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XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

New installs of XigmaNAS.
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XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#1

Post by JoseMR » 23 Apr 2018 19:21

XigmaNAS Full RootOnZFS Installation Manual

Hi, in this brief guide I will try to cover some basic information about XigmaNAS Full RootOnZFS Platform setup, but first, what is or why XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Platform?

As many users already know, XigmaNAS preferred installation method is to be installed as an Embedded Platform device(e.g. like modems, routers or at least it's mimics it), this meant that select advanced/experienced users will be unable to freely modify their system, such adding additional packages, fixing bugs on-the-fly or to make any customization to survive during system reboot, this makes the Embedded Platform quite hard and in some cases just impossible to customize, and most attempts are notorious workarounds and hacks with partial functionality rendering their Embedded installation into an not so elegant hard to work/maintain environment, not to mention that Embedded users need to wait for releases to patch critical bugs.

Additionally while many of the extra functionality is already provided by external community created add-ons, not all of them can be created/developed simply due size, complex directory structures, hard to keep updated on time etc., this is where a native “Full” installation can solve all of this issues, but we know newcomers may feel uncomfortable and/or afraid that they Full installation can break(historically true for Full/UFS platform) at any time due to the following scenarios, Data degradation/disk bitrot, failed upgrade, user input error while modding etc., but this is no longer the case with the XigmaNAS Full RootOnZFS Platform, more below.

Unlike XigmaNAS Full running on the Legacy UFS file system, XigmaNAS Full RootOnZFS runs on The Z File System (ZFS) which boats lots of features, and is not only for the Enterprise but also HOME/SOHO environments can benefit as well, protecting the data from corruption and data lost thanks to ZFS checksums, snapshots, resilience plus much more, this meant that the OS data will always be protected, even if you manage to break it while customizing, you can always rollback from a previous working Boot Environment, shinny right.

Here are just some of the XigmaNAS Full RootOnZFS features and abilities:
  • Can be installed on one or more drives.
    Firmware Upgrades from the WebGUI with the .TGZ official files available at SF.
    Can be installed on virtually all ZFS raid levels for flexibility and desired redundancy.
    OS Memory usage efficiency for more RAM for the ZFS ARC.
    Previous kernels retrieval upon system upgrades, selectable at boot time.
    Support for UEFI install option for modern hardware and VM's.
    Support for MBR install option for legacy but capable hardware.
    Support for disks and swap Full GELI encryption options(available on 12.x and later).
    Support for Boot Environments at OS level and from boot loader time for convenience.
    Support for System OS compression, Installation almost halved in space to save disk space.
    Previous Boot Environment will be left intact after each Firmware upgrades(running system is not affected).
    User ability to rollback to a previous working Boot Environment from OS or at boot time at any time.
    User can make new Boot Environments and reboot into it to make system wide changes for convenience.
    User can delete, rename, clone, mount, backup, restore etc. etc. Boot Environments for convenience.
    User can add, edit, modify to XigmaNAS Full with peace of mind thanks to Boot Environments/Snapshots.
Also XigmaNAS RootOnZFS is Memory Usage Efficient, meaning you will have more available memory for the ZFS_ARC thus improving ZFS overall performance, click the link to compare the behavior for a 2GB systems.

Optional Boot Environments GUI Manager can be found HERE
Optional Boot Environments CLI/TUI Manager Tool can be found HERE

An introduction to Boot Environments by Sławomir Wojciech Wojtczak(vermaden).
ZFS Powered Magic Upgrades by Allan Jude.

While I could stay talking about the wonders of the ZFS and/or XigmaNAS RootOnZFS, I don't want to make a text wall nor overwhelm the users, so I will jump now on the basic installation information and some options explanations:

Installing XigmaNAS Full RootOnZFS (Last updated 06-16-2019)


Image
After booting the XigmaNAS LiveMedia, the following screen will appears, just select Option #9 to start the installer menu.


Image
After pressing option #9, the following screen will appears, select Option #6 to launch the advanced RootOnZFS installer options.


Image
After pressing Option #6, the following screen will appears, here is where you will select the redundancy level for your installation, the options are as follow:
1: Stripe, select this option to install XigmaNAS to just one disk,(no redundancy), note that you can install to more drives in Striped as well but is not practical.
2: Mirror, this is the most common installation option for most servers, where redundancy, reliability and performance is required, requires a minimum of two drives.
3 RAID10(ZFS Striped Mirror) Like Mirror, this also provides redundancy, reliability and performance, but requires a minimum of four drives.
4: RAIDZ1, this option install XigmaNAS in a RAID5 like scheme, and can withstand the lost of a single drive, this options is for advanced/specific use cases.
5: RAIDZ2, this option install XigmaNAS in a RAID6 like scheme, and can withstand the lost of two drives simultaneously, this options is for advanced/specific use cases.
6: RAIDZ3, this option install XigmaNAS in a RAID7 like capable to withstand the lost of three drives simultaneously, this options is for advanced/specific use cases.


