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Solaris ZFS Administration Guide
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Creating and Destroying ZFS Storage Pools

The following sections describe different scenarios for creating and destroying ZFS storage pools.

By design, creating and destroying pools is fast and easy. However, be cautious when doing these operations. Although checks are performed to prevent using devices known to be in use in a new pool, ZFS cannot always know when a device is already in use. Destroying a pool is even easier. Use zpool destroy with caution. This is a simple command with significant consequences.

Creating a ZFS Storage Pool

To create a storage pool, use the zpool create command. This command takes a pool name and any number of virtual devices as arguments. The pool name must satisfy the naming conventions outlined in ZFS Component Naming Requirements.

Creating a Basic Storage Pool

The following command creates a new pool named tank that consists of the disks c1t0d0 and c1t1d0:

# zpool create tank c1t0d0 c1t1d0

These whole disks are found in the /dev/dsk directory and are labelled appropriately by ZFS to contain a single, large slice. Data is dynamically striped across both disks.

Creating a Mirrored Storage Pool

To create a mirrored pool, use the mirror keyword, followed by any number of storage devices that will comprise the mirror. Multiple mirrors can be specified by repeating the mirror keyword on the command line. The following command creates a pool with two, two-way mirrors:

# zpool create tank mirror c1d0 c2d0 mirror c3d0 c4d0

The second mirror keyword indicates that a new top-level virtual device is being specified. Data is dynamically striped across both mirrors, with data being redundant between each disk appropriately.

Currently, the following operations are supported on a ZFS mirrored configuration:

  • Adding another set of disks for an additional top-level vdev to an existing mirrored configuration. For more information, see Adding Devices to a Storage Pool.

  • Attaching additional disks to an existing mirrored configuration. Or, attaching additional disks to a non-replicated configuration to create a mirrored configuration. For more information, see Attaching and Detaching Devices in a Storage Pool.

  • Replace a disk or disks in an existing mirrored configuration as long as the replacement disks are greater than or equal to the device to be replaced. For more information, see Replacing Devices in a Storage Pool.

  • Detach a disk or disk in a mirrored configuration as long as the remaining devices provide adequate redundancy for the configuration. For more information, see Attaching and Detaching Devices in a Storage Pool.

Currently, the following operations are not supported on a mirrored configuration:

  • You cannot outright remove a device from a mirrored storage pool. An RFE is filed for this feature.

  • You cannot split or break a mirror for backup purposes. An RFE is filed for this feature.

Creating RAID-Z Storage Pools

Creating a single-parity RAID-Z pool is identical to creating a mirrored pool, except that the raidz or raidz1 keyword is used instead of mirror. The following example shows how to create a pool with a single RAID-Z device that consists of five disks:

# zpool create tank raidz c1t0d0 c2t0d0 c3t0d0 c4t0d0 /dev/dsk/c5t0d0

This example demonstrates that disks can be specified by using their full paths. The /dev/dsk/c5t0d0 device is identical to the c5t0d0 device.

A similar configuration could be created with disk slices. For example:

# zpool create tank raidz c1t0d0s0 c2t0d0s0 c3t0d0s0 c4t0d0s0 c5t0d0s0

However, the disks must be preformatted to have an appropriately sized slice zero.

You can create a double-parity RAID-Z configuration by using the raidz2 keyword when the pool is created. For example:

# zpool create tank raidz2 c1t0d0 c2t0d0 c3t0d0
# zpool status -v tank
  pool: tank
 state: ONLINE
 scrub: none requested
config:

        NAME          STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
        tank          ONLINE       0     0     0
          raidz2      ONLINE       0     0     0
            c1t0d0    ONLINE       0     0     0
            c2t0d0    ONLINE       0     0     0
            c3t0d0    ONLINE       0     0     0

errors: No known data errors

Currently, the following operations are supported on a ZFS RAID-Z configuration:

  • Add another set of disks for an additional top-level vdev to an existing RAID-Z configuration. For more information, see Adding Devices to a Storage Pool.

  • Replace a disk or disks in an existing RAID-Z configuration as long as the replacement disks are greater than or equal to the device to be replaced. For more information, see Replacing Devices in a Storage Pool.

Currently, the following operations are not supported on a RAID-Z configuration:

  • Attach an additional disk to an existing RAID-Z configuration.

  • Detach a disk from a RAID-Z configuration.

