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I was trying to setup a NAS box for my ESXi server using linux, I was going to install ZFS and iSCSI and I thought everything was going to be awesome. I was wrong...

ZFS on Linux is not the most amazing thing, it needs work.

So I am curious, FreeBSD supports ZFS correct? What version of ZFS does FreeBSD support for starters and also the more important question. How much does FreeBSD differ from Linux, I am assuming both Linux and FreeBSD would be using BASH as the default shell.

Would it be hard to setup as a NAS box for doing storage with ZFS? The backend would probably be iSCSI for VMware to connect.

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I use FreeBSD quite a bit, and I am very active in the community... FreeBSD is a Lot like linux, almost anything you could want in in the FreeBSD ports tree... it has bash and zsh for shells... for the most part FreeBSD gives you all the benefits of Gentoo Linux, but it is easier to setup..

As far as ZFS goes FreeBSD 9.1 supports zfs v28 with deduplication... if you run 9-STABLE it supports ZFS feature flags as well... FreeBSD HEAD is kept VERY close to in sync with illumos...

for those who don't know illumos is for the most part the ZFS reference platform... ZFS is far more stable on FreeBSD than Linux at this point.

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FreeBSD is very similar to Linux. "Same shit, different kernel [and userland]" as I tend to say. Practically all the familiar programs do run under FreeBSD, so yes, you can get your bash and so on for it. The default shell in FreeBSD is (t)csh, but that can be easily changed even during install phase.

FreeBSD's package management system offers both pre-compiled binary packages and source-based packages (ports, Gentoo is similar with its Portage).

Current production version (8.2) of FreeBSD has ZFS v15, the upcoming version (9.0) has ZFS v28.

As you are going to install a NAS box, please also take a look at FreeNAS - it's based on FreeBSD and makes managing your NAS a breeze.

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I have looked at FreeNAS and it has the same "problem" that FreeBSD apparently has, ZFS does not support deduplication. Other than the amazing managment that is really main reason I want ZFS it can do dedup for VMware. – ianc1215 Dec 1 '11 at 6:57
As far as differences in FreeBSD, arnt things like device names different? In linux you have /dev/sda1 but in BSD isnt /dev/d0s1a or something? – ianc1215 Dec 1 '11 at 6:59
Yes, device names do differ, top looks a bit different, some commands do have minor differences in their available parameters, but most of the stuff is familiar and if you have lots of experience with various Linux distributions, you will catch that up quickly. Besides, even in Linux the device names are changing -- Fedora 16 tells me my beloved eth0 is em1. Crikey. – Janne Pikkarainen Dec 1 '11 at 7:02
Hmm well maybe I will give it a try then, seems like FreeBSD would be fine for me to learn enough to get a NAS running. In your opinion is RC2 of FreeBSD 9 good enough for "playing" around with? Or should I stay with the stable 8.2? – ianc1215 Dec 1 '11 at 7:11
Well, it's already a Release Candidate so it can't be all bad. But as with all new technology, be careful! Feel free to play with it, but don't put all your important data on it unless you've seen it works for you. – Janne Pikkarainen Dec 1 '11 at 7:15

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