April 2010

Ten Ways To Easily Improve Oracle Solaris ZFS Filesystem Performance

ZFS Performance

This is a long article, but I hope you'll still find it interesting to read. Let me know if you want me to break down future long articles into multiple parts instead.

One of the most frequently asked questions around ZFS is: "How can I improve ZFS performance?".

This is not to say that ZFS performance would be bad. ZFS can be a very fast file system. ZFS is mostly self-tuning and the inherent nature of the algorithms behind ZFS help you reach better performance than most RAID-controllers and RAID-boxes - but without the expensive "controller" part.

Most of the ZFS performance problems that I see are rooted in incorrect assumptions about the hardware, or just unrealistic expectations of the laws of physics.

So let's look at ten ways to easily improve ZFS performance that everyone can implement without being a ZFS expert.

New Video: Implementing a Simple SMF Service: Lessons Learned

During OSDevCon 2009 in Dresden, I had the honor to present on some lessons learned while putting together a ZFS Automatic-Scrubbing SMF service.

Today, Deirdre was so kind to publish the video recording of my presentation on The Oracle Solaris Video Blog.

From the description:

This talk walks you through the implementation of a simple SMF service. What sounds "simple" at first, develops a life of its own when you consider installation/de-installation, security considerations, error handling and debugging, and of course unexpected little bugs and shortcomings. Finally, we add a GUI to our service by discovering the OpenSolaris Visual Panels project. This "lessons learned" talk is intended to be a practical roundup of things to consider for developers interested in integrating with SMF.

How To Automatically Update Your Home Media Server Library With DTrace

New Music!

Before we continue with our Home Server Scripting Series, let's throw in a simple but useful DTrace hack.

One of the most typical uses for a home server is to serve music or videos to home entertainment equipment. In my case, I'm using the Firefly Media Server to serve music to my Roku Soundbridge and Mediatomb for videos.

The Media Server Update Problem

Whenever I upload new music or videos to my OpenSolaris home server (typically by rsync-ing my laptop home directory), both Firefly and Mediatomb need to be restarted so they detect that new files are sitting in their directories, waiting to be served.

OpenSolaris ZFS Home Server Reference Design


When I blogged about my OpenSolaris Home Server a while ago, little did I know that this would become my most popular entry in my old blog!

In fact, R.G. was so kind to call my setup "perilously close to being an AMD reference design". Thanks, R.G.! Read about his final setup here. And BTW, if you're into e-guitars, check out his GEOFEX page, a great resource for guitar effects.

So let's review our reference design and discuss some modifications to better suit your needs:

Spring Cleaning Part 2: Clearing Up Your Home Directory

My empty OpenSolaris Desktop at work.

Yesterday, I cleaned up my home directory at work. I went from ca. 15 GB of data down to 1.1 GB. And I only stopped there, because I didn't want to spend too much more time cleaning up. Here's how to do it.

In the previous post of this mini-series, we looked at why it's important to have our emails and files organized, then attacked our INBOX to reach zero-message-nirvana. I'm happy to see that others are living by these principles, too. Thanks, Gregor!

Now let's look at that other dark spot in our IT lives: Our Desktop and file system. If you're like me, you see this very often, too: Cluttered desktops with so many files and folders and downloads and icons and stuff, you can barely make out the underlying desktop background.