April 13 2013

When installing SmartOS (or any illumos or other OS with ZFS), the ZFS system works best when ZFS has direct hardware access to the disks. In this example, the steps to shut off hardware RAID on the Areca ARC 1882 RAID card are shown. This is usually called JBOD or pass-through mode. JBOD stands for "Just a Bunch of Disks". 

But not to worry, RAIDZ is provided by the SmartOS install as default when the number of disks presented to the installer is sufficient. Similar steps should be found for other Areca ARC RAID cards, or refer to the manual for the board you are using.

Installation of SmartOS on a brand new server like this takes about 6 minutes, most of which is time spent typing in the disk list and waiting for the boot and reboot. After that, its up and ready to roll.

In this example, the server in question is a Dual Intel Xeon E5-2640 2.5GHz on a Supermicro X9DR3-F Motherboard. 
The disk controller and disks are:

ARECA ARC 1882-ix16 SAS 6GB/s RAID Controller.

16 x3Tb Hitachi SAS Drives (6Gb/s, 7200RPM).

On BOOT, the server starts up the ARECA BIOS, presenting the list of attached devices and an option to enter the setup menu.

Entering the setup menu with <tab> or <F6> gets you to a selector that will list the cards in your system. Here only one is present.

Choice of 1.
Select: Raid System Function 
Then scroll down to JBOD/Raid Function, and select JBOD
If you need to check to see what settings the drives have - from the Main Menu select Physical Drives...
And down the center column they should all read JBOD after the above steps. F10 to Exit the Areca BIOS Setup and 
boot SmartOS from the DVD or the USB key.
Default GRUB selection for the install.
This shows the Areca ARC driver recognizing all disks.
Go ahead and answer the install questions:
IP address, password, etc until you get to the:
Please select disks for the storage pool, space separated.
This is the only tricky part. Typing skill test.
Type in the list of drives slowly, as shown,
carefully, check your work, then hit enter. 
(one day they will add a  (y/n) "use this list" option,
until then, think of this as a captcha... )
This feedback fills the screen so fast you might miss it as it sets up ZFS on the drives you listed, then before you know what happened
the system reboots, and ZFS is ready for data.
Login with the password you provided. 
Here's the 43.5Tb shown with the "zpool list" command.