Image
In the above screen, you can select “one” or “more” drives for the XigmaNAS installation regarding your redundancy level selection from the previous screen.


Image
In the above screen, you can explicitly tell the installer how much swap you want for your installation, note that you can specify K,M,G suffixes here, but you will probably be ok with the defaults here, or simply leave the field empty to disable swap completely(strongly discouraged).


Image
In the above screen, you can select between a Mirrored swap or multiple swaps devices, if you select “Multiple System Swap”, any swap devices will be appended to the system “/etc/fstab” and you will see all swap devices in the XigmaNAS index page, if you select the default “Mirrored System Swap” the installer will create a geom swap mirror for redundancy, and you will see one mirrored swap device in the XigmaNAS index page, note that all install options supports either mirrored or multiple swap devices.


Image
In the above screen, you can select to customize the size of the zroot partition, usually only advanced users will click yes here, one possible use case could be if the user want to use the install SSD for both the OS and ZFS L2ARC as well, note that you can also specify K,M,G suffixes later wen entering the desired size.


Image
In the above screen, you can select here to create an optional user Dataset for additional/non critical storage such extensions etc., the default dataset path will be "/mnt/dataset_name", one possible use case could be for running Extensions/Jails from there to avoid constant ZFS pool array disk activity.


Image
In the above screen, you can select between GPT/BIOS, GPT/BIOS+UEFI or MBR system boot methods, note that if you don’t know if your system is UEFI compliant, you will probably be ok with the defaults here.


Image
In the above screen, it is self explanatory, and meant to be used by advanced users only, however Swap Encryption can be used by anyone.


Image
In the above screen, it is self explanatory, this will let you know what drives will be formatted before continuing with the installation.


Image
In the above screen, you will see the installation progress for informational purposes.


Image
In the above screen, you will see the completion message after install success, now you can click ok, remove LiveMedia and reboot.

Image
If you see the above screen, congratulations you just correctly installed XigmaNAS Full RootOnZFS!
Last edited by JoseMR on 23 Jun 2018 14:43, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: NAS4Free RootOnZFS Install Manual

#2

Post by raulfg3 » 05 May 2018 11:25

EDIT 05/11/2018: Finally ZFSonRoot works on this machine, not sure if the last BIOS or the last XigmaNAS is , but actually boot.




Hello, JoseMR, I'm trying to boot from RootOnZFS disk on a HP ML350 G6 with no luck, I can boot sucesfully embeded install.



I'll do a GPT install and and GPT+UEFI install, both show same error message.


and info about HP Proliant ML350 G6 is: https://support.hpe.com/hpsc/doc/public ... -c01713311

and: https://h20195.www2.hpe.com/v2/Getdocum ... =c04200238



Do you think that can be possible to boot?

I have time to do some test if you want.
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Re: NAS4Free RootOnZFS Install Manual

#3

Post by JoseMR » 06 May 2018 13:15

Raul, very careful with your "RPool", your system is trying to boot from one of your pool disk members for some odd reasons.

I have a several mobile hotspot network issue, but I will resolve your issue asap as this mediocre network "Claro PR" gets stable again.

Best regards
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Re: NAS4Free RootOnZFS Install Manual

#4

Post by raulfg3 » 07 May 2018 15:32

I repeat the boot test with only boot disk connected and the result is the same, so is not trying to boot from other disk of the pool (all disconected)


keep in mind that I use a old server hardware that do NOT support UEFI (2013 BIOS), as I say, booting embeded works fine, only see this error with RootOnZFS.
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Re: NAS4Free RootOnZFS Install Manual

#5

Post by JoseMR » 08 May 2018 17:10

raulfg3 wrote:
07 May 2018 15:32
keep in mind that I use a old server hardware that do NOT support UEFI (2013 BIOS), as I say, booting embeded works fine, only see this error with RootOnZFS.

Hello Raul, you can try in the "Boot Loader menu" with Option #1 "GPT BIOS System boot"(no UEFI), however there are some peculiarity with those older HP ML350 GX that fails during the ZFS boot chain/zfsbootstrap, some user have similar issues with the HP Proliant ML350 G5 here it seems many users have very little luck trying booting ZFS/FreeBSD on those units without getting issues, on the other hand UFS seems to works well on those older hardware indeed.

