FreeBSD and ZFS with Plex

Media

The Gen8 HP MicroServers are wonderful little boxes. For less money than most NAS devices, you can get a tiny, server-grade cube with four drive bays, ECC memory and Xeon CPU support. I used to use mine with 4 drives in RAIDZ1, but now I use two mirrored pairs for performance and easier upgrading.

For use with ZFS, you have a few options:

  • OpenSolaris/illumos,
  • Oracle Solaris,
  • Linux with ZFSonLinux,
  • or FreeBSD

Solaris has the advantage of native support, and Oracle’s recent closed-source version even supports turnkey encryption. I trust FreeBSD and their ZFS implementation the most though, so the decision was easy.

But what about Plex? I’d installed it on Ubuntu Server and Debian many times, but I noticed (several years too late!) that the media server software had FreeBSD support. Halljeluya! I believe it was introduced mostly for people using FreeNAS, but I’ve been really happy with how well its performed on FreeBSD since switching over to it.

Installation is a breeze thanks to the tireless package maintainers. I’ve read in enough places you need the compatibility package for certain C libraries as well:

# pkg update
# pkg install compat9x-amd64
# pkg install plexmediaserver

And now you’re good to go with the same URL and file management as any other Plex install, only this time you’re backing it with a ZFS volume with error detection, correction and redudancy. Too cool.

Incidently, do Hitachi make 8TB drives yet?

Author bio and support

Me!

Ruben Schade is a technical writer and IaaS engineer in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Wait, not BIOS… my brain should be EFI by now.

The site is powered by Hugo, FreeBSD, and OpenZFS on OrionVM, everyone’s favourite cloud infrastructure provider.

If you found this post helpful or entertaining, you can shout me a coffee or buy some silly merch. Thanks!