My Home Media Server on OpenSolaris + ZFS: Part 1
By drapeau on Dec 18, 2008
My mission: use the current release of OpenSolaris (2008.11) as the basis for the main fileserver for home. Right now, we've got several computers that have external disks attached to them for extra storage (music, photos, movies, etc.) and I want to centralize that for a couple of reasons:
- Friends of mine lost their house to a wildfire; fortunately, they had stored all of their critical data on a single computer with lots of disk so when they had to evacuate the house they grabbed one box and didn't lose any critical data. Laugh all you want; when The Big One comes, I want to be ready.
- I'd like to simplify the administration of our home machines. This is home, for goodness' sake; I don't want to be hiring a system administrator to keep our stuff in order.
But first, I'm going to try this out on a computer that is known to work with OpenSolaris. I'll get the setup running there to make sure that ZFS + OpenSolaris really is as easy and reliable as I think it is. Once I'm convinced that works, I'll switch to my cheapo computer and see if OpenSolaris runs on that.
So here goes...
Step 1: Data Protection
I have four disks: two 1TB drives, two 1.5 TB drives. I'll split the larger drives into two partitions: 500GB for the operating system and the remaining TB for the big bucket-o-storage. (let's call it my media pool: ZFS pool used primarily for storing audio, video, and photos)
So my first decision to make is: how should I have ZFS protect my data against disk failure? After all, I'm buying consumer-grade disk drives but the server will be on 24/7. The disks will fail. I don't want to lose my data just because I don't want to pay extra for more reliable disks. I want the software (ZFS) to take care of the problem for me. I start by looking at the ZFS Best Practices Guide to see what my options are.
I'm considering three options for ZFS protecting my data:
- raidz (shorthand for "raidz1", meaning 1 error can happen and I don't lose data)
- raidz2 (meaning 2 errors can happen and I don't lose data)
Now that I've decided how to protect my data, I just need to create the appropriate partitions on the larger disks, and I'll be ready to install the OS. I'll document that in my next blog entry.
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