ZFS with 10.13+ ?


macrumors 68000
Original poster
Nov 2, 2018

TLDR: Has/does anyone tried and succeeded or failed, using ZFS (either from https://openzfsonosx.org or elsewhere) with a High Sierra/Mojave Mac?

Long version:

I've currently got a 5-bay drive array (from Orico) that's using Apple's Software RAID configured as level 10 (i.e. a stripe over a pair of mirrors) using 4 spinning rust drives (same model/size, different batches), and a rescued 5th disk (from a regular USB desktop drive whose controller died).

I'm also planning to order a Thunderbay6 soon. The Orico is 90% used for iTunes storage, and will soon move to be run from my old laptop (so that me installing a new version of Xcode doesn't interrupt Thomas and Friends for my son, etc. The horror!). The Thunderbay will allow me to incrementally add either SSD or spinning rust storage for work-focussed purposes.

While RAID10 gives me some security + speed benefit, it's also not fantastically supported by e.g. Disk Utility (it will always tell me there are RAID members missing - using
diskutil AppleRAID list
in a shell will accurately report the disk members and the intermediate mirror members. It's also not really feasible to increase the size of the volume with bigger disks the way it is.

So, as these are not boot volumes, are not mobile volumes likely to be used on multiple random machines, and my use-case over time is more likely to include non-matching sized drives, I'm starting to think that ZFS may in fact be what I need.

So, does anyone have any tales of woe or success they'd like to share, before I try this?


macrumors regular
Oct 8, 2009
openzfsonosx looks way too buggy to use for anything important.

Can you instead use network-attached storage rather than direct-attach?


macrumors regular
Oct 8, 2009
Get a NAS, put your drives in it, use ZFS on that if you like (I do), for the purposes of sharing iTunes and a few videos you'll find the transfer rates over a network link very good, and you might realise having direct-attached storage was a bit of a unnecessary pain after all.

For the record, I have a four bay Qnap NAS on which I installed Ubuntu using ZFS (also in a striped mirror RAID10-style configuration), and have been very happy with it for many years now. I use it to take Time Machine backups, and store my iTunes and Photos libraries on it.
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