Openfiler and advanced format 4k sectors drives

Openfiler does not support advanced format drive using 4KB sectors such as the Western Digital WD10EARS, WD15EARS, WD20EARS, and WD30EARS. Using these drives without modifications may result in poor performance and more wear. See why (pdf). As of 2010/07 Freenas version 0.7.2.5247 and higher support advance format drives.

Possible solutions:

  • Use another drive and wait until advance formatting is supported. This is the easiest but may not be practical for those requiring more storage.
  • Try to align the drive using one of several methods. This can prove to be a daunting and possibly impossible task if you are not familiar with Linux or BSD. There does not appear to be a solution for Openfiler as it does not recognize any partitions created by aligning the drive for Linux. Openfiler does not allow designating partition starting sectors by sector number. Partitions created by Openfiler start at sector 63 when it needs to start at sector 40, 56, or 64. All subsequent partitions must start at sectors divisible by 4.
  • Freenas can format data only drives in 4kb sectors with a simple checkbox but it cannot do that on drives with the os.
  • Some are reporting setting the hardware jumper on the drive does not solve the performance problem as that is only designed for Windows XP using a single partition.
  1. Background on advance formatting.
  2. Align using fdisk:
  3. http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.utilities.util-linux-ng/2926
  4. Align using PARTED

Idiot’s guide to installing Freenas