[clug-talk] WD Green HDD's with ZFS

Cody Swanson mailinglists at sysop.ca
Mon Mar 26 13:26:45 PDT 2012

I have used ZFS extensively at home and at work for the last 5 years. My 
advice is don't use ZFS on linux.

The fuse port is slow and you don't get some of the native OS features 
of ZFS. I also can't speak to it's reliability. There is also a kernel 
module built by 3rd party developers which works but is unreliable 
(www.zfsonlinux.org). I tried it recently and it worked great for about 
3 weeks at which time it started causing kernel panics on CentOS 6.2. I 
was also unable to mount the filesystem as it was stuck trying to do 
something with the ZIL. In short, ZFS with linux is a bad idea.

If you want ZFS I suggest Solaris proper or FreeBSD. I have about 35TB 
of deduped data on a FreeBSD ZFS filer @work on generic hardware which 
is used for backups.

I've also been running with a bunch of WD caviar greens at home on my 
personal media server for 3 years with ZFS on FreeBSD. The only problem 
I ran into was I had to run a utility to stop the drives from parking 
the drive heads when idle. I had a disk failure and when I pulled the 
smart data for my drives I noticed that the load-cycle count was over 
half a million for the drives even though they were only a few months 
old. I guess the WD firmware by default parks the heads when the disk is 
idle for more than a few seconds, when ZFS goes to flush the ZIL to disk 
it causes the heads to unpark. Once I ran the little WD dos util to 
disable that "feature" it fixed the issue and it may not be an issue on 
newer WD Greens.

If you must use Linux I suggest XFS instead of ZFS. I've used XFS on 
linux for a long time and it's been quite reliable. My previous employer 
has many tens of petabytes of storage on Linux/XFS without issue.

On 26/03/2012 12:08 PM, Shawn wrote:
> Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe FUSE is a viable option in
> multi-user settings. I was looking at using sshfs to provide a network
> share until I read that Fuse does not support file locking properly and
> therefore could encounter problems when a file is being written to from
> multiple sources (like say, two network users). Of course, I don't have
> the web page handy where I found this either... sorry. The same document
> recommended using CIFS or NFS instead. That may be old info though, so
> do your homework regarding FUSE if you are looking at it.
> Shawn
> On 12-03-26 11:50 AM, Gustin Johnson wrote:
>> I do not consider FUSE or relying on a Ubuntu PPA to be a solution. The
>> performance penalty you pay with FUSE pretty much negates any advantage
>> any file system may have (except of course sshfs and other slow WAN FUSE
>> based file systems). The third option of building it myself is no
>> longer viable.
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