A Working FreeNAS 8 ZFS

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Dec 10, 2011
After reading many a posting on many forums I decided to jump in and get a working ZFS setup going. I had a previous FreeNAS system running for years on a Pentium II so I started to plan its replacement. I upgraded my gear using old AMD x64 hardware and found many people had success with a RAID/HBA adapter IBM ServeRAID M1015 SAS/SATA Controller LSI SAS9240-8i. An IBM rebranded LSI card. So I purchased the items on ebay (cheap)! The sellers I purchaed the various components from have since soldout but hopefully this information will help others.

I started reading about ZFS at http://constantin.glez.de/blog/2010/01/home-server-raid-greed-and-why-mirroring-still-best then onto article http://blog.zorinaq.com/?e=10 and once I had a basic undertanding I started to scour ebay and found the following items.

(2) Adapters: http://www.ebay.com/itm/150712551748?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649
(4) Cables: http://www.ebay.com/itm/170725723212?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649

Natively FreeNAS 8 didn't support this adapter and it had to be cross-flashed with the proper firmware and bios making it work like a LSI 9211 model. Great work to whoever figured this out!

I followed this post http://forums.servethehome.com/showthread.php?97-IBM-M1015-Firmware-What-to-flash-with/page2 to get the adapter to where FreeNAS 8 would recognize the adapter/drives following along with the article "HOW-TO... reflash IBM m1015, LSI 9240-8i, Intel RS2WC080 (SAS2008 SATAIII) controllers to IT-mode".

Then I downloaded the latest 9211 firmware/bios from LSI http://www.lsi.com/downloads/Public...P11_IR_IT_Firmware_BIOS_for_MSDOS_Windows.zip and flashed the adapter again. I did this in two flashes but it can be done in one with slight modifications to the original how-to steps as the firmware/bios setup is old.

I flashed the first adapter on my FreeNAS gear (ASRock 939N68PV-GLAN) and the second adapter on some other gear (ASUS M4A89GTD Pro/USB3) using a USB thumbdrive formatted with DOS as the article instructed.

Ultimately I now have a working ZFS mirror setup that is useful for what I need and easy to deal with and expand in the future. Best part is the adapter will/should support the new 3TB drives as well as SSD. So as long as my gear holds up I'm set for a long time. Plus I believe this product http://www.addonics.com/products/ad5hpmsxa.php can help further expand the number of drives if necessary down the road. FreeNAS, what a great application!

My current FreeNAS 8 hardware:

ASRock 939N68PV-GLAN Motherboard
AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3200+
4GB Mushkin Enhanced Essentials DDR 400
Toshiba Samsung DVD Writer Model SH-S223
Koutech IO-FPM220 3.5" Floppy Drive and Multi Card Reader
(6) Seagate 500GB SATA drives using an Addonics 3.5" SATA hard-drive 5-bays in (3) 5.25" external bays


Jun 23, 2011
Congrats on your new setup. :)
If you use ZFS, you should definitely upgrade to 8GB of RAM:
The best way to get the most out of your FreeNAS system is to install as much RAM as possible. If your RAM is limited, consider using UFS until you can afford better hardware. ZFS typically requires a minimum of 6 GB of RAM in order to provide good performance; in practical terms (what you can actually install), this means that the minimum is really 8 GB.

From my own experience, I noticed HUGE performance gains. See my setup, for more details related to stats.


May 2, 2012
Did you see huge performance gains irrespective of use? What is really controlling the RAM size, number of users, disks,...?

In my case, I would like to have ZFS on a small home server for the family members, would I still need 8GB?
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