FreeBSD 14 - take the power back

Posted on Sat 23 December 2023 in FreeBSD

FreeBSD 14 was released a few weeks ago. One of my home servers has been running FreeBSD for many years. The system has been upgraded from version to version and works like a charm. Some jails are used to separate services provided by the box and ZFS as a file system is a thing. After upgrading the host system and the jails, I didn't have to do much more than install the pkg. I switched from the ports system to the prebuild pkg a few years ago and they work like a charm.

A very good improvement is the work coordinated by Colin on reducing boot time. The FreeBSD kernel had some locks from the good old days. Too much compatibility with very old hardware and some unnecessary stuff seemed to be holding FreeBSD back from booting faster. The changes are very welcome. My system will not boot unless it has received some security patches, and then it will boot. Not having to spend time waiting for a server or more importantly a VM to boot is nice.

Another thing to note is the overall performance boost that the FreeBSD 14.0 release has brought. Check out the performance measurements from phoronix to compare how much faster the system has become.

This is very important. FreeBSD should work on performance and security features from release to release, improving networking and execution performance. This can be a real game changer, making it the system of choice for many projects and vendors. Of course, hardware will improve and become faster, but efficiency and getting the most out of current hardware can make your operating system very popular.

From time to time, the FreeBSD Foundation runs a survey on what the developers should focus on. Being a FreeBSD fanboy, I always take part, and my focus is on performance and security. I use FreeBSD as the basis for firewalls and network appliances. Getting the most out of the hardware ensures that my customers get the most out of their investment. We install 40GbE up to 100GbE servers at customer sites. We want to get the best performance out of the CPUs, NICs and SSDs. It is a real selling point for FreeBSD that you can count on performance improvements from release to release. The FreeBSD project should try to make the kernel work best with all the new CPU features, and support the fastest NICs to keep leading in network performance.

FreeBSD has some great features, such as full ZFS integration and the combination of userland and kernel. This is something the project should focus on, using it as an advantage to provide faster and better integrated tools.

Here in Europe, power consumption and efficiency is a real game changer in the next few years. We need to improve all our data centres to be as efficient as possible. Using the best software and optimised equipment will be one of the keys to building this world of highly efficient data centres.