Introduction to ZFS

Introduction to ZFS Rev 1d)

This is a short introduction to ZFS. It is really only intended to convey the bare minimum knowledge needed to start diving into ZFS and is in no way meant to cut Michael W. Lucas' and Allan Jude's book income.

It is a bit of a spiritual successor to Cyberjock's presentation, but streamlined and focused on ZFS, leaving other topics to other documents.

To download the document in PDF format, please use the orange button.

Please discuss this document in the discussion thread that can be reached with the tabs above. Suggestions, fixes and any other recommendations should also be posted there. Updates will be kept track of using the Resources section's functionality, in addition to the forum discussion thread.
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  1. Revision 1d)

    Yes, another revision. Besides some minor tweaks, the following changes were made: Added a...
  2. Rev 1c)

    This is Revision c) of the document. I somehow forgot to mention the FreeNAS User Guide in the...
  3. Revision 1b)

    It was brought to my attention (thanks to @Heracles) that I neglected to even mention...

Latest reviews

As a new user, I appreciated this informative piece. It really helped me understand what ZFS is about. Appropriate for newcomers.
Great introduction to ZFS, really!...Short but just long enough to get you on the right track :) Reading advised for newcomers.
The light in the night.
Thank you!
Wow, so much knowledge condensed in a quick few-pages paper... I recommend it to everyone.
A must read before building your FreeNAS server! Thanks!
Might be worth arranging for this to be referenced as a useful resource in a future release of the FreeNAS User Guide possibly in the ZFS Primer section
I'll submit a ticket for the docs team to consider that, but first I want to get about a week of feedback and changes.
Great into material. Can we have one the cover some of the more interesting knobs and buttons? Perhaps covering how to calculate ARC RAM usage due to L2ARC?
I'm looking to keep this simple, so that limits the "interesting" bit. The ZFS book states that the rule of thumb is 25 MB of ARC for each 1 GB of L2ARC. It might be lower with large blocks, but stuff that uses large blocks tends to stream well from disk anyway, so it's not incredibly relevant.