I'm planning on building a file server using OpenSolaris and ZFS that will provide two primary services - be an iSCSI target for XenServer virtual machines & be a general home file server. The hardware I'm looking at includes 2x 4-port SATA controllers, 2x small boot drives (one on each controller), and 4x big drives for storage. This allows one free port per controller for upgrading the array down the road.
Where I'm a little confused is how to setup the storage drives. For performance, mirroring appears to be king. I'm having a hard time seeing what the benefit would be of using RAIDZ over mirroring would be. With this setup I can see two options - two mirrored pools in one stripe, or RAIDZ2. Both should protect against 2 drive failures, and/or one controller failure...the only benefit of RAIDZ2 would be that any 2 drives could fail. The storage should be 50% of capacity in both cases, but the first should have much better performance, right?
The other thing I'm trying to wrap my mind around is the benefit of mirrored arrays with more than two devices. For data integrity what, if any, would be the benefit of a RAIDZ over a three-way mirror? Since ZFS maintains file integrity what does RAIDZ bring to the table...doesn't ZFS's integrity checks negate the value of RAIDZ's parity?