A while back Casey started complaining that his Drobo storage robot was no longer being awesome. This got me thinking about how easy it would be to build a nice ZFS storage appliance that provide massive storage, constant data protection and self-healing against bit rot. I have wanted to build something like this for some time, but just never had the storage needs at home to justify it. Well, data needs grow and my discussion with Casey while stumbling around Fry’s was all it took to get me moving.
What is ZFS? Well, put simply, ZFS is Jeff Bonwick and The Bonwick Youth’s answer to every filesystem annoyance the world has ever known. It is the pinnacle of human achievement in filesystem development, and quite honestly, the only commonly available storage option that will truly protect your data. Now, before you start leaving angry comments explaining how [insert RAID solution here] does a perfectly good job of protecting data, I’m not talking about RAID. I’m talking about leveraging copy on write transactions and checksums at the block level to ensure data integrity, and an implemented strategy for self-healing against bit rot, current spikes, bugs in disk firmware, ghost writes, etc. I’m also talking about a dead simple and logical volume management layer and wealth of features too numerous to list here.
Anyhow, I cobbled together the items listed below, installed Openindiana Illumos on it and configured Netatalk. It works wonderfully, and I can’t say enough about how pleased I am with Illumos, and how happy I am to have an industrial strength, feature-rich UNIX in the open source community.
Usable Storage: 7.6TB (raidz)