Monthly Archives:November 2019

So far my eldest has all of her games on the gamecache drive.  Unfortunately ElderScrolls Online refused to run on the Gamecache drive.  It would hang up the network card causing all network connectivity to go away.  Only a restart of the machine would fix it.  However the fact that all of the other games are on the gamecache drive means the monster game now fits on her local storage without running out of local space.  I’ll troubleshoot the problems later(it think I need to put in an Intel NIC).  I will try a few things once I can order the new nic.

It is working out better than I anticipated.  Right now the eldest has been installing all of her games on the G drive.  I found out one of her games is nearly 200 Gigs in size.  Holy crap batman.  She can easily chew through more than 400 gigs of storage just with the games she plays.  here are the ones that take up the most space.:

  1.  Skyrim
  2. Diablo III
  3. Starcraft II
  4. Lord of the Rings Online
  5. Elder Scrolls Online(this one is the nearly 225 gigabyte monster)

She informed me she has a ton of smaller games that she will be installing now that she has the space.  She also asked..what happens if i run out my 1 Terabyte allocation?  I told her it is a couple of mouse clicks to add more space.  Let’s see if she chews through the whole terabyte..if she does I have 3.2 terabytes waiting..:)

*Game Cache Update* Is the built in compression.  For vm’s you can sometimes get 5-10x compression because vms are mostly empty space.  ZFS does compression transparently.  Right now as part of the eldest’s game cache her system thinks it has written 75 gigabytes of data.  ZFS compression has reduced that down to 52.5G in the background.  This is roughly a 1.41x reduction in size just from basic compression.  Normally with my file types(movies, music..mainly stuff that is already compressed) I do not see any real compression.  With her steam apps the compression is much higher.  It will be interesting to see if it goes up or down as she loads up the rest of her games.

Data/Steamcache type volume –
Data/Steamcache creation Tue Nov 19 17:11 2019 –
Data/Steamcache used 52.5G –
Data/Steamcache available 4.17T –
Data/Steamcache referenced 52.5G –
Data/Steamcache compressratio 1.41x –
Data/Steamcache reservation none default
Data/Steamcache volsize 1.00T local
Data/Steamcache volblocksize 128K –
Data/Steamcache checksum on default
Data/Steamcache compression lz4 inherited from Data
Data/Steamcache readonly off default
Data/Steamcache copies 1 inherited from Data
Data/Steamcache refreservation none default
Data/Steamcache primarycache all default
Data/Steamcache secondarycache all default
Data/Steamcache usedbysnapshots 0 –
Data/Steamcache usedbydataset 52.5G –
Data/Steamcache usedbychildren 0 –
Data/Steamcache usedbyrefreservation 0 –
Data/Steamcache logbias latency default
Data/Steamcache dedup off default
Data/Steamcache mlslabel –
Data/Steamcache sync disabled inherited from Data
Data/Steamcache refcompressratio 1.41x –
Data/Steamcache written 52.5G –
Data/Steamcache logicalused 74.0G –
Data/Steamcache logicalreferenced 74.0G –
Data/Steamcache volmode default default
Data/Steamcache snapshot_limit none default
Data/Steamcache snapshot_count none default
Data/Steamcache redundant_metadata all default
Data/Steamcache org.freebsd.ioc:active yes inherited from Data

I made an earlier post about an experiment I am running.  So far so good.  The eldest is having to put her games onto the new G drive her computer sees.  The magic of ISCSI makes it appear as a local hard drive even though it’s on a network server.  I am a HUGE fan of ISCSI and I use it as much as I can…especially when the storage is Linux or UNIX. I did notice that the transfer was maxing out at 650 megabit/second…i know that the machine can do used to do 2 gigabits/second when it was a backup target.  I wondered what has changed throughout the years?  I did a little bit of digging.  ZFS is all about data safety.  You have to be extremely determined to make it loose data for it to have a chance to do so.  sometimes that ultimate safety comes at the price of performance.  I started looking at the numbers and i noticed ram(32 gigs) was not a problem.  CPU usage was less than 20% max.  The disks however were maxed out.  Well it turns out that ZFS has a ZIL(ZFS Intent Log) that is always present.  If there is no ZIL SSD then it’s on the main drives.  I thought that double(or in this case triple) writing to the drives was it…but there.  I had to dig deeper and dug into the actual disk I?O calls.  It turns out that the default setting for synchronous writes defaults to the application level.  If the application says you must write synchronously…that means zfs will not report back that the write transaction was completed until it does both of it’s copies and verifies them on the array.  Loosely translated if you were to put this in RAID terms it would be a write-through.  Since ZFS is a COW filesystem I am not concerned about data getting corrupted when won’t(again unless you have built it wrong, configured it wrong…something like that)…so I found a setting and i disabled the forcing of synchronous writes.  I effectively turned my FreeNAS into a giant write-back caching drive.  Now the data gets dumped onto the FreeNAS server’s ram and the server says “i have it” and the client moves on to the next task..either another write request or something else.  Once I did that the disks went from maxing out at 25% usage to nearly 50% usage and the data transfers maxed out the gigabit connection.  That’s how it is supposed to be.

