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Alternate boot environments with ZFS - Management?
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Joined: 16 Feb 2009
Posts: 16
Location: Rethwallen

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 8:23 am    Post subject: Alternate boot environments with ZFS - Management? Reply with quote

Moderators - If this is the wrong forum, feel free to move it.

Perhaps 10 years back I got tired of failed upgrades. More with Gentoo but have seen it with RedHat. So I started
using a second root partition that I could perform the upgrade to, and if failed, revert back with a simple reboot. The
choices were in Grub. When the upgrade was complete, I simply had to make sure the new boot environment was
the Grub default.

Later, when BTRFS supported clones, I used it. At first, BTRFS was a bit clumsy requiring FS ID in /etc/fstab and
Grub. But they fixed that issue allowing FS by name, making it easier. This removed the need for a second, dedicated
partition. Plus, allowed as many alternate boot environments as I cared to have, (with a hard limit based on disk size).
Plus, I could use BTRFS for the entire disk but limit the snapshot / cloning to the OS only, (not /usr/portage/distfiles).

About 2.5 years ago I starting using ZFS on Linux for my media server's file systems. I've used ZFS extensively on
Solaris, and some on FreeNAS, so ZFS was natual choice whence it's support on Linux was good enough for booting.
It's worked VERY well. ZFS management is better than BTRFS. I wrote up and throughly tested alternate boot environments
using ZFS, Grub2 and Gentoo Linux. It works great. But, it was a manual process. To be fair only about 5 minutes to create
an ABE and boot off it.

Management question
Does anyone have an alternate boot environment management package for ZFS on Linux?

Recently I wrote a BEADM script, similar to Solaris' BEADM program. It does create, destroy oldest, list and verify. It's
not feature complete, so I was looking around to see if anyone else had something. Note that while my script is working
great, it's limited to specific setup for ZFS. Partly because all 3 of my Gentoo Linux computers have the same setup as
far as the root file system goes.
Kethreveris, (aka Kethrery)
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