Multi-Core, Multi-OS Scaling Performance (pc-bsd incl)

Phoronix has completed another test that involved PC-BSD. This time multi-core performance was compared between PC-BSD, OpenIndiana, CentOS and Fedora:

"In this article we are looking at how Linux, OpenSolaris, and FreeBSD scale across multiple cores. Benchmarked are CentOS 5.5, Fedora 14, PC-BSD/FreeBSD 8.1, and OpenIndiana b148 as we see how the performance differs when running on one, two, three, four, and six cores, plus when Intel Hyper Threading is enabled.

To do this comparison the Intel Core i7 970 "Gulftown" processor was used, which boasts six physical cores plus Hyper Threading. With the ASRock X58 SuperComputer motherboard, from the BIOS the number of enabled cores can be adjusted as well as toggling Hyper Threading. CentOS, Fedora, PC-BSD, and OpenIndiana were tested in their stock OS configurations, aside from building GCC 4.5.1 on each of these operating systems to have a similar compiler across platforms."

There are a couple of interesting graphs, but as usual, keep in mind that PC-BSD is not Linux. Then again, PC-BSD’s performance is a lot better than in other, previous tests.

Full review: Multi-Core, Multi-OS Scaling Performance (Phoronix.com 21/02/2011)

FreeBSD 8.2 expands ZFS support (without Oracle)

FreeBSD has expanded support for ZFS in FreeBSD 8.2 and supports ZFS version 15.

Matt Olander (CTO at iXsystems) and Josh Paetzel (IT director at iXsystems) were interviewed by datamation.com.

"FreeBSD 8 is autotuning in a lot of areas, and the autotuning for ZFS has been improved. People who are using ZFS heavily generally were already running 8-STABLE because it was superior to 8.1. 8.2 rolls up those changes into a release."

said Josh Paetzel.

Since being acquired by Oracle, OpenSolaris is now longer alive, but that isn’t going to stop FreeBSD from furthering ZFS development.

"Having seen the writing on the wall some time ago, we started a coalition of several interested companies before OpenSolaris went EOL. This coalition is invested in maintaining FreeBSD and ZFS technology. We are actively working together to make sure that ZFS has a very secure future on FreeBSD."

Olander noted that besides iXsystems he was not at liberty to name the other companies, though he hinted that some of them are fairly large and successful. He added that he is also aware of other efforts to maintain OpenSolaris specifically for ZFS.

"It’s my belief that in time, FreeBSD will become the de facto platform for ZFS as we already have all the pieces and don’t have to maintain an operating system just to keep working on a filesystem,"

Olander said.

Read the whole article: FreeBSD 8.2 expands ZFS support (without Oracle) (datamation.com 25/02/2011)

ZFS v28 in FreeBSD 9-CURRENT

Pawel Jakub Dawidek has added the latest open-source ZFS file system version (28) to FreeBSD Current.

Few new things available now are:

  • Data deduplication (info)
  • Triple parity RAIDZ (RAIDZ3).
  • zfs diff (info)
  • zpool split (info)
  • Snapshot holds (info)
  • zpool import -F. Allows to rewind corrupted pool to earlier transaction group
  • Possibility to import pool in read-only mode

PJD has done a great job adding these features to FreeBSD. Is FreeBSD going to be the future of FreeBSD? Some think so: FreeBSD wordt the toekomst van ZFS (Dutch) – (translate)

Released: FreeBSD 8.2-RELEASE and 7.4-RELEASE

After some delays FreeBSD 8.2-RELEASE and FreeBSD 7.4-RELEASE are now available. Originally scheduled for January 24 the releases were put back to allow for a third release candidate. Be sure to check the Release Notes (8.2 | 7.4) and Release Errata (8.2 | 7.4) before installation for any late-breaking news and/or issues. More information about FreeBSD releases can be found on the Release Information page. Some of the highlights:

