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Looks like Debian 6.0 (Squeeze) will be supporting ZFS via the official GNU/kFreeBSD kernel.

This opens a possibility of converting our Debian GNU/Linux cluster's dedicated NAS server from OpenSolaris 2009.06 to Debain. The server connects to the SAN via FiberChannel HBA and to the LAN vi InfiniBand HBA. Probably, it would be pretty hard to get the drivers to work on kFreeBSD.

Supposing all the drivers actually work, would this be a stable setup?

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6 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'm not sure it would be a big win over OpenSolaris. The current ZFS implementation in FreeBSD stable (8.1) trails the OpenSolaris version by quite a big chunk. The code in the development tree (9.0)is a lot more current, but I don't know how stable that is. Because of the version difference, you lose out on features like dedupe, which can be huge, depending on your usage, and you may have issues downgrading your zpools.

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you have to ask yourself how many people are running the debian/bsd hybrid...and how many of them rely on it to be stable

this project has always struck me as a fun idea and experiment, but i wouldn't presume to rely on it

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Good point. It might be prudent to wait until the release of Debian Squeeze+1 ("Wheezy") before considering it for production use. –  Steven Monday Dec 10 '10 at 0:00
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No, that is a toy to play around with - a nice one though.

Note that FreeBSD has no OFED stack that could get your IB partition running ...

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Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is not a toy anymore! With Squeeze is will be a stable Debian port, with full security support and updates.

Sure, the release is labeled as "technology preview" but this is because on the desktop it's not fully usable yet (there are many bugs that populate GNOME/KDE libraries and other important desktop components).

OTOH on the server it's perfectly fine. We're using it on production already (as backup server, not a big deployment mind you) with no serious trouble.

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could you define production and deployment a little bit more? And you are using that thing as backup server - could you also be more specific? Hell I don't even trust an "enterprise" ZFS appliance from Oracle my data (for good reasons). –  pfo Dec 13 '10 at 16:27
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The FreeBSD 8.x-STABLE branch's ZFS support isn't 100% stable (I've crashed it a few times myself). It's also currently at version 13/14; a ways behind OpenSolaris. FreeBSD's InfiniBand support is 'lacking' (ie, nearly non-existent) last I looked too.

I'd highly recommend against using GNU/kFreeBSD for anything related to production.

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What would be the gain? What about using Nexenta instead? It is far more commonly used in production, and it probably supports your hardware already.

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+1 Nexenta could defiantly be a good solution. For now our OpenSolaris setup is working great. But OpenSolaris is discontinued so I'm keeping any eye out on the ZFS forks. I will just wait and see. –  Aleksandr Levchuk Dec 13 '10 at 17:44
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