ZFS - Tuning

I am focused on refactoring and monitoring my storage over my home and cloud. The goal is to move all my storage over to ZFS to standardize and benefit from ZFS' features. In an previous article, I have used RAID 0  with a single disk to present the disks to the OS, however, the ZFS documentation recommends using JBOD instead of any type of RAID when presenting the disks to ZFS. With that in mind, this article will describe how to set up a JBOD in a MegaRAID card using the megaCLI tool, create a ZFS pool and add it to proxmox.


Before starting to issue commands, we need to understand what is our end goal. The picture below describes the current disk configuration for one of my hypervisors. As seen, it is using the not recommended RAID 0 configuration.

After all migrations, the storage will look like the representation in the diagram below. However, the hypervisor is live and we can not just scrap everything and rebuild the whole storage. It will have to be done in stages and the first step will be the creation of the VMs and Containers pool.

1) Creating a JBOD

We will implement the first step in the creation of our pool and this time following the recommendations creating a JBOD with the 6 newly installed disks.

Let's check if our megaRAID adapter supports JBOD and if yes let's enable it.

The megaCLI command help has two options for JBOD, one is to enable JBOD and the other to set disks as JBOD.

root@hv1:~/storage/megacli# megacli help | grep -i jbod
MegaCli -AdpSetProp -EnableJBOD -val -aN|-a0,1,2|-aALL 
       val - 0=Disable JBOD mode. 
             1=Enable JBOD mode. 
    | CopyBackDsbl | LoadBalanceMode | UseFDEOnlyEncrypt | WBSupport | EnableJBOD 
MegaCli -PDMakeJBOD -PhysDrv[E0:S0,E1:S1,...] -aN|-a0,1,2|-aALL
Command to enable JBOD

We can also use the AdpGetProp command to check the current state of the property.

root@hv1:~/storage/megacli# megacli AdpGetProp enablejbod -a0
Adapter 0: JBOD: Disabled

Exit Code: 0x00
Getting the JBOD property status

Our adapter has the JBOD option disabled.

Let's enable and consequently check its state with the commands below

root@hv1:~/storage/megacli# megacli AdpSetProp EnableJBOD 1 -a0
Enabling JBOD
It takes some time to complete.
root@hv1:~/storage/megacli# megacli AdpGetProp enablejbod -aALL
Adapter 0: JBOD: Enabled

Exit Code: 0x00
Checking the JBOD setting.

2) Make JBOD

In theory now we should use the command to make disks JBOD. However the 6 new installed disks were automatically converted to JBOD after the option has been enabled on the adapter.

Slot Number: 0 - Online, Spun Up
Slot Number: 1 - Online, Spun Up
Slot Number: 2 - Online, Spun Up
Slot Number: 3 - Online, Spun Up
Slot Number: 4 - Online, Spun Up
Slot Number: 5 - Online, Spun Up
Slot Number: 6 - Online, Spun Up
Slot Number: 7 - Online, Spun Up
Slot Number: 8 - Online, Spun Up
Slot Number: 9 - Online, Spun Up
Slot Number: 10 - Online, Spun Up
Slot Number: 11 - Online, Spun Up
Slot Number: 12 - Online, Spun Up
Slot Number: 13 - Online, Spun Up
Slot Number: 16 - JBOD
Slot Number: 17 - JBOD
Slot Number: 18 - JBOD
Slot Number: 19 - JBOD
Slot Number: 20 - JBOD
Slot Number: 21 - JBOD
Slot Number: 22 - Online, Spun Up
Slot Number: 23 - Online, Spun Up

The disks also are being seen by the OS and we are ready to create our ZFS pool.

sdf                                8:80   0 558.9G  0 disk 
sdg                                8:96   0 558.9G  0 disk 
sdh                                8:112  0 558.9G  0 disk 
sdi                                8:128  0 558.9G  0 disk 
sdj                                8:144  0 558.9G  0 disk 
sdk                                8:160  0 558.9G  0 disk

3) ZFS Tuning

ZFS is a fast and reliable storage solution, however it has to be handled and configured properly in order to deliver its speed and reliability.

After reading a few ZFS tuning articles ( you can find the links to all of them at the bottom of this article ) I came up with the following configuration for the VM & Containers pool.

ashift = 9 - to match the 512B sectors of the underlying disks.

compresssion = LZ4 - ZFS compression is very fast and rarely will affect performance.

recordsize = 16K - Recommended for fast IOPs on pools that will deal with random reads and writes like VM disks.

volblocksize = 4K - Another recomendation from the documentation for VM disks.

geometry - The pool will contain 6x Disks in total, divided into 3x mirrored VDEVs.

Pool Geometry

4) Creating the Pool

We need to first create the pool and set its ashift.

zpool create -f -o ashift=9 vm-storage-pool mirror /dev/sdk /dev/sdj mirror /dev/sdi /dev/sdh mirror /dev/sdg /dev/sdf
zpool status
pool: vm-storage-pool
 state: ONLINE
  scan: none requested

        NAME             STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
        vm-storage-pool  ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror-0       ONLINE       0     0     0
            sdk          ONLINE       0     0     0
            sdj          ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror-1       ONLINE       0     0     0
            sdi          ONLINE       0     0     0
            sdh          ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror-2       ONLINE       0     0     0
            sdg          ONLINE       0     0     0
            sdf          ONLINE       0     0     0

errors: No known data errors

5) Setting ZFS Properties

After creating the pool we need to set a few more options that are not setable during creation.

zfs set compression=lz4 vm-storage-pool
root@hv1:~/storage/megacli# zfs get compression vm-storage-pool
NAME             PROPERTY     VALUE     SOURCE
vm-storage-pool  compression  lz4       local
zfs set recordsize=16K vm-storage-pool
root@hv1:~/storage/megacli# zfs get recordsize vm-storage-pool
vm-storage-pool  recordsize  16K      local

6) Adding to Promox

Go to Datacenter > Storage > Add > ZFS.

I have moved a couple of VMs to the pool and all is working as expected.

7) Conclusion

With the steps above we were able to create a ZFS pool for our VM & containers. I higly recommend that you read the workload tuning article from the ZFS docs in order to tune the settings according to your application needs. The geometry is also quite important and this article is recommended for reference as well.


megacli2prom/megacli.py at master · bojleros/megacli2prom
Megacli to prometheus textfile exporter. Contribute to bojleros/megacli2prom development by creating an account on GitHub.
MegaCLI cheat sheet
MegaCLI cheat sheet
ZFS performance tuning
A generic piece of advice on tuningZFS is a mature piece of software, engineered by file- and storage-system experts with lots of knowledge from practical experience. Sun invested a lot of money and b
ZFS tuning cheat sheet – JRS Systems: the blog
Performance tuning — openzfs latest documentation
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love RAIDZ | Delphix
The popularity of OpenZFS has spawned a great community of users, sysadmins, architects and developers, contributing a wealth of advice, tips…

Share Tweet Send
You've successfully subscribed to Infoitech - [B]logging
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Infoitech - [B]logging
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.