A bit of reading shows that ZFS, if it's stable enough, has some really great features that would be nice on such a large pile o' drives.

See http://wiki.freebsd.org/ZFSQuickStartGuide

I guess the last question I'll ask (as any more may uncover my ignorance) is if you need to use hardware RAID at all? It seems both UFS2 and ZFS can do software RAID which seems to be quite reasonable with respect to performance and in many ways seems to be more robust since it is a bit more portable (no specialized hardware).

I've thought about this one a lot. In my case, the hard drives are in
a separate enclosure from the server and the two had to be connected
via SAS cables. The 9690SA-8E card was the best choice I could find
for accessing an external SAS enclosure with support for 8 drives.

I could configure it in JBOD mode and then use software to create a
RAID array. In fact, I will likely do this to compare performance of a
hardware vs. software RAID5 solution. The ZFS RAID-Z option does not
appeal to me, because the read performance does not benefit from
additional drives, and I don't think RAID6 is available in software.
For those reasons I'm leaning toward a hardware implementation.

Hi Maxim,

RAID-Z2 is the RAID6 double parity option in ZFS.

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