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Experimenting with the ZFSSA’s snapshot capability using the simulator part 2

In my last post I wrote down some notes about my experience while experimenting with the ZFSSA simulator. A simulator is a great way to get familiar with the user interface and general usability of a product. What I wanted to find out using the ZFSSA simulator was the answer to the question: “what happens to a clone of a database when I roll the master copy forward?”

In the first part of the series I explained how I created a clone of a database, named CLONE1. It is based on a backup of my NCDB database. On top of the backup I have created a snapshot as the basis for my clone. A clone in ZFS(SA) terminology is a writeable snapshot, and CLONE1 uses it. But what would happen to CLONE1 if I modified the source database, NCDB? And can I create a new clone-CLONE2-based on a new backup of the source without modifying the first clone? Let’s try this.

Changing the Source Database

Experimenting with the ZFSSA’s snapshot capability using the simulator

Recently I have been asked how the Copy-on-Write cloning works on the ZFS Storage Appliance. More specifically, the question was about the “master” copy: did it have to be static or could it be rolled forward? What better than a test to work out how it works. Unfortunately I don’t have an actual system available to me at home so I had to revert to the simulator, hoping that it represents the real appliance accurately.


First I downloaded the ZFS Storage Appliance Simulator from the Oracle website and created a nice, new, shiny storage system (albeit virtual). Furthermore I have an Oracle Linux 7 system with UEK3 that will attach to the ZFSSA using dNFS. The appliance has an IP address of while the Linux system is accessible via This is of course a virtual toy environment, a real life setup would be quite different using IPMP and multiple paths preferably over Infiniband.