Back in 2010, we ran some benchmarks to compare the performance of FreeNAS 0.7.1 on the ZFSBuild2010 hardware with the performance of Nexenta and OpenSolaris on the same ZFSBuild2010 hardware. (http://www.zfsbuild.com/2010/09/10/freenas-vs-opensolaris-zfs-benchmarks/) FreeNAS 0.7.1 shocked all of us by delivering the absolute worst performance of anything we had tested.
With our ZFSBuild2012 project, we definitely wanted to revisit the performance of FreeNAS, and were fortunate enough to have FreeNAS 8.3 released while we were running benchmarks on the ZFSBuild2012 system. It is obvious that the FreeNAS team worked on the performance issues, because version 8.3 of FreeNAS is very much on par with Nexenta in terms of performance (at least when doing iSCSI over gigabit Ethernet based benchmarks).
We believe the massive improvement in FreeNAS’s performance is the result of more than simply using a newer version of FreeBSD. FreeNAS 8.3 is based on FreeBSD 8.3 and includes ZFS v28. To test our theory, we benchmarked ZFSGuru 0.2.0-beta 7 installed onto FreeBSD 9.1, which also included ZFS v28. The performance of ZFSGuru was a fraction of the performance of FreeNAS 8.3. This led us to believe that the FreeNAS team did more than simply install their web GUI on top of FreeBSD. If we had to guess, we suspect the FreeNAS team did some tweaking in the iSCSI target to boost the performance. Theoretically speaking, this same tweaking could be done in ZFSGuru to produce similar gains. Maybe a future version of ZFSGuru will include the magic tweaks that the FreeNAS already includes, but for now ZFSGuru is much slower than FreeNAS. If you want to run a ZFS based SAN using FreeBSD, we strongly recommend FreeNAS. We don’t recommend ZFSGuru at this point in time, since it is vastly slower than both Nexenta and FreeNAS.
The software versions we used during testing were Nexenta 3.1.3, ZFSGuru 0.2.0-beta 7 (FreeBSD 9.1), and FreeNAS 8.3 (FreeBSD 8.3). Click here to read about benchmark methods.
We realize that newer versions have been released since we ran our benchmarks. We will not be re-running any of the benchmarks at this time, because we have already placed the ZFSBuild2012 server into production. The ZFSBuild2012 server currently runs Nexenta as a high performance InfiniBand SRP target for one of our web hosting clusters.
All tests were run on exactly the same ZFS storage pool using exactly the same hardware. The hardware used in these tests is the ZFSBuild2012 hardware.
We did not run any InfiniBand tests with FreeNAS 8.3, because FreeNAS 8.3 does not have any InfiniBand support. We did run some InfiniBand tests with ZFSGuru, but those results will appear in a different article specifically dedicated to that topic.
IOMeter 4k Benchmarks:
IOMeter 8k Benchmarks:
IOMeter 16k Benchmarks:
IOMeter 32k Benchmarks:
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