[OpenIndiana-discuss] The 4k transition & the 512bit emulation inhdds

Frederic d cdlist at hotmail.no
Sun Mar 13 04:12:13 UTC 2011

Thanks for the heads up!
Good to know that there is a - at at least seamingly - working solution for 

Yes, that is indeed a bummer. If they had just released a 4k-native firmware 
for their drives.....

-----Original Message----- 
From: Deano
Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2011 11:23 PM
To: 'Discussion list for OpenIndiana'
Subject: Re: [OpenIndiana-discuss] The 4k transition & the 512bit 
emulationin hdds


Here is an OI article and a 'fixed' zpool that sorts the problem out until 
some driver work is done. It has been decided by illumos that the zpool fix 
isn't their choice of how to do it, so it won't be going into mainline. So 
until the driver work is done, follow the instructions here.


See the HCL for various drives that have been used and reported on.


-----Original Message-----
From: c d [mailto:cdlist at hotmail.no]
Sent: 09 March 2011 21:40
To: OpenIndiana-discuss at openindiana.org
Subject: [OpenIndiana-discuss] The 4k transition & the 512bit emulation in 


So the hdd makers are pushing out 4k drives, but are failing miserably by 
emulating 512bit sectors to the OS.

My understanding is that OI supports 4k sectors – as long as the drive 
reports this natively. But since all new 4k drives – as far as I'm aware – 
does an 512bit emulation, there is no way the OS would know about it.
This means that you need an external tool to properly align the partitions. 
Since there's no such tool for ZFS, it therefore rely on manually editing 
and compiling the source of zpool, to force an alignment.

The half-hearted way this transition has been done by the hdd makers, simply 
speaks for itself.
Since the emulation takes place in the PCB of the drive, it baffles me that 
they aren't release two versions of their drives. Why not make it optional? 
Even if they were slightly more expensive, it would make the transition 
flawless for a lot of people, by simply, well not having a transition!
Instead they are pushing the problem onto the consumers. And it seems that 
it can take years before they actually make the drive speak 4k natively.

So, as this problem concerns all of us, perhaps we should try to find a 
If all it takes is a modified binary, how about supplementing it with 

Here's a link to tests and how-to for compiling zpool with ashift=12:

I'm also very interested in hearing your experiences with the following 
drives, and how they perform with / without the modified binary:
WD20EARS        (Western Digital Green)
HD204UI         (Samsung F4EG)
ST32000542AS     (Seagate Barracuda LP 2)

- Frederic
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