(By the title, I'm sure this looks like an opinion question, but I'm actually looking for specific facts and materially, information to help me sort through some of the heavily in-favor-of-zfs information that's floating out there on the web.)

FreeBSD's installer chooses UFS for you, and you have to jump through some hoops to install ZFS as your boot drive. Aside from some potential problems with swap on ZFS, I haven't been able to discover any reasons why a person would ever prefer UFS over ZFS.

Making some guesses, it's fairly obvious that UFS is simpler – ZFS is far more than just a filesystem. But ultimately I didn't find it more complex to use than UFS. So my question is, are there disadvantages to ZFS over UFS when used in its simplest possible configuration?


UFS is less resource intensive, ZFS is more resource intensive, usually needing a bit more RAM, so it's not a great fit for VMs. Beyond that, at least for me, ZFS is preferred. One of the reasons the installer doesn't offer it as an option is simple that no one has made the changes to the installer to make it do so. But, there are folks working on this. The changes may even make it into the 10.0 release. I can get you more details on this if you'd like to test. Or, if you're just looking to get a system setup with ZFS root, you may want to look at mfsBSD.

  • Aren't the volume management features of ZFS worthwhile even with the additional memory use? I need to resize VM disks more often than I do on physical machines. (I would love to see what plans there are to get ZFS-installer support into 10 if you have that.)
    – kojiro
    Oct 21 '13 at 11:13
  • Yes, the volume management is useful, but you can resize UFS online now too. I think the zfs stuff in the installer may be in the 10.0 BETA-1, but haven't looked. Oct 21 '13 at 20:38

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