[zfs-discuss] ZFS on single drive?

Alexandru Guzu alexguzu at gmail.com
Tue Jan 5 16:31:45 EST 2016


Hello all,
This might not be a standard "enterprise" application for ZFS, but can ZFS
be used 'reliably' on a single (USB3) hard drive? By reliable I mean at
least as good as using ext4 for example.

I am planning to store a bunch of data on an external USB drive. Some data
will be backed-up (ideally by snapshot-ing and zfs send), the other data is
not as important, but I don't want to risk it unnecessarily.

I found a post on freenas forums which states that the CTO of iXsystems
said something like "single disk ZFS is so pointless it's actually worse
than not using ZFS". (
https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/single-drive-zfs.35515/).
Then there's talk about how the smallest corruption will render the ZFS
pool totally useless.

I really like the ZFS features of snapshots, incremental backups, and
checksums but I don't like running the risk of losing all the data because
of a couple bad sectors (which will eventually appear)

Is ZFS really so ill-suited for single disk usage? I have not found such
warnings about BTRFS or other filesystems, yet only ZFS seems mature enough
for my preference.
Would it be possible to set copies=3 for all metadata for example to
protect against bad sectors?

Thanks,
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