  • You cannot outright remove a device from a RAID-Z configuration. An RFE is filed for this feature.

For more information about a RAID-Z configuration, see RAID-Z Storage Pool Configuration.

Creating a ZFS Storage Pool with Log Devices

By default, the ZIL is allocated from blocks within the main pool. However, better performance might be possible by using separate intent log devices, such as NVRAM or a dedicated disk. For more information about ZFS log devices, see Setting Up Separate ZFS Logging Devices.

You can set up a ZFS logging device when the storage pool is created or after the pool is created.

For example, create a mirrored storage pool with mirrored log devices.

# zpool create datap mirror c1t1d0 c1t2d0 mirror c1t3d0 c1t4d0 log mirror c1t5d0 c1t8d0
# zpool status
  pool: datap
 state: ONLINE
 scrub: none requested
config:

        NAME        STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
        datap       ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror    ONLINE       0     0     0
            c1t1d0  ONLINE       0     0     0
            c1t2d0  ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror    ONLINE       0     0     0
            c1t3d0  ONLINE       0     0     0
            c1t4d0  ONLINE       0     0     0
        logs        ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror    ONLINE       0     0     0
            c1t5d0  ONLINE       0     0     0
            c1t8d0  ONLINE       0     0     0

errors: No known data errors
Creating a ZFS Storage Pool with Cache Devices

You can create a storage pool with cache devices to cache storage pool data. For example:

# zpool create tank mirror c2t0d0 c2t1d0 c2t3d0 cache c2t5d0 c2t8d0
# zpool status tank
  pool: tank
 state: ONLINE
 scrub: none requested
config:

        NAME        STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
        tank        ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror    ONLINE       0     0     0
            c2t0d0  ONLINE       0     0     0
            c2t1d0  ONLINE       0     0     0
            c2t3d0  ONLINE       0     0     0
        cache
          c2t5d0    ONLINE       0     0     0
          c2t8d0    ONLINE       0     0     0

Review the following points when considering whether to create a ZFS storage pool with cache devices:

  • Using cache devices provide the greatest performance improvement for random read-workloads of mostly static content.

  • Capacity and reads can be monitored by using the zpool iostat command.

  • Single or multiple cache devices can be added when the pool is created or added and removed after the pool is created. For more information, see Example 4-3.

  • Cache devices cannot be mirrored or be part of a RAID-Z configuration.

  • If a read error is encountered on a cache device, that read I/O is reissued to the original storage pool device, which might be part of a mirrored or RAID-Z configuration. The content of the cache devices is considered volatile, as is the case with other system caches.

Handling ZFS Storage Pool Creation Errors

Pool creation errors can occur for many reasons. Some of these reasons are obvious, such as when a specified device doesn't exist, while other reasons are more subtle.

Detecting in Use Devices

Before formatting a device, ZFS first determines if the disk is in use by ZFS or some other part of the operating system. If the disk is in use, you might see errors such as the following:

# zpool create tank c1t0d0 c1t1d0
invalid vdev specification
use '-f' to override the following errors:
/dev/dsk/c1t0d0s0 is currently mounted on /. Please see umount(1M).
/dev/dsk/c1t0d0s1 is currently mounted on swap. Please see swap(1M).
/dev/dsk/c1t1d0s0 is part of active ZFS pool zeepool. Please see zpool(1M).

Some of these errors can be overridden by using the -f option, but most errors cannot. The following uses cannot be overridden by using the -f option, and you must manually correct them:

Mounted file system

The disk or one of its slices contains a file system that is currently mounted. To correct this error, use the umount command.

File system in /etc/vfstab

The disk contains a file system that is listed in the /etc/vfstab file, but the file system is not currently mounted. To correct this error, remove or comment out the line in the /etc/vfstab file.

Dedicated dump device

The disk is in use as the dedicated dump device for the system. To correct this error, use the dumpadm command.

Part of a ZFS pool

The disk or file is part of an active ZFS storage pool. To correct this error, use the zpool command to destroy the pool.

The following in-use checks serve as helpful warnings and can be overridden by using the -f option to create the pool:

Contains a file system

The disk contains a known file system, though it is not mounted and doesn't appear to be in use.

Part of volume

The disk is part of an SVM volume.

Live upgrade

The disk is in use as an alternate boot environment for Solaris Live Upgrade.