There are times for forcing synchronous writes…like databases, financials….anything where the data MUST verified as written before things are released.  that’s when you can force synchronous writes and use a ZIL drive.  This is an SSD(typically) that holds the writes as a cache(non-volatile) until the hard disks catch up.  The ZIL then grabs the data, verifies it’s integrity, and then tells the application the write has been accomplished(because it has) and then passes those writes to the array as a sequential set of files(something hard drives are much better at than random writes).  What’s eve nicer is that you can set the writing behavior per dataset or per zvol.  The entire file system doesn’t have to be one or the other and it doesn’t hurt the ZFS filesystem performance.  More as I figure it out with the ultimate question being…how do games perform when operated like this…stay tuned.

I came across an interesting use case for FreeNAS.  My eldest daughter likes games that are huge.  Like 100-250 gigabyte huge.  I simply cannot afford to keep adding SSD storage to her machine.  I will not do hard disks as main storage..under Windows 10 it’s too painfully slow.  What Lawerence had done was taken a FreeNAS machine, sliced off a portion of the raw storage, and presented it to the workstation as a hard drive over his network.  His son now run his large games from the FreeNAS zvol as if it was local.  What’s neat is the games initial load time is a bit slower(the NAS is hard drive based) but once it’s loaded..there’s no perceptible difference in gaming performance despite a constant stream of data from the server…usually less than 150 megabit/sec.  Since I have multi Terabytes of free space i am doing the same thing for my eldest.  I am also doing what is called thin provisioning so it initially starts at zero usage and goes up until she reaches her cap of 1 Terabyte.  Let’s see how this works as my quad core Xeon cpu is light years faster(with 4 times more ram at 32 gigabytes) than his FreeNAS mini dual core atom and 8 gigs of ram.  If this works…i have a new idea for future computer builds here at the house..<G>

Very few will get this picture. Honestly I have not figured out all of the facets that appeal to me..but I know the base levels.

The knight is a dark knight…one who does his battles from behind the scenes….who works in the shadows. The knight has defeated a devil and prays to God in thanks for the ability to defeat the beast. His spirit guide stands beside him on watch for any further threats as the knight prays in silence.

Few people understand I am one of these “Dark Knights”. I do my best work in the background. The Holy Spirit manifests itself in many ways. For me, most often the Holy Spirit is that animal guide….the one who can nudge me when nothing else can. That still companion that is the first hint of trouble or guidance of where you should go. It has taken me many years to find a manifestation(in pictures) that accurately conveys his stance, his color, and his visage. That guide is my wolf as you can see in the picture.

When i was at my lowest pint in life(before I met Heather) I asked the Lord for guidance and the first thing I received was this manifestation of the Holy Spirit in a way that was quite surprising. Over the intervening decades I have grown in relation to the wolf (the Holy spirit) and to the Lord as well.

Some folks who know of my pagan past might be concerned about this being a reference to that life. That is the furthest from the truth. The Lord can and does use many people. Some are beacons of light( Bruce Conley ) (Ginny Mueller ) just to name two. Some are best at prophecy. Some are best at oratory, but there is a group of folks who are called from the background. One of those folks is me. I am not one to be visible most times, I am reserved, cautious, slow to trust, but fiercely loyal once that trust is earned.


