i migrated from mdadm/XFS to ZFS once I discovered an alternative to ZFS-fuse, the standard ZFS Debian package (whose performance and feature set were dated). ZFS had been limited to Solaris and FreeBSD prior to ZFS on Linux as a kernel module.
ZFS obviates the need for mdadm and LVM, allows creating volumes (pools) using persistent device-ids, data checksum and self-healing, deduplication, on the fly compression, file system management and a host of other features. In short, everything that Linux btrfs hopes to be and then some.
The only downside is that ZFS is unlikely to ever be part of a native Linux kernel because of licensing conflicts, despite being open source, which makes a full ZFS root installation rather involved. But ZFS on Linux provides a kernel module which allows it to be utilized for my primary need: RAID storage of my media, backup snapshots and software depot.
make a source directory for downloading and compiling the SPL and ZFS modules..
apt-get install build-essential gawk alien fakeroot linux-headers-(uname -r)
tar -xf spl-0.6.2.tar.gz
sudo dpkg -i *.deb
apt-get install zlib1g-dev uuid-dev libblkid-dev libselinux-dev parted
tar -xf zfs-0.6.2.tar.gz
sudo dpkg -i *.deb
The manual build is currently required for Linux kernels greater than 3.9. For Linux kernel 3.9, a Debian package, courtesy of the ZFS On Linux contributors may be used instead..
sudo dpkg -i zfsonlinux_1~wheezy_all.deb
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y install debian-zfs
ZFS allows you to create any number of RAID configurations. I always seem to migrate back to RAID level 10 for its simplicity, performance and less stressful impact on the array when resilvering needs to be done (when a failed drive is replaced).
Get the list of device-ids from /dev/disk/by-id/.. and optimally order your mirrors so that disks of varying age and model (which you can determine from the device-ids) are paired to minimize the risk of losing a mirrored pair simutaneously or during a rebuild.
No partitioning of the drives is necessary, ZFS takes care of that all for you. To create an 8 disk 4TB RAID10 pool named tank and a mount point named /net (the default is /pool)..
sudo zpool create -o ashift=12 tank \
zpool iostat [interval [count]]
zfs get all
Monitor the health of the physical disks with smartmontools.
if a pool has disappeared upon a reboot, for example, after a power failure, and doesn’t show with a zpool status or zfs list, the pool can be listed and restored with..
zpool import -f tank
The import may need to be forced because zfs may think the pool is in use by another system preventing its import in the first place.
If the zpool.cache somehow becomes stale and all the pools are not mounting at boot, refresh the zpool.cache with..
zpool export tank
zpool import tank
zpool replace -f tank [device-id] [with device-id]
If a drive is beginning to show signs of imminent failure, you can issue the replace command to insert a new drive instead of removing the defective drive with the offline command and triggering a resilver by adding a new drive to the mirror.
If larger capacity drives have been inserted into the pool and autoexpand is not set on, issue the online command to expand the pool by the size of the new drives with..
zpool online -e tank [device-id]
zpool scrub tank
Note: resilvering an array is I/O intensive.
ZFS has a large set of commands available using the zpool and zfs commands for exporting, importing and upgrading pools, creating filesystems (essentially logical volumes), setting the attributes of a filesystem (compression, size, share status, mount point, etc.) and for destroying (removing) filesystems and pools, etc. For example..
zfs create tank/[filesystem]
zfs set compression=on tank/[filesystem]
zfs set dedup=off tank
zfs set autoexpand=on tank
zfs set mountpoint=/[mountpoint] tank/[filesystem]
zfs rename tank/[filesystem] tank/[to filesystem]
zfs unmount tank/[filesystem]
zfs destroy tank/[filesystem]
zpool destroy tank
Furthermore, you can tweak performance with the inclusion of SSD drives for caching and logging – its performance for me is fine as is so I have not been compelled to go down that path. ZFS uses gobs of RAM but its feature set and performance outclass any hardware specific RAID controller, whilst being non-proprietary. Plus it is all administered from the OS and makes doing so, so much simpler than the conventional method of partitioning drives, using mdadm and LVM, formatting for a particular filesystem and reparing it as required, etc. – a win win.
zpool create pond \
zfs set compression=on pond
zfs set dedup=off pond
Using some spare drives lying around, a 4TB RAID0 pool from 2TB and 2 1TB drives were created to provide a backup volume for the RAID10 pool above. (You can never have too many backups – even of a redundant array). How easy is that!