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Date:      Thu, 09 Dec 2010 16:15:06 +0100
From:      Ivan Voras <ivoras@freebsd.org>
To:        freebsd-fs@freebsd.org
Subject:   Re: what is the best way to use free space on several boxes?
Message-ID:  <idqrpt$fkj$1@dough.gmane.org>
In-Reply-To: <20101209141412.GA62013@relay.ibs.dn.ua>
References:  <20101209141412.GA62013@relay.ibs.dn.ua>

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On 12/09/10 15:14, Zeus V Panchenko wrote:
> Hi All,
>
> we have several FreeBSD 8-STABLE boxes, each has 2x500GB HDD in gmirror
> UFS dedicated
>
> but really it's used less than 30% each box ...
>
> so, advice please, what is the best/correct/right way to use the free
> space on the boxes? nfs? zfs? iscsi?
>
> the aim is to have storage place ...

It really depends on how reliable and flexible you need this storage 
space to be.

 From one side, you can simply create large files within the existing 
file systems (e.g. a 300 GB file on each) to serve as virtual disks, 
export them with iSCSI, import them on another box and create a ZFS 
raidz volume out of those drives - you get a small amount of fault 
tolerance here. The bad sides are: you need to have a large "fixed 
space" file on each of the machines (you can theoretically create sparse 
files but the downsides are even worse), only one box can see the 
consolidated space (the ZFS volume), and there are so many layers in 
this configuration that performance will probably be slow.

On the other hand, you can simply NFS-mount a directory from each of the 
machines under a single tree. This way you can more flexibly share space 
with existing data on the machines and be faster, but you cannot 
automatically make use of all of the available space at the same time.

Until FUSE is fixed, these are probably the only options.




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