The founders could not see every potential thing that came.  The Constitution is just as relevant today as it was back when our country was founded.  The reason people are calling for the dismemberment of various parts is because they do not want to operate within its constraints.  The biggest offender is the Federal government.  Unfortunately, too many folks do not realize that with our votes we the people are the ultimate arbiters.  If we want to government out of our lives right now..have one side of the legislature be one party and the other the other..that’s gridlock…and frankly that’s a good thing in today’s time.  Many many of the federal laws that exist are unconstitutional and should be repealed.  This is not an issue for the courts.  Folks need to realize the courts do not have the power to strike down a law.  Any ruling along those lines should be ignored (that has happened before btw…I’ll leave that search up for the reader as self-education).  The electorate also needs to stop depending on the media to tell them what is up and what to believe…we the people need to take it upon ourselves to inform and educate ourselves and vote in whatever government we want.  It’s interesting that many of the folks who are complaining the loudest about government is the ones that elected the modern-day monstrosities that exist at the federal, state, county, and local levels.  If you want the government out of your life stop giving them the power to invade your life.  If you really want the government out of your lives, it’s time to elect folks that will not only reduce the budget…but kill many of the programs that just allow the government to invade your lives.  Folks also think this is going to be a microwave process.  Gov’t always moves slowly, at least until it gains enough power to move unrestrained.  Reversing the things that turned gov’t into the monstrosity it is will also take time.  Do not be fooled by those that say…it’s too hard…or it’s gotten too big.  That’s just folks who either do not care or want to keep siphoning off your paycheck without doing anything on their own doing.  It’s not too late….yet..but the time approaching where it will be too late.

it’s been a rough past couple almost three weeks here.  The strain is amplified by the fact I have not slept well in weeks.  First it was Chloe getting a cold…that’s minor so I took that in stride.  I still sleep much more lightly when someone in the house isn’t feeling well..but this was not an unable to sleep issue.  Alessa then caught the cold and it triggered her latent Asthma(my term for it).  hers is not the sudden, acute unable to breathe but it sets in gradually over the course of days to weeks.  Only when it gets to the point where she is out of breath going up the stairs does it get noticed….for me I noticed it the night before because she got her Athsma cough(my term again).  This was Friday night…while her breathing wasn’t critical something needed to be done.  Luckily I ALWAYS have some psudeoephidrine based decongestants around(to help with my minor issues..which i have not had in years).  She took one of these every 12 hours until we got the appointment setup.  Luckily the pseduoephedrine stabilized her until Monday morning when I had the appointment setup.  We get to the doctors and yep the cold has triggered her asthma.  She is now back on a nebulizer 5x a day plus she had two other prescriptions.  If i had to pay this out of pocket it would have been north of $1000.  Luckily her mother recently got Alessa on her work insurance..out of pocket was only a couple hundred…which i covered.  Next, once Alessa was under treatment and Chloe was well I thought I could relax a little.  I went downstairs into the basement to run test my oil furnace.  i do this every year to make sure the until is working properly.  I know how it sounds when operating normally and i know how it should feel in terms of the outgoing air.  When i fired it up the flame sounded like a steam engine(Huff huff huff) and i started smelling exhaust.  I immediately forced the system back to heat pump and called for service.  Because we were stil in the temperature range where the heat pump could properly operate I didn’t need service on that Saturday they came on Monday.  For me…knowing I had a potentially deadly furnace downstairs made me uneasy again….but I have another backup in case..some of the rooms in the house have electric baseboard heat.  Monday comes…the technician had to replace the tip and reset the air/feul mixture settings.  Ok…done right?  Nopers.  I then noticed OJ was loosing fur…we got him to the vet and the diagnosis was a flea bite allergy.  How the hell did fleas get in?  So we get the prescriptions from the vet and get OJ and Freya treated…6 hours later Freya has a very bad reaction to the treatment which necessitated an emergency run back to the vet.  It turns out some cats can react badly to the treatment(called revolution)..the reversal is quick and Freya got a bath(much to her displeasure).  IN the course of one day me and my daughter combined spent more than $500 on the animals to keep them safe…now money is at nearly zero for me and zero for her.  I am tired, no exhausted and tonight I cna FINALLY look for a good night’s sleep.  Luckily the Lord has given us some good news…Alessa may have found another job with good pay and reasonable hours.  I have two more big jobs I am working on and my remote gig is going strong.  One thing I never lost was my faith in Jesus and his ability to see me through.  Footprints in the sane…at one point i was so tired I just slept for the day…and nothing bothered me.  I am still tired but now I can sleep well knowing that Jesus saw me through everything and HE is providing for he always does.


I posted this here so I could embed this video…I didn’t want to go into Facebook jal; for posting something that is readily available on youtube…:)