I'm currently running Openindiana on ESXi with RDM access to the 2 disks in my ZFS pool. I used to run Ubuntu with ZFS on Linux but since ESXi 5.1 supports my hardware I wanted to move away from that ZFS implementation to a native ZFS system.

I simply exported my ZFS pool, installed ESXi on a USB-stick and installed my OS's on a seperate SSD. I didn't have any problems importing the pool to Openindiana but for some reason Openindiana wanted to upgrade my pool, which is a bit weird since it already was v28 but I went ahead and did it anyway.

Now, a couple of months later, I want to give FreeBSD a go to test if there are any performance differences but here's when I'm running into issues. FreeBSD won't import my pool as it states it's a newer version, which I find odd since both Openindiana and FreeBSD use ZFS v5 and zpool v28.

This is what FreeBSD is telling me:

#zpool import
  pool: tank
  id: <ID>
  state: UNAVAIL
  status: The pool is formatted using an incomaptible version.
  action: The pool cannot be imported. Access the pool on a system running newer software, or recreate the pool from backup.
  see: http://illumos.org/msg/ZFS-8000-A5

       tank                                      UNAVAIL newer version
         mirror-0                                ONLINE
            gptid/<ID>                           ONLINE
            gptid/<ID>                           ONLINE

Of course, this would be expected if I tried to import the zpool to a system with an older version of ZFS but since the versions in FreeBSD and Openindiana allegedly are the same I don't understand why this is happening. I can import the zpool to Openindiana without any problems. What do you guys think is the problem here?


  • What version of FreeBSD did you try?
    – kworr
    Jun 11, 2013 at 13:01

2 Answers 2


First, can you show the output of zpool upgrade -v?

Then see: Can I trust that ZFS is consistent between Linux and FreeBSD?

The pool version is 28, but "Feature Flags" have been implemented to distinguish functionality between variants of ZFS on different platforms.

For instance, a zpool get all vol1 on one of my ZFS on Linux systems ends with:

vol1  feature@async_destroy  enabled                local
vol1  feature@empty_bpobj    active                 local
vol1  feature@lz4_compress   active                 local

I understand that you're experimenting, but there's some benefit to sticking with a platform for awhile. OpenIndiana is probably newer than your FreeBSD target. Here's a complete list of versions and zpool compatibility.

  • Thanks for the quick response! Openindiana #zpool upgrade -v: 1 Initial ZFS version * * 28 Mutiple vdev replacements, FreeBSD #zpool upgrade -v: 1 Initial ZFS version * * 28 Mutiple vdev replacements. In other words, exactly the same. They should also run the same version according to the table you linked to which is why I thought it would work. I get what you're saying with sticking to the same system, but I wanted to learn more about FreeBSD but it looks like I'll be using Openindiana until I upgrade my server.
    – knorrhane
    Jun 2, 2013 at 10:25
  • This feature set is common for the current FreeBSD testing branch. Latest 8.4 release also have this features and next 9.2 would receive them too.
    – kworr
    Jun 11, 2013 at 12:53
  • @kworr So where do the OP's errors come from?
    – ewwhite
    Jun 11, 2013 at 12:57
  • I think he tries to use zpool version 5000 (with feature flags) on FreeBSD 9.1, which only supports bare v28.
    – kworr
    Jun 11, 2013 at 13:04
  • @kworr According to this page they should both be 5000: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZFS
    – knorrhane
    Jun 12, 2013 at 20:10

As kworr pointed out, I was installing FreeBSD 9.1-RELEASE which doesn't support zpool 5000 and that is why I can't migrate my ZFS pool.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.