Part of exported ZFS pool

The disk is part of a storage pool that has been exported or manually removed from a system. In the latter case, the pool is reported as potentially active, as the disk might or might not be a network-attached drive in use by another system. Be cautious when overriding a potentially active pool.

The following example demonstrates how the -f option is used:

# zpool create tank c1t0d0
invalid vdev specification
use '-f' to override the following errors:
/dev/dsk/c1t0d0s0 contains a ufs filesystem.
# zpool create -f tank c1t0d0

Ideally, correct the errors rather than use the -f option.

Mismatched Replication Levels

Creating pools with virtual devices of different replication levels is not recommended. The zpool command tries to prevent you from accidentally creating a pool with mismatched levels of redundancy. If you try to create a pool with such a configuration, you see errors similar to the following:

# zpool create tank c1t0d0 mirror c2t0d0 c3t0d0
invalid vdev specification
use '-f' to override the following errors:
mismatched replication level: both disk and mirror vdevs are present
# zpool create tank mirror c1t0d0 c2t0d0 mirror c3t0d0 c4t0d0 c5t0d0
invalid vdev specification
use '-f' to override the following errors:
mismatched replication level: 2-way mirror and 3-way mirror vdevs are present

You can override these errors with the -f option, though this practice is not recommended. The command also warns you about creating a mirrored or RAID-Z pool using devices of different sizes. While this configuration is allowed, mismatched levels of redundancy result in unused space on the larger device, and requires the -f option to override the warning.

Doing a Dry Run of Storage Pool Creation

Because creating a pool can fail unexpectedly in different ways, and because formatting disks is such a potentially harmful action, the zpool create command has an additional option, -n, which simulates creating the pool without actually writing data to disk. This option performs the device in-use checking and replication level validation, and reports any errors in the process. If no errors are found, you see output similar to the following:

# zpool create -n tank mirror c1t0d0 c1t1d0
would create 'tank' with the following layout:

        tank
          mirror
            c1t0d0
            c1t1d0

Some errors cannot be detected without actually creating the pool. The most common example is specifying the same device twice in the same configuration. This error cannot be reliably detected without writing the data itself, so the create -n command can report success and yet fail to create the pool when run for real.

Default Mount Point for Storage Pools

When a pool is created, the default mount point for the root dataset is /pool-name. This directory must either not exist or be empty. If the directory does not exist, it is automatically created. If the directory is empty, the root dataset is mounted on top of the existing directory. To create a pool with a different default mount point, use the -m option of the zpool create command:

# zpool create home c1t0d0
default mountpoint '/home' exists and is not empty
use '-m' option to specify a different default
# zpool create -m /export/zfs home c1t0d0
# zpool create home c1t0d0
default mountpoint '/home' exists and is not empty
use '-m' option to provide a different default
# zpool create -m /export/zfs home c1t0d0

This command creates a new pool home and the home dataset with a mount point of /export/zfs.

For more information about mount points, see Managing ZFS Mount Points.

Destroying ZFS Storage Pools

Pools are destroyed by using the zpool destroy command. This command destroys the pool even if it contains mounted datasets.

# zpool destroy tank

Caution - Be very careful when you destroy a pool. Make sure you are destroying the right pool and you always have copies of your data. If you accidentally destroy the wrong pool, you can attempt to recover the pool. For more information, see Recovering Destroyed ZFS Storage Pools.


Destroying a Pool With Faulted Devices

The act of destroying a pool requires that data be written to disk to indicate that the pool is no longer valid. This state information prevents the devices from showing up as a potential pool when you perform an import. If one or more devices are unavailable, the pool can still be destroyed. However, the necessary state information won't be written to these damaged devices.

These devices, when suitably repaired, are reported as potentially active when you create a new pool, and appear as valid devices when you search for pools to import. If a pool has enough faulted devices such that the pool itself is faulted (meaning that a top-level virtual device is faulted), then the command prints a warning and cannot complete without the -f option. This option is necessary because the pool cannot be opened, so whether data is stored there or not is unknown. For example:

# zpool destroy tank
cannot destroy 'tank': pool is faulted
use '-f' to force destruction anyway
# zpool destroy -f tank

For more information about pool and device health, see Determining the Health Status of ZFS Storage Pools.

For more information about importing pools, see Importing ZFS Storage Pools.

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  Published under the terms fo the Public Documentation License Version 1.01. Design by Interspire