Also next release will include a fix during disk format in RootOnZFS that makes NAS4Free WebGUI thinking that RootOnZFS is running on UFS, indeed system operates normally but who knows, if you wan to manually apply the patch and try booting zroot, please let me know and I can give you easy instruction using the standard WebGUI for convenience.

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Re: NAS4Free RootOnZFS Install Manual

#6

Post by raulfg3 » 08 May 2018 20:10

ok, send me private (please use spanish in instruction to be totally sure what I need to do).


and other time , thanks for yours effors.
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Re: NAS4Free RootOnZFS Install Manual

#7

Post by Ahab » 15 Jul 2018 22:18

Thank you so much JoseMR! I have bought a couple of cheap SSDs, thrown them into my NAS box and followed your instructions above. Everything went swimmingly. I can now finally unplug the USB I have had sticking out the back of my NAS for the last 10 years and feel so much the better for it! Plus boot times are amazing!! I no longer even see that percentage bar and second timer counting during boot.

And now my system is mirrored so I don't have to worry that the USB stick will die and offline my NAS until I have the time to sorting it out again. Thank you so much!

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Re: NAS4Free RootOnZFS Install Manual

#8

Post by JoseMR » 16 Jul 2018 17:15

Ahab wrote:
15 Jul 2018 22:18
Thank you so much JoseMR! I have bought a couple of cheap SSDs, thrown them into my NAS box and followed your instructions above. Everything went swimmingly. I can now finally unplug the USB I have had sticking out the back of my NAS for the last 10 years and feel so much the better for it! Plus boot times are amazing!! I no longer even see that percentage bar and second timer counting during boot.

And now my system is mirrored so I don't have to worry that the USB stick will die and offline my NAS until I have the time to sorting it out again. Thank you so much!

Hi Ahab, thank you for the positive feedback about the XigmaNAS (former NAS4Free) RootOnZFS platform running smooth for you, RootOnZFS platform is very flexible, powerful yet customizable turnkey NAS solution.

Additionally, I've developed a tool to ease the Boot Environments Management from dialog boxes: Boot Environments Manager, maybe worth a try.

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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#9

Post by gimeumeu » 14 Aug 2018 21:57

I went from an embedded installation with ZFS storage pool on two disks to installing RootonZFS on an independent SSD. After restoring the config I can not find my ZFS storage pool in place physically. How to do if it is possible to find my ZFS storage pool ok?
11.2.0.4 - Omnius (revision 5774) FreeBSD 11.2-RELEASE #0 r336868M: Sun Jul 29 15:48:17 CEST 2018

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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#10

Post by JoseMR » 17 Aug 2018 11:15

gimeumeu wrote:
14 Aug 2018 21:57
I went from an embedded installation with ZFS storage pool on two disks to installing RootonZFS on an independent SSD. After restoring the config I can not find my ZFS storage pool in place physically. How to do if it is possible to find my ZFS storage pool ok?

Hello, go to Advanced >> Execute Command and execute below command:

Code: Select all

zpool import -f -a
after that simply synchronize the zpools and done.

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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#11

Post by jamaroney » 06 Oct 2018 16:07

Where are packages installed to? If I do a stripe RootonZFS install and the disk fails at some point, are all pkg installs lost?

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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#12

Post by raulfg3 » 06 Oct 2018 17:58

Do not a stripe a boot disk, instead use mirror
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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#13

Post by jamaroney » 06 Oct 2018 22:15

Then what's the purpose of offering a stripe install option, and how would that be better than a UFS embedded install?

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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#14

Post by JoseMR » 11 Oct 2018 14:33

jamaroney wrote:
06 Oct 2018 16:07
Where are packages installed to? If I do a stripe RootonZFS install and the disk fails at some point, are all pkg installs lost?
Absolutely, just like any device/hardware without redundancy, unless the user wants to backup the boot environment@snap.

P.S. HERE is a user friendly TUI+CLI tool I developed for that purpose and more, so novices can use the TUI for on demand BE management while advanced users can play with CLI options, also HERE is another example on how to backup a running RootOnZFS system for experienced scripting/CLI users.

jamaroney wrote:
06 Oct 2018 22:15
Then what's the purpose of offering a stripe install option, and how would that be better than a UFS embedded install?
Because not every user have the luck on running into a pair of mirrored drives, also comparing the features between the Legacy Full UFS vs Full RootOnZFS is beyond the scope, but just to name one: "Firmware Upgrades From WebGUI" as separate BE's. ;)

However in regards to Embedded Platforms comparison, it may suit for the average users in general, until the user demand redundancy, overall control and customization.

