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    After years of making software raid5 just barely work and managing file access via rather primitive means like FTP, I have been pretty eager to jump on the FreeNAS bandwagon, which uses ZFS. Are there any systems with similar power and ease of use that do allow for expansion? I have always been too afraid to muck with my live RAIDs to do anything other than replace failed drives, so this aspect of ZFS isn’t a regression so much as a sidegrade.

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      Are there any systems with similar power and ease of use that do allow for expansion?

      Sure, but they cost megabucks. Netapp is incredibly powerful and flexible, and has a pretty coherent command line, but it’s not exactly a home use solution.

      I don’t know of any FLOSS or gratis competitors to FreeNAS that are at a similar level of functionality or maturity.

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        The setup I am doing, which may or may not work, is I have my main zpool which is on nice hardware then I back that up via ZFS snapshots to a bunch of cheap, junky, USB harddrives. That way if I need to redo my good setup, I can just pull it back from the USB harddrives. It’s a bit ghetto but has worked well enough for me so far.

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          Not really, IME. What I’ve done is used ZFS with my pool consisting of two 4-drive raidz2s, and I replace one “bank” at a time - so at first I had 4x500GB drives and 4x1TB drives, then I replaced the 500GB drives with 2TB drives, and shortly I’ll replace the 1TB drives with 4TB drives. (In fact I’ve already done so for one that failed, since that made more sense than buying a 1TB drive in this day and age).

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          This is such a bougie problem to have. “My ridiculously expensive storage array might need to be a bit bigger because of the ridiculously bloated filesystem I’m using…”

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            I wouldn’t say ZFS is ridiculously bloated. It moves the needle closer to “use current technology to improve data integrity” rather than “try to avoid consuming resources”.

            The article is certainly something of a whinge, though.

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                If you are poor, you do not have a NAS in the first place.

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                  I have had a NAS while poor. It involved a 5 year old 1TB WD Green, sitting on the floor, connected via USB2 to a low-power headless box, without backups. My cat peed on it.

                  The system didn’t have enough memory for ZFS, but I’d be more likely to try HAMMER anyway.

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                    Sure - my “NAS” is an old desktop. Anyone who is in the position of choosing which filesystem to use is probably middle rather than upper class - rich people will just buy an off-the-shelf NAS system, plug disks into it, and let it do its thing.

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                As someone who setup a little home NAS setup recently, I felt this pain a bit. What I have now I’ll probably have to rebuild from scratch when I reinstall. That being said, given ZFS' origin as an enterprise storage thing, people would probably buy boxes that are already maxed out and just replace disks as they need to.

                I am not sure, but I recall reading in the ZFS book that work in progress is to be able to remove VDEVs, which would help with this problem. Currently one can only add a VDEV to a pool and replace hard drives in it but not remove a VDEV. If removing VDEVs becomes possible, I suspect you could just build a new VDEV with your new setup and move the data over. It will at least make things a bit easier but certainly involves moving all the data rather than just adding something to a RAIDZ.