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The --merge option says

Can I reliably take a snapshot of the origin whilst a merge of an old snapshot into the origin is in progress

The man page says :"While the merge is in progress, reads or writes to the origin appear as they were directed to the snapshot being merged."

However, it's not clear how safe it is to take a snapshot here.

I know I could operate on the snap and discard - but that's not the question :)

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

So what I didn't expect was: Snapshots of an origin that has a merging snapshot is not supported

So "No".

lvcreate -s -L 6G -n root_tst_snap /dev/deploy/root_tst
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/deploy/root_tst bs=10M count=100
lvconvert --merge -b /dev/deploy/root_tst_snap
lvcreate -s -L 6G -n root_tst_snap2 /dev/deploy/root_tst
# Stop here with notice
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/deploy/root_tst bs=10M count=100
lvconvert --merge -b /dev/deploy/root_tst_snap2
mount /dev/deploy/root_tst /mnt
ll /mnt
umount /mnt
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