Proxmox VE 3.4 and ZFS RAID 1 Boot Disks

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Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Target Harddisk Options ZFS RAID1
Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Target Harddisk Options ZFS RAID1

Proxmox VE has added support for ZFS boot disks, including RAID 1 arrays. For those that have been following STH for some time, we started using Proxmox several years ago when the site first moved to its colocation facility. Although STH no longer uses Proxmox, the project has moved on and in the newest Proxmox VE 3.4 version, ZFS on Linux has been added. The new installer even allows for one to easily create a ZFS RAID 1 boot volume. Today we are going to look at that process.

Test Configuration

We used a simple test configuration that allows for a 14.2w idle. If one wants a low idle power cluster, the C2750 is still the leader.

  • Motherboard and SoC: Supermicro A1SAi-2750F with onboard Intel Atom C2750
  • RAM: 32GB Micron DDR3L (4x 8GB SODIMMs)
  • Drives: 2x OCZ Vertex 1 120GB

Not too fancy but the eventual goal is to have nodes with SATA II boot SSDs, hard drives on the SATA II ports and faster/ larger SSDs on the SATA III ports.

Installing Proxmox VE 3.4 on a ZFS RAID 1 array

The firs step is heading over to the Proxmox website and downloading the ISO file. Once it is downloaded, one can either mount via IPMI (shown below) or burn an optical disk image or flash boot drive with the ISO.

Proxmox VE 3.4 Download and Mount
Proxmox VE 3.4 Download and Mount

After booting, select the first option from the installer screen.

Proxmox VE 3.4 Install Screen
Proxmox VE 3.4 Install Screen

At this point, you will see the boot environment. Give it some time to boot into the installer.

Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Boot
Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Boot

As with all things software, accept the EULA to continue.

Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer EULA
Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer EULA

On the next page you will need to make a decision on where to install Proxmox. Here, it is recommended to click Options.

Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Target Harddisk
Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Target Harddisk

Under File system one is presented with a number of different options, six of the eight are now zfs options. We are going to select RAID 1 to use both SSDs.

Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Target Harddisk Options
Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Target Harddisk Options

Since we have not installed our other SSDs or HDDs yet, we can see the two OCZ Vertex drives as Hard disk 0 and Hard disk 1 [sic]. Yes, “hardisk” is in the foreground window while “Harddisk” is in the window’s title bar and “hard disk” is in the background installer text.

Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Target Harddisk Options ZFS RAID1
Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Target Harddisk Options ZFS RAID1

After one clicks OK they are taken to back to the installer screen.

Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Target zfs RAID1
Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Target zfs RAID1

Next pick the location.

Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Location
Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Location

Followed by the root password (login is root with whatever password you have here). That is not explicitly called out on this page so that should save you some time searching.

Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer password and email
Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer password and email

Finally, it is time for network configuration.

Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Network
Proxmox VE 3.4 Installer Network

At this point, you will need to remove the boot media and then the system will boot into Proxmox’s CLI.

Proxmox VE 3.4 Installed CLI
Proxmox VE 3.4 Installed CLI

The CLI gives one the web page that can be used to access the GUI. You can also use the root login here.

Proxmox VE WebGUI login
Proxmox VE WebGUI login

At this point, you are up and running and ready to start managing VMs and storage from the web panel.

Proxmox VE WebGUI start
Proxmox VE WebGUI start

The one big note in this entire process is that the Proxmox installer is exceedingly easy, even to start using a ZFS RAID 1 array with. The one challenge it faces is that the installer’s options to proceed are buttons that say Abort and Next. There is no back button if one inadvertently clicks Next before having the correct settings. It takes only a few seconds to boot but this can be a consideration for folks looking to use Proxmox. Certainly the new Proxmox VE 3.4 ability to boot off of RAID 1 (or RAID-Z1, Z2 or Z3) arrays is an awesome asset to the platform.

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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

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