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Re: NAS4Free RootOnZFS Install Manual

#15

Post by JoseMR » 13 Nov 2018 07:09

raulfg3 wrote:
05 May 2018 11:25
EDIT 05/11/2018: Finally ZFSonRoot works on this machine, not sure if the last BIOS or the last XigmaNAS is , but actually boot.
...
Yay how I did overlooked, congrats raulfg3, you've finally jumped into All-ZFS ;), I hope latest release Rev.6195 works fine for you, don't hesitate to ask any question on how to synchronize/un-synchronize unwanted zroot datasets from WebGUI etc.

As a recommendation, use a small 2.5" HDD/SSD for best performance and reliability, or as a bare minimum a branded USB3.0 32GB+

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Re: NAS4Free RootOnZFS Install Manual

#16

Post by raulfg3 » 13 Nov 2018 20:12

JoseMR wrote:
13 Nov 2018 07:09
raulfg3 wrote:
05 May 2018 11:25
EDIT 05/11/2018: Finally ZFSonRoot works on this machine, not sure if the last BIOS or the last XigmaNAS is , but actually boot.
...
Yay how I did overlooked, congrats raulfg3, you've finally jumped into All-ZFS ;), I hope latest release Rev.6195 works fine for you, don't hesitate to ask any question on how to synchronize/un-synchronize unwanted zroot datasets from WebGUI etc.

As a recommendation, use a small 2.5" HDD/SSD for best performance and reliability, or as a bare minimum a branded USB3.0 32GB+

Regards
I use a small 2,5" 80GB Disk ( in good condition but 2º hand from a laptop) <- Actually cheaper that USB3 keys
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Re: NAS4Free RootOnZFS Install Manual

#17

Post by JoseMR » 13 Nov 2018 21:03

raulfg3 wrote:
13 Nov 2018 20:12
...
I use a small 2,5" 80GB Disk ( in good condition but 2º hand from a laptop) <- Actually cheaper that USB3 keys

+1 For the old 2.5" HDD's, not only cheaper(free in most cases) but outstanding performance and reliability compared to any USB3.0 thumb drive, and the power consumption on those "5VDC" devices are actually low.

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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#18

Post by raulfg3 » 13 Nov 2018 22:04

a screenshot of my NAS:
RNAS-6195.jpg
You can see 23GB free that I want to use in a temp Dataset, and the 32GB Swap= 34,35GB
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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#19

Post by JoseMR » 14 Nov 2018 05:49

raulfg3 wrote:
13 Nov 2018 22:04
...
You can see 23GB free that I want to use in a temp Dataset, and the 32GB Swap= 34,35GB
Hi raul, you are using way too much SWAP allocation in your NAS, let me tell you that 2GB SWAP is more than enough on most cases(even FreeBSD have 2GB as default), eventually wen your system starting to use over 512MB SWAP or so, you will notice the slowness and in many case just plain unresponsiveness, at this point you will try to tune the system and restart rather than let running an slow/unresponsive system.

P.S You can set like 4~8GB SWAP is 2GB des not appealing to you though, but more than that is simply a waste of useful disk space. ;)

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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#20

Post by raulfg3 » 14 Nov 2018 07:14

OK, no problem, so to clarify; for a 8GB of RAM like I have, 2 to 4 GB of Swap is the recommended size?

What is the recommended size for other NAS that have 32GB of RAM?
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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#21

Post by JoseMR » 14 Nov 2018 07:38

raulfg3 wrote:
14 Nov 2018 07:14
OK, no problem, so to clarify; for a 8GB of RAM like I have, 2 to 4 GB of Swap is the recommended size?

What is the recommended size for other NAS that have 32GB of RAM?

Hi Raul, This so "double your RAM amount for the SWAP size" rule is completely irrelevant(some time miss-understood), unless you want to dump entire RAM to the disk, for example an 1:1 hibernation state like on Windows machines, or for dumping entire RAM to a file for debugging/forensics purposes, other than that there is absolutely no reason to use more that 2~8GB Swap space, I personally have 2GB Swap space and if I notice my system using over 256MB, I simply re-tune and reboot.

Additional info about Swap space HERE

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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#22

Post by JoseMR » 30 Nov 2018 09:50

Hello, the XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Platform installation manual has been updated.

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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#23

Post by KTL » 05 Dec 2018 04:40

Hi Jose, I read through the post and gathered that this method is more robust and flexible compared to the embedded LiveUSB since you can use 2x small-sized SSD/HD in a mirror configuration, for example, so the risk of reboot, failures, etc., are reduced.

