PM+ZFS on low-end server (Fujitsu RX100 S7) with integrated SATA/RAID controller

jaceqp

Well-Known Member
May 28, 2018
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Hi there.
I decided to do some maintenance on clients 6-7 year old server. Obviously Fujitsu RX100 S7 is kinda poor in upgradeability so the only (low cost) thing to do was replacing old 500GB SATA drives with new 2x1TB Seagate EXOS SATA and upgrade RAM 4GB -> 16GB.
Previous config was based on integrated RAID1 volume (servers controller is kinda basic since it's just an onboard integrated SATA RAID controller (not even a SAS capable one).
To provide some extra security against malware/encryption I've moved Win2003 std to vm enviroment -> Proxmox to go.
Obviously despite created RAID volume in controllers 'bios' testing PM installer showed directly 2 disks available (as expected on a software raid).
So I disabled the RAID feature in mb bios (back to AHCI mode). Then I installed PM with ZFS raid1.

So far so good but I wonder (since its recommended to give ZFS as direct disk access as possible) - if I can see disk names and grab SMART status from PM gui in "node -> Disks" - does it mean ZFS actually works in optimal environment?

PS. If anyone is wondering on how to p2v Win2003 system, easier and faster way to go is:
1: mergeide fix to add IDE boot support on old machine (must have, otherwise BSOD on boot)
2: convert disk using tiny Disk2VHD tool (VMware converter actually crashed twice)
3. qm importdisk vm_number vhdx_file_location --format raw (I imported the vhdx file directly from NFS mounted from NAS drive)
4. done
 
So far so good but I wonder (since its recommended to give ZFS as direct disk access as possible) - if I can see disk names and grab SMART status from PM gui in "node -> Disks" - does it mean ZFS actually works in optimal environment?

Yes. Normally you cannot get those cheap software raid controller to work properly in Linux, so always have to use the raw disks.

Another possible hardware improvement would be to go directly to SSD instead of disks to squeeze even more performance out of this little thingy.
 
Another possible hardware improvement would be to go directly to SSD instead of disks to squeeze even more performance out of this little thingy.

I'd like to squeeze SSD for ZFS cache. Thing is that despite having 5 SATA ports onboard power supply has literally NO additional plugs/molex connectors. The slim DVD drive uses slim-type sata power plug. BTW keep in mind it's a 1U server.
RX100S7 was released in two-type disk layout:
- 2x 3,5"
- 4x 2,5"
The only power line to hdd's goes directly through backplane hdd bays. Only solution would be: cut and split backplane power plug extracting 5V & 12V to some external molex.
Rebuilding this server into a 4x2,5" one is nearly impossible (lack of 2nd hand spare parts for backplane/frontpanel etc).

Anyway VM os seem to work @ least as fast as PM before. New/bit faster disks might be the thing, (at least compared to previous ones). BTW it's an oooold os (32bit so 4GB RAM tops). Luckily this VM is mostly used for some file sharing and SQL app.
I'd highly recommend os upgrade to lets say Win2012/Win2016 yet still some hardware bottlecks remain like single CPU socket (4 cores 8 threads max).

I guess sooner or later RX100S7 will have to go. There's more than plenty 2nd hand servers like DELL R710 with some fancy RAID controller (for example Perc H700 fully supporting cache battery, SSD's etc.).
 
Yes, I'm familiar with those desktop-hardware based RX100 servers. I'd recommend to go with a used RX200 (or better), or even the newer RX2530 1U server if you want to stick with Fujitsu. Other systems are also fine.
 

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