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Ok... sounds like a strange question, but bear with me. Can I access a ZFS volume as if it were a file? Specifically, can I share a ZFS volume as a file over NFS?

Here's what I'm doing: I have ZFS Volumes which I am sharing via iSCSI to a Mac OS X workstations. The workstations format the iSCSI devices as Mac OS X extended, and then back up to them.

What I'd like to do is take snapshots from previous backups and make them available as OS X .dmg files. If I could somehow take the ZFS volume and share it over NFS to the OS X clients, named something.dmg, they should be able to mount the volume on their desktops and view all the files therein...

Is this possible..?

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Why can't you share out the ZFS volume as any other volume and mount it on the clients to save .dmg files to? – Bart Silverstrim Jun 7 '11 at 0:29
@Bart: Because the clients lose the connection when backing up to a DMG file over AFP/CIFS/NFS and iSCSI was suggested as an alternative. So far iSCSI works great, but I want to keep the netboot capabilities... – Josh Jun 7 '11 at 12:05
up vote 6 down vote accepted

That's pretty convoluted. You can just take ZFS snapshots of your original backups, share them out as iSCSI volumes and mount them on the Macintosh workstations as (read-only?) Mac-formatted drives. The .dmg portion is unnecessary.

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Also, anything is Unix is a file, including partitions. @ewwite's answer is what you want to do, but you could read it directly as a file. – Jeff Ferland Jun 7 '11 at 1:26
@Jeff: That's my thinking: Where is the file? If I can read it out as a file, I can present it to the macs as a DMG file. The DMG file is only necessary for the macs to be able to netboot off it, which is my goal – Josh Jun 7 '11 at 12:07
I'm going to accept your answer, but really it's more because I realize that my problem is the backup server just can't seem to handle the traffic going to it... or something. Even over iSCSI, the connection between the clients and the server keeps getting broken, so, I have a different problem here. – Josh Jun 8 '11 at 12:25

You're making this question appear more complicated than it really is. You have a set of files. You want to create a dmg image from them on Solaris. You probably can't, because dmg is a proprietary format and there are no tools that I know of (outside of the ones included with OS X) that can create a dmg image.

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What I want to do is create a DMG on Mac OS X stored on the backup server's drive mounted on the mac and copy files to it. That was not working because the mount kept getting disconnected so I tried iSCSI. iSCSI worked better for a while, but now that too is getting disconnected, so I think the problem is the backup server is underpowered, or something... – Josh Jun 8 '11 at 12:26

You can for example share zfs volume (/dev/zvol/rdsk/...) via iSCSI and mount it to you mac, over the network with GlobalSAN iSCSI initiator.

Other possibility is to just have a DMG file on an NFS share. Works just fine too.

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Right, I was sharing the ZFS volume as an iSCSI share to my Mac. Now, I wanted to share the same data as a file over NFS, so I could network boot from it. But I found a different solution. – Josh Jun 9 '11 at 13:09

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