Since I had recently started a fresh setup using v11.02.0.4.6229 using the LiveUSB method with 2x 10TB, if I want to use this method, do the below steps sound right?
  1. Boot with LiveCD.
  2. Select option 6.
  3. Choose the 2 drives for mirror install, for example.
  4. Choose the parameters.
  5. Install.
  6. Once up and running, reconnect the 2x 10TB, and force import and resynchronize the zpool.

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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#24

Post by JoseMR » 05 Dec 2018 14:15

KTL wrote:
05 Dec 2018 04:40
Hi Jose, I read through the post and gathered that this method is more robust and flexible compared to the embedded LiveUSB since you can use 2x small-sized SSD/HD in a mirror configuration, for example, so the risk of reboot, failures, etc., are reduced.

Since I had recently started a fresh setup using v11.02.0.4.6229 using the LiveUSB method with 2x 10TB, if I want to use this method, do the below steps sound right?
  1. Boot with LiveCD.
  2. Select option 6.
  3. Choose the 2 drives for mirror install, for example.
  4. Choose the parameters.
  5. Install.
  6. Once up and running, reconnect the 2x 10TB, and force import and resynchronize the zpool.
That is correct, once you switch and re-import the config(if any) from Embedded or Legacy Full to RootOnZFS, simply re-import/re-synchronize your zpool(s) and done, I've used to simply execute "zpool import -f -a" and re-synchronize from the WebGUI.

Once you are in the Synchronize page, you can uncheck unwanted zroot datasets from being displayed on the WebGUI like shown below:
zroot_sync_datasets.png

Additionally note that even installing on a single small 2.5" SSD/HDD, will also survive random power power failures/ungraceful shutdowns unlike anything placed on UFS, and as a plus say goodbye to the buggy fsck hassle.

Regards
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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#25

Post by KTL » 05 Dec 2018 16:46

Thanks for the information. With my previous fiasco with the USB boot drive, I'm more likely to configure a mirror setup than a stripe. I'm still scouring for "almost-free" 2.5" HDDs, if not, a 32-GB MLC SSD costs the same as 120-GB TLC SSD, is there an advantage with the larger capacity?

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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#26

Post by was-armandh » 05 Dec 2018 18:45

@ $23/120 Gb SSD https://www.neweggbusiness.com/product/ ... 20-326-780
I've always favored SATA or PATA connected devices over USB even for my embedded OS.
and I have used SSDs ever since the need for SWAP, ended spinning down the boot drive.
its come a long way from the days of CD and 3" floppy boot
by using this free advise, you, your heirs, etc
absolve, save, and hold harmless the advisor.
CAVEAT EMPTOR
YMMV

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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#27

Post by JoseMR » 07 Dec 2018 20:15

KTL wrote:
05 Dec 2018 16:46
Thanks for the information. With my previous fiasco with the USB boot drive, I'm more likely to configure a mirror setup than a stripe. I'm still scouring for "almost-free" 2.5" HDDs, if not, a 32-GB MLC SSD costs the same as 120-GB TLC SSD, is there an advantage with the larger capacity?

The larger the capacity the more the Boot Environments(Upgrades) can be stored, meaning you can have many earlier versions to rollback(think like go back in time or previous versions) wen needed, if is an SSD, the extra space can be also used as ZFS L2ARC in more advanced scenarios.

Regards
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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#28

Post by JoseMR » 07 Dec 2018 20:18

was-armandh wrote:
05 Dec 2018 18:45
@ $23/120 Gb SSD https://www.neweggbusiness.com/product/ ... 20-326-780
I've always favored SATA or PATA connected devices over USB even for my embedded OS.
and I have used SSDs ever since the need for SWAP, ended spinning down the boot drive.
its come a long way from the days of CD and 3" floppy boot

Hi armandh, thanks for sharing that 120GB SATA3 SSD bargain, also just perfect size for XigmaNAS RootOnZFS.

Regards
System: FreeBSD 12 RootOnZFS, MB: Supermicro X8SI6-F, Xeon X3450, 16GB DDR3 ECC RDIMMs.
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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#29

Post by KTL » 08 Dec 2018 04:19

Great information. I've gone ahead and bought 2x 120GB SSD for the RootOnZFS.

@was-armandh, Newegg/Newegg Business has started to charge tax in my state, despite having attractive prices, I've yet to buy anything since it's not cheaper than a local Microcenter or Fry's.

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Re: XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Install Manual

#30

Post by KTL » 01 Jan 2019 21:59

I finally got around to reinstall using (1) latest version 6315, (2) RootOnZFS, and (3) 2x 120GB SSD in mirror configurations. Imported the resynchronized the original pool and all is up and running again. I can probably relax a bit better now. Thanks and have a Happy New Year!

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