NVLists for fun and profit

Over the years that I’ve worked on Solaris, I’ve come to know and love libnvpair. We use it all over the place, from the kernel and up to bits of userspace. If I was reimplementing fwflash today, I’d use libnvpair rather than <sys/queue.h>.

One of the things that you might not be aware of is that we ship python bindings for this library, and while they’re not perfect, they are very, very useful. Let’s have a look at how you can delve into one particular feature of your Solaris system: the zpool cache.

Before we start, you need to know that /etc/zfs/zpool.cache is NOT AN INTERFACE, if you edit that file you could muck up your zpool configurations, and this post is just an example of how we can extract nvlist data.

With that warning proclaimed, let’s have a look at this file.

On our Solaris media server I have a large pool called soundandvision to store our photos along with music and movies that I’ve ripped from CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays over the years. Here’s what zpool status tells me about this right now:

$ zpool status soundandvision
  pool: soundandvision
 state: DEGRADED
status: One or more devices has been removed by the administrator.
        Sufficient replicas exist for the pool to continue functioning in a
        degraded state.
action: Online the device using 'zpool online' or replace the device with
        'zpool replace'.
