Building a low power Sandy Bridge ESXi + ZFS Storage Array

Improving ZFS Performance using Virtualization ESXi Passthrough (VMdirectPath)

In my previous system I used Ubuntu Linux and fuse-zfs in order to take the benefits of ZFS in my storage needs. However, fuse-zfs has several performance bottlenecks unlike native Solaris, the original operating system it was designed for, I will admit though that I have had my hard drives fail on me more than once while using fuse-zfs, and thanks to ZFS error-checking and automatic resilvering I never lost my files.

The new system will feature VMware ESXi (free hypervisor) to take advantage of Intel Virtualization and Intel directed-IO (VT-d) CPU features for pass-through. Thanks to these two technologies, I will be able to have a storage server based on ZFS and have multiple other guests such as Linux, Windows XP and even Apple OSX.

Results in Practice

If you noticed my first image on this post shows you my idle power consumption of my old system steady at around 130 Watts. Below is a comparison of my new Sandy bridge build, with all devices, hard drives attached (5 hard drives total).

Impressive, the new sandy bridge 95W TDP system is using far less power than before. I was expecting a 20% decrease of my previous 130 Watts, however we can see a drop of 45% in power consumption here.

2 responses to “Building a low power Sandy Bridge ESXi + ZFS Storage Array

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