystem in the zpool/zfs commands.

    SE11/Open Solaris's kernel-based SMB/CIFS server component is generally regarded as having better performance than Samba. In my trials it does seem somewhat faster but my two machines have some significant hardware differences that make direct comparisons difficult (mainly, the SE11 machine has much slower drives). There are lots of other advanced features as well that may or may not be useful outside of the enterprise.

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