Installing Redports Slaves with FreeBSD 9.x Root on ZFS using GPT

1. Starting off

  1. Go through the procedure in clusteradm/NYINetinstall up to but not including "do the install" in the "machines which will boot from hard drive" section.

2. Creating a bootable ZFS Filesystem

  1. pxeboot the FreeBSD Install image
  2. Choose LiveCD when asked
  3. Mount Root filesystem read-writeable to prevent further problems
     mount -rw /
  4. Create GPT Disk
     Fixit# gpart create -s gpt da0


    • If the disk already contains a partitioning scheme, and this scheme would first need to be destroyed using:
     Fixit# gpart destroy da0
  5. Create the boot, swap and zfs partitions
     Fixit# gpart add -b 40 -s 88 -t freebsd-boot da0
     Fixit# gpart add -s 4G -t freebsd-swap -l swap0 da0
     Fixit# gpart add -t freebsd-zfs -l disk0 da0

    This creates 3 partitions. The first partition will contains the gptzfsboot loader which will be able to load /boot/loader or /boot/zfsloader (9.0-CURRENT) from a ZFS partition. The second partition is a 4 GB swap partition. The third partition is dedicated to the ZFS zpool and uses the remaining space on the disk.


    1. While a ZFS Swap Volume can be used instead of the freebsd-swap partition, crash dumps can't be saved to the ZFS Swap Volume.

  6. Install the Protected MBR (pmbr) and gptzfsboot loader
     Fixit# gpart bootcode -b /boot/pmbr -p /boot/gptzfsboot -i 1 da0
    This may fail with an "operation not permitted" error message, since the kernel likes to protect critical parts of the disk. If this happens for you, run:
     Fixit# sysctl kern.geom.debugflags=0x10
  7. Load ZFS kernel module
     Fixit# kldload opensolaris.ko
     Fixit# kldload zfs.ko
  8. Create ZFS Pool zroot


    • zroot is the name of the ZFS Pool, it could be anything (i.e. tank, data, ...)
     Fixit# zpool create zroot /dev/gpt/disk0

    /!\ We will work around it if you get the error "cannot mount '/zroot': failed to create mountpoint".

     Fixit# zpool set bootfs=zroot zroot
  9. Confirm that you have successfully created it via
     Fixit# zpool status

    /!\ For the following "create" steps, ignore the error "filesystem successfully created, but not mounted"

  10. Create ZFS filesystem hierarchy.

    The fletcher4 algorithm should be more robust than the fletcher2 algorithm.

     Fixit# zfs set checksum=fletcher4                                      zroot
     Fixit# zfs create -o compression=on    -o exec=on      -o setuid=off   zroot/tmp
     Fixit# zfs create                                                      zroot/usr
     Fixit# zfs create                                                      zroot/usr/home
     Fixit# zfs create -o compression=lzjb                  -o setuid=off   zroot/usr/ports
     Fixit# zfs create -o compression=off   -o exec=off     -o setuid=off   zroot/usr/ports/distfiles
     Fixit# zfs create -o compression=off   -o exec=off     -o setuid=off   zroot/usr/ports/packages


    If you use nullfs or nfs to mount /usr/ports to different locations/servers, you will also need to nullfs/nfs mount /usr/ports/distfiles and/or /usr/ports/packages.

     Fixit# zfs create -o compression=lzjb  -o exec=off     -o setuid=off   zroot/usr/src
     Fixit# zfs create                                                      zroot/var
     Fixit# zfs create                      -o exec=off     -o setuid=off   zroot/var/db
     Fixit# zfs create -o compression=lzjb  -o exec=on      -o setuid=off   zroot/var/db/pkg
     Fixit# zfs create                      -o exec=off     -o setuid=off   zroot/var/empty
     Fixit# zfs create -o compression=lzjb  -o exec=off     -o setuid=off   zroot/var/log
     Fixit# zfs create -o compression=lzjb  -o exec=on      -o setuid=off   zroot/var/tmp


    1. Compression may be set to on, off, lzjb, gzip, gzip-N (where N is an integer from 1 (fastest) to 9 (best compresion ratio. gzip is equivalent to gzip-6).
    2. Compression will cause some latency when accessing files on the ZFS filesystems. Use compression on ZFS filesystems which will not be accessed that often.

  11. Mount filesystems to /mnt
     Fixit# zfs set mountpoint=/mnt zroot
     Fixit# zfs set mountpoint=/mnt/tmp zroot/tmp
     Fixit# zfs set mountpoint=/mnt/usr zroot/usr
     Fixit# zfs set mountpoint=/mnt/var zroot/var
     Fixit# zfs mount -a
  12. Fine-tune the contents of the filesystems:
     Fixit# chmod 1777 /mnt/tmp
     Fixit# chmod 1777 /mnt/var/tmp
     Fixit# ln -s /mnt/usr/home /mnt/home

3. Installing FreeBSD to the ZFS filesystem

  1. Install FreeBSD to zroot using bsdinstall
  2. When asked about Partitioning choose "shell"
  3. Just
     Fixit# exit
    to skip the Partitioning step.
  4. Continue with the install up to the "last chance" step.

4. Finish install

  1. Exit to the shell. You should see
     This shell is operating in a chroot in the new system.
  2. Enter
     Fixit# exit
    to leave the chroot.
  3. Edit /mnt/etc/rc.conf
     Fixit# echo 'zfs_enable="YES"' >> /mnt/etc/rc.conf
  4. Create /mnt/boot/loader.conf
     Fixit# echo 'zfs_load="YES"' > /mnt/boot/loader.conf
     Fixit# echo 'vfs.root.mountfrom="zfs:zroot"' >> /mnt/boot/loader.conf
     Fixit# echo 'console="comconsole,vidconsole"' >> /mnt/boot/loader.conf
  5. Create /mnt/etc/fstab
     Fixit# cat << EOF > /mnt/etc/fstab
     # Device                       Mountpoint              FStype  Options         Dump    Pass#
     /dev/gpt/swap0                 none                    swap    sw              0       0
  6. Unmount all zfs filesystems
     Fixit# zfs unmount -a
  7. Further fine-tune the contents of the filesystems:
     Fixit# zfs set readonly=on zroot/var/empty
  8. If /tmp is not r/w, make it so (e.g. via an mdconfig.)

  9. Copy the metadata to the desired destination.

    /!\ You will not be able to ZFS boot without this!

     Fixit# cd /tmp
     Fixit# zpool export -f zroot
     Fixit# zpool import -o cachefile=/tmp/zpool.cache zroot
  10. Change mount points for zroot pool
     Fixit# zfs set mountpoint=legacy zroot
     Fixit# zfs set mountpoint=/tmp zroot/tmp
     Fixit# zfs set mountpoint=/usr zroot/usr
     Fixit# zfs set mountpoint=/var zroot/var
  11. Exit Fixit mode, and then bsdinstall.

5. Finishing Up

  1. Go through the the remaining steps in the procedure in clusteradm/NYINetinstall after the "do the install" step in the "machines which will boot from hard drive" section. When you reboot the first time, the system should boot using the ZFS root.

clusteradm/NYIRedportsSlaveInstall (last edited 2012-11-21T22:22:44+0000 by BernhardFroehlich)