I currently have a project need for a simple FreeBSD base install that is hooked up to a NAS/SAN back end. Coming from a Solaris background, most SPARC machines (like the V220/V420) came rack mountable and space for 2 primary hard drives simply for the OS. You would spin up your OS install, install Solstice DiskSuite (Solaris Volume Manager), apply your secret sauce of configuration and you were away. One disk could fail and you could either hot swap replace and resilver or power down, boot off the disk that was functioning and then resilver to bring the new disk online (yes, I know there are more steps than this but that is out of scope for this article).
I wanted a similar, modern day solution like this, using commodity hardware and a free, open source and liberally licensed operating system.
While FreeBSD 10.x has a stable, binary update method for maintaining production machines, this doesn’t allow you to follow –HEAD to get the latest technology for the project that you are working on. The reason that I use OpenBSD so much in production, apart from the security aspect, is that you don’t have to wait long for new technology to appear in –release. This is why I think FreeBSD –HEAD is more suitable for my needs. Continue reading