Book Review: FreeBSD Mastery – Storage Essentials

FreeBSD Mastery: Storage EssentialsI have been a big fan of author, Michael W Lucus for years now. I love his Absolute OpenBSD book and have yet to read one better on OpenBSD. I am also a fan of his book Absolute FreeBSD so was looking forward to reading this. I had high expectations but at the same time really didn’t know what to expect other than I knew I would be able to understand it. I love him as a writer because he truly recognizes the beauty of BSD. His passion for it shows in his writing. I feel like I am the only one with these feelings and then I read one of his books and know I am not alone with this passion for an operating system. His style of writing is always pleasant and I always learn.
For me, I use FreeBSD for a number of reasons. Its stability is a big benefit to those of us who use it for work or at home. It also lets me set it up the way I want it. With FreeBSD if something crashes I have the possibility to understand why it is crashing and how I am going to handle it. If I am lost on how to handle it, this book is a great reference in dealing with disk solutions.

He starts out teaching about FreeBSD’s system layers for filesystem management. How to set up RAID. How to deal with problems that aren’t seen everyday. It’s very helpful stuff.

He then goes into a discussion about SMART disk monitoring. It’s fabulous with recovery and repair. If you are like me you run into trouble and will need to keep this handy for reference. It covers RAID as well as other complex setups.

There are three chapters on disk encryption. There are full details of the methods in FreeBSD. He talks about why it may not be the right choice, the pro and cons. If you do encrypt, how to deal with the job.

The biggest missing thing in the book was ZFS filesystem. He explains you might want the UFS instead because of the CPU and RAM. Honestly I felt like this was a bit outdated in thinking with systems today. I felt like it could have been covered better to explain it shouldn’t be an issue unless using an older machine. In the afterword he wrote he was writing a book about ZFS, it should be great.

It did clear up things that I thought I knew and showed me better ways of doing it. I read the digital copy for this review and will want a paperback for reference also. This book not only is useful for new FreeBSD sysadmins, but older seasoned ones (or Linux or Unix) sysadmin as well. You can never know too much and the details this book went into, I can’t imagine not learning something new, as well as having a great reference tool.

Book Info:

* Title: FreeBSD Mastery­ Storage Essentials 2014
* Author: Michael W. Lucus
* Publisher: Tilted Windmill Press.
* Length: 204 pages.
* Target: System administrators or hobbyist interested in the FreeBSD Files system.
* Rating: 4/5.
* Disclaimer: Tilted Windmill Press sent us a review copy.
* Purchase online at Amazon (Kindle edition).


  1. Like his other books, very easy to read and understand.
  2. Very in depth with GEOM, UFS, Encryption, Disk labels, and RAID.
  3. Explains trade offs with picking one solution over another.
  4. Easy to read and understand directions.


  1. You have to understand about disk technology. It says you do not need to know FreeBSD and only about disk technology in the book. I felt like you most definitely need some basic FreeBSD knowledge.
  2. Lacks ZFS coverage. I understand it is a very huge topic and needs it’s own book.

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1 comment… add one
  • Anony Mouse Sep 18, 2015 @ 16:54

    Can you say “great” or “love” any more in a single article. Puh-lease … overdose of sweet!!!

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