Normally if I talk about a filesystem here, I talk about Hammer, which is not a surprise. However, I often read and review Michael W. Lucas’s BSD-oriented books, and he has written FreeBSD Mastery: Storage Essentials. I’m reviewing it here because it’s obviously BSD-related, and some portions are directly relevant for other BSDs.
Disk setup and layout isn’t something that normally consumes much attention past the initial install – until something goes wrong, or until a system needs a new configuration. Installers tend to hide that initial layout, anyway.
Vendors take advantage of this. Much of the specialized storage vendors out there are selling you a computer with disks in it – something you can build yourself. You don’t (or at least I hope you don’t) buy a firewall when you can do the same with pf or ipfw; the same goes for disk management.
There’s plenty of coverage of GEOM, GELI, GDBE, and the other technologies specific to FreeBSD. I for one did not know how GEOM worked, with its consumer/producer model – and I imagine it’s complex to dive into when you’ve got a broken machine next to you. If you are administering FreeBSD systems, especially ones that deal with dedicated storage, you will find this useful. He doesn’t go into ZFS, but he does hint at a book on it later…
If you’re not a FreeBSD user, there’s also material that’s common to any BSD – an explanation of disk architecture, of UFS, RAID, and SMART. Knowing what SMART is and does is essential, in my opinion. You may be able to cobble this material together from other sources online, but it’s packaged nicely here, with Lucas’s easy writing style.
It’s a self-published book, and as such the download nets you three different formats. It’s currently $10 and DRM-free, directly from the author. You can also order physical versions, if you like paper.