Advanced Technology for Maximum Performance


Using ZFS Functionality

BonFire supports arrays of both hard disks as well as SSDs.  SSDs are generally managed by WildFire-Storage's Enterprise Storage Stack.  This allows you to use low-cost SSDs and achieve maximum performance.

Arrays of hard disks are suported with ZFS and ZVols.  ZFS is good at mass storage where performance is not a big factor.

Bonfire will auto-detect hard disks and allow you to configure them for ZFS using either mirrored or RAID-z pools.  This configuration is available from the BonFire web interface and is very easy to use.  The BonFire web interface does not allow you to configure SSDs for use with ZFS.  If you choose to do so, you can manually configure ZFS and then allow BonFire to provision ZVols after a ZFS ZPool is created.  If you choose to manually configure ZFS for use with SSDs, please consider the following issues:

Enterprise SSDs:  ZFS requires enterprise SSDs.  ESS can effectively use read-intensive and consumer SSDs.  ZFS cannot.

Mirrored vs RAID /z Sets:  ZFS performs best with mirrored drives.  RAID /z sets are much slower with ZFS.

Caching SSDs and ZIL Logs:  Are fully usable with ZFS, but again, they must be built with Enterprise SSDs.  In particular, ZIL log devices need to be built with "high endurance" devices.

Performance Comparison with ESS:  ZFS with mirrored enterprise SSDs is typically about 1/3rd the speed on read and 1/10th the speed of writes as the same array with ESS.  The ESS array will also wear drives much slower.

If you do choose to build an array with ZFS and SSDs, they will be fully functional, just not as fast as the same hardware with ESS.  Wtih ZFS be sure to pick your SSDs carefully.

ZFS, and in particular large storage servers, need a lot of RAM and a lot of processing power: much more than that required by ESS.  You should use powerful dual socket servers with ZFS.  It is especially important to only use ECC RAM with ZFS.

ZFS storage is licensed in BonFire based on the available "user storage".  This calculation is the same regardless of HDD vs SSD or the presence of ZIL log or Cache devices.

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