Downgrade is the new Upgrade

23 Mar 2020 • 2 min read

My home server for a few years has been a Gigabyte BRIX 1900. Aside from powering this site, my email, project mailing lists and source code repositories, I use use it to host some VM's as XEN DOMU HVM guests so I can ensure my code works on many operating systems. However, the VM hosting brought my server to it's knees.

I've recently purchased an AMD 2600x which I've fitted out with 32GB RAM. This will be my new developer machine (not to self, NOT to use for gaming), but I need the 512GB SSD from the old server for this one. As I have a few spare 120GB SSDs, I decided to downgrade!

In the process I decided to try out ZFS as it was recently improved quite a bit in NetBSD. Turned out there were still a few bugs to iron out, but I worked out a way to have Root On ZFS. With lz4 compression enabled, the space savings for my usage are huge! I'm really pleased with ZFS, it seems a lot better than using LVM + FFS + WAPBL.

Taking advantage of a new disk, all the software is very uptodate as well, and required some curses changes so I could try a few other things out.... but more on that later!