Archive for April, 2010

Explanation of ARC and L2ARC

ZFS includes two exciting features that dramatically improve the performance of read operations. I’m talking about ARC and L2ARC. ARC stands for adaptive replacement cache. ARC is a very fast cache located in the server’s memory (RAM). The amount of ARC available in a server is usually all of the memory except for 1GB. › Continue reading

Thursday, April 15th, 2010 ZFS 19 Comments

Why We Chose InfiniBand Instead of 10GigE

For years we have successfully connected all of our blade centers to our storage area networks using 1GigE. Each time we needed more bandwidth, we simply added more networking ports. For our ZFS Build project, we decided to break from this tradition and try out higher performance networking solutions in place of the 1GigE networking. › Continue reading

Thursday, April 15th, 2010 InfiniBand 3 Comments

Installing the Infiniband Switch

Installing Infiniband switch in a SuperMicro SBE-710E

Our current infrastructure relies completely on iSCSI for our storage solution. As such, we have dual gigabit switch modules in our bladecenter. While this has worked very well for us, we want to expand our bladecenter to accept the SuperMicro 4x DDR Infiniband switch.
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Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 Hardware, InfiniBand 1 Comment

Installing OpenSolaris

Installing OpenSolaris

When we took on this ZFS Build project, we decided to use OpenSolaris for our ZFS system rather than FreeBSD or a Linux variant. We chose OpenSolaris for the ZFS server because ZFS was originally built for Solaris/OpenSolaris, and we suspected OpenSolaris would therefore include better support for ZFS.
OpenSolaris feels very similar to FreeBSD or Linux, but specific commands may be different. One nice touch is that the installer is included on the LiveCD. › Continue reading

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 Configuration 11 Comments

Important Considerations

Important items to remember :

While building up our ZFS SAN server, we encountered a few issues in not having the correct parts on hand. Once we identified these parts, we ordered them as needed. The following is a breakdown of what not to forget. › Continue reading

Monday, April 12th, 2010 Hardware 4 Comments

Motherboard, CPU, Heatsink, and RAM selection

Motherboard Selection – SuperMicro X8ST3-F

SuperMicro X8ST3-FSupermicro Packaging

SuperMicro X8ST3-FMotherboard Top Photo

We are planning on deploying this server with OpenSolaris 2009.06. As such we had to be very careful about our component selection. OpenSolaris does not support every piece of hardware sitting on your shelf. We had several servers that we tested with that would not boot into OpenSolaris at all. Granted, some of these were older systems with somewhat odd configurations. In any event, component selection needed to be made very carefully to make sure that OpenSolaris would install and work properly. › Continue reading

Thursday, April 8th, 2010 Hardware 3 Comments