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So I have a cluster with an array of hard drives (say 6), currently they are not in any RAID, on top of one of them I currently have my Scientific Linux installed and running. How to migrate it onto zfs (swap existing FS to ZFS)?

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In general:

  • Boot a livecd, containing all needed drivers (ZFS)
  • Backup your partition
  • Format it with ZFS
  • Unpack the backup into the new partition
  • Update initrd, make sure all needed modules are included (on debian update-initramfs and configuring /etc/initramfs-tools, but on redhat it will be different).
  • Update grub (e.g. filesystem uuids)
  • Maybe reinstall grub
  • update /etc/fstab in the new FS
  • look at other files containing device names and filesystem uuids/labels/types and update them.

For much of the stuff you will need to work in a chroot, where you mount /boot /proc /sys /dev (devtmpfs to avoid udev in the chroot).

It will only work, if you already have some experience with using chroots and how filesystems are mounted in linux especially at boot time in the initrd. There is much what can break, but you need the backup image during the update anyway, which can be used as last resort to undo the operation.

  • Where one can get such livecd that could backup and unpack existing partition onto zfs? – DuckQueen Jul 31 '15 at 14:37
  • As not many distributions have zfs on Linux at all, maybe you find some scientific Linux live CD? But I am not sure, if it's a good idea for you. Maybe try a backup and clean reinstall. – allo Jul 31 '15 at 16:50

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