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How I Store My 1's and 0′s (2012) (mocko.org.uk)
47 points by Tomte 309 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments

[Original] OP here.

I wrote this five years ago and it stands up pretty well. HP Microservers are a great device but if I were to build a new one today I'd look into using one of the many cheap ARM boards (NB: ZFS allegedly needs 64-bit to be stable) with disks in a USB-attached enclosure. Performance with USB3 should be enough for any home NAS and the hardware should come out even cheaper. There may even be ARM-based NAS boxes on the market that'll do the job.

I'd recommend against using raid-z(X) on a USB enclosure. The throughput to each disk just isn't there.

Also, my experiences using ZFS(onlinux) without any raid (i.e. single disk with "copies=" > 1) is that it wasn't very resilient against any kind of I/O error - even if the cable was bumped or something. This has resulted in the loss of a whole zpool and restore from backup.

> even if the cable was bumped or something. This has resulted in the loss of a whole zpool and restore from backup.

Yikes. Is it similarly fragile in the event of sudden power loss?

Is the throughput bad even with USB3? You're looking at 625MB/s which even after signalling overhead ought to be sufficient to saturate 3-4 magnetic disks. Latency might still be a concern but personally I've always found [non-ZFS] throughput to be great.

Have you measured the average power draw of this box? Does the hardware support wake from LAN traffic sent to it?

Sure did - I haven't the figures to hand but it wasn't alarming. Microservers are more about storage than compute so they have fairly low-power CPUs.

Yes; YMMV but according to http://n40l.wikia.com/wiki/Wake-on-Lan_(WOL) everything in the Microserver family does support WoL.

Power-wise, one thing that never really satisfied me about the setup was that it was hard to spin down disks. I never really dug into why but suspect ZFS is fairly 'chatty' with the underlying storage which prevented the spindown timeout being reached. Can anyone who's looked more closely confirm or deny this?

16gb will work no worries :-)

For anyone who's too lazy/dumb to do the above, just buy a couple portable Hard Drives on amazon. For ~$110, you can get a 4TB drive that fits in your pocket. I buy a new one every couple years when the previous one has filled up, which automatically ensures that I have more than enough older drives lying around to back up anything I care about. No power needed, no OS maintenance, no booting up, no spinning fans, immediate data transfers over USB 3.0, and oh, did I mention you can carry it in your pocket.

You'd want to couple this with some ability to check data integrity and you'd still need an offsite backup of some kind—plus you'll need a third copy anyway to recover if your primary fails and you plug the cold backup drive in only to find it's dead, which isn't unlikely enough not to worry about, or one or more files are corrupt, or whatever. Some inexpensive cloud storage service or a second (ideally different brand) cheap external stored elsewhere would do, though the latter's really inconvenient.

ZFS is great and all, but I'd like to see more comparisons between different ZFS "distros"/forks/versions. Afaik (almost?) all current ones are based on OpenZFS upstream, but it is difficult to find what version of it various distros have used, and what sort of customizations have been added. The main ones I'd be interested in hearing more of are:

* FreeBSD/FreeNAS

* ZFS on Linux/Ubuntu ZFS

* Illumos derivates (SmartOS/OmniOS/OI)

It's hard to ignore improper apostrophe usage when it's featured this prominently.

It's widely accepted to use an apostrophe s to form the plural of single digit numbers. See, for example, https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/punctuation/apostrophe

(This comes up a lot in math for variable names too)

It appears you are correct, thanks for pointing this out. It's pretty amusing that I was just schooled on grammar by somebody who calls himself "dubya". :)

I know the author probably didn't mean anything by it, but I dislike the implication that only a dude could bring ZFS to Linux.

Stop trying to push some bullshit agendas.

"In the early 1960s, dude became prominent in surfer culture as a synonym of guy or fella. The female equivalent was "dudette" or "dudess," but these have both fallen into disuse, and "dude" is now also used as a unisex term." -Wikipedia

I've yet to hear anyone use "dudette" or "dudess" while I see "dude" applied to females all the time.

Apparently, this is referring to this comment in the OP:

> Awesome. Srsly. And if any of the people who worked to bring the joy of ZFS to Linux read this – dude, I owe you a beer.

Nothing wrong with that comment I can see. By taking offense, you are doing your own cause a disservice, you person of unknown gender.

>I know the author probably didn't mean anything by it, but I dislike the implication that only a dude could bring ZFS to Linux.

Thanks for signalling your virtue, dude.

not to be rude but what are you talking about? I don't see that anywhere in the post.

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