  • Xen HVM support in FreeBSD/amd64 and Xen PV support in FreeBSD/i386 improved
  • ZFS on-disk format updated to version 15
  • aesni(4) driver for Intel AESNI crypto instruction set
  • BIND and OpenSSL updates
  • Gnome updated to 2.32.1
  • KDE updated to 4.5.5
  • Many misc. improvements and bugfixes

You can upgrade your system with the freebsd-update command:

# freebsd-update upgrade -r 8.2-RELEASE
# freebsd-update install
# shutdown -r now
# freebsd-update install

Many thanks to the Release Engineering Team, the many developers, companies and users’ feedback that have made these release possible. @Vasilache Anton Ciprian, thanks for emailing a few days ago about the 8.2 ISO’s being available on some of the servers and bittorrent. I didn’t announce this in case of any show stoppers.

Released: PC-BSD 8.2 (Hubble Edition)

Following the release of FreeBSD 8.2, iXsystems has now released PC-BSD 8.2.

As you will know, PC-BSD closely follows FreeBSD’s release cycle (on which it is based) but makes it easier for use on the desktop. As a sidenote, Dru Lavigne, PC-BSD’s Community Manager, is doing a presentation this weekend at Scale 2011 on how PC-BSD compares to Linux and FreeBSD. This is her presentation outline:


With regards to the release of PC-BSD 8.2 (Hubble Edition), this version contains a number of enhancements and improvements. For a full list of changes, have a look at the changelog.

Some of the notable changes are:

  • FreeBSD 8.2-Release
  • KDE 4.5.5
  • Added ability to select file-system type and encryption during auto-partitioning
  • Able to toggle between MBR/GPT partitioning
  • Various bug fixes to the wireless / network managers

Version 8.2 of PC-BSD is available for download from the mirrors, as well as via torrent from gotbsd.net.

Build your own FreeBSD update server (howto)

This article describes building an internal FreeBSD Update Server.

Experienced users or administrators are often responsible for several machines or environments. They understand the difficult demands and challenges of maintaining such an infrastructure.

Running a FreeBSD Update Server makes it easier to deploy security and software patches to selected test machines before rolling them out to production. It also means a number of systems can be updated from the local network rather than a much slower Internet connection.

This article outlines the steps involved in creating an internal FreeBSD Update Server.

Full article (via, originally published on experts exchange)

Available: FreeNAS 8.0-RC1

iXsystems has released FreeNAS 8.0 RC1. This RC provides a number of enhancements over previous Beta snapshots that have been released.

The files can be downloaded from the SourceForge FreeNAS-8 page.
More than just a huge jump in version numbers.

FreeNAS 8.0 blends FreeBSD 8.x technology, production ready ZFS, and a web-based GUI with x86/amd64 based hardware to make a NAS device available with a lower barrier to entry.

Some goodies:

1. There is a volume wizard allowing for creating ZFS volumes with cache, log, or spare devices.

2. The GUI now allows creating users without login privileges, as well as removing
passwords from accounts. This is useful for creating an FTP anonymous user, or
removing passwords from system accounts that were previously set. Additionally,
/sbin/nologin is now a valid shell. Useful for adding samba users where you need
a password but don’t want them to have shell access.

3. Numerous fixes to the CLI that runs on the console, including feedback to database
changes, feedback when it restarts parts of the system, sanitation of input so that
only valid information can be entered, better help as to what input is expected, and
also output of what IP the web GUI can be accessed at.

4. Firmware upgrades via the GUI are now possible. Future releases will include a firmware
upgrade file that can be used via the GUI to perform upgrades.

Check out the 8.0RC1Release Notes for a full overview.

Upgrades from previous .8 beta snapshots are supported.  Upgrades from 0.7 or earlier versions of FreeNAS are not yet supported.

FreeNAS has always been the best home/SMB NAS server, but it’s now going be even better.

Links: FreeNAS website |Release Notes (8.0RC1)

What kind of FreeBSD Installer do you like? (Poll)

We wrote about the latest developments with regards to FreeBSD’s default installer (sysinstall).

It would be interesting to see what kind of installer you prefer. GUI or text/ncurses based?

Feel free to leave any comments below.

What kind of FreeBSD installer do you prefer?

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