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I currently have my server setup with a Linux software RAID5 (mdamd). I have LVM on top of that, with ext3 filesystems on the Logical Volumes. This setup is mirrored on an external multi-drive enclosure.

I'm considering switching to Solaris (OpenIndiana) to use ZFS.

I understand I will have to delete the information on the server itself, but what format should I save it in on the external enclosure to transfer it back when I have finished installing OpenIndiana? I thought about formatting the drives on the enclosure in FAT32, but I wonder if there's a better method.

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Just an idea - if the whole system is currently mirrored on the enclosure you may consider not making any changes at all to it - after installing Solaris locally boot up the enclosure data as a Linux VM using either Xen ("xVM" on Solaris) or some other kind of virtual machine host (perhaps VirtualBox). Then rsync to the new host.

If you do reformat to lose LVM there's no need to use FAT32, which may lose precious filesystem metadata as it doesn't support many EXT3 features. You can read EXT3 partitions on Solaris with a little work:

If you do end up using FAT32 you're probably better off creating tarballs than just copying your data over. It depends on the data, of course.

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Thank you very much for the detailed answer. Sorry about the delay in accepting it. – jáquer May 8 '11 at 5:50

I think ext3 is your best option. There is ext support in OpenIndiana.

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Thanks for taking the time to answer. I'm going with Eduardo's answer since he answered first and in much more detail. – jáquer May 8 '11 at 5:51
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I hate to come back an asnwer my own question, specially after I had already accepted someone else's answer, but I would like other people in my situation to benefit from the (IMO, much simpler) route I ended up taking.

I simply installed ZFS-FUSE, and created a zpool using my external drive enclosure:

zpool create tankz raidz /dev/sd{f,g,h,i}

I rsync'd all my files into this and exported the pool using zpool export tankz. Once I booted OpenIndiana, I was able to simply zpool import tankz.

I haven't finished the install, but all the files are there. zpool status mentions that the pool is using an old format, and some features might be disabled, which makes perfect sense. I plan on creating a new pool using the internal drives, and then use zfs send/receive to copy the data over.

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