I have a one-drive zfs pool named data on my desktop computer, created with something like zpool create data /dev/mapper/data (zfs on luks). I would like to convert it into a raid1 pool, but only have 1 more drive to play with, and one more slot in my machine.

Can I somehow tell zfs to convert my data pool into a mirror, using the new drive as the 2nd drive in the set?

If that is not possible, is there a way to create a new degraded mirror pool using just the new drive (since I don't have a 2nd drive yet)? That would give me a chance to copy my data from the old pool into the new mirror pool, then add the original drive to the new pool.

2 Answers 2


I'm new to FreeBSD, and haven't yet used ZFS. However, based on my research, why not use

#zpool attach mypool /dev/sdX /dev/sdY

instead of all of that? Should automatically convert the pool to a mirror.

  • thanks, that worked! It is the easy route I was hoping I could take, but couldn't find any examples or documentation of by googling. My "solution" below, which I wrote before getting any responses, was for the second [less-than-optimal] method, involving creating a degraded mirror pool, manually copying data over, then adding drive to mirror. Your method was quick and easy. Thanks. Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 4:13

I didn't think I'd be answering my own question, but after much googling and spinning up a vagrant box with multiple disks to experiment with, I found how to create a degraded zfs mirror (raid1) pool.

I will post it here so it is available for anyone that also has this problem.

# create sparse file, as placeholder for 2nd disk
truncate -s 1GB /tmp/placeholder.img

# create the new mirror pool
zpool create mypool mirror /dev/sdX /tmp/placeholder.img

# immediately place sparse file offline, so zfs won't write to it
zpool offline mypool /tmp/placeholder.img

# verify mirror pool is degraded
zpool status -v

# later, once 2nd disk is available, replace sparse file with new disk
zpool replace mypool /tmp/placeholder.img /dev/sdY

# verify new drive is there, and pool is either resilvering or ONLINE
zpool status -v
  • 2
    There's no need to do that. Just attach the second disk when it's available. E.g. zpool create mypool /dev/disk1 and then later when you're ready to start mirroring, zpool attach mypool /dev/disk1 /dev/disk2. The pool doesn't need to START as a mirror pool - you can make it a mirror later.
    – mmusante
    Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 17:42
  • 1
    Adding to @mmusante's comment, note that the usable size of a mirror vdev will be the lowest of all constituent devices. (Correspondingly, for a raidz* vdev, the usable capacity will be the number of devices, minus the number of parity devices, times the size of the smallest constituent device.) Since you're giving ZFS a 1 GB sparse file as part of a mirror vdev, this limits the vdev capacity, and thus the capacity of the pool, to 1 GB. That said while this is unnecessary for a mirror vdev, it's a common trick when setting up raidz* vdevs when not all drives are available initially.
    – user
    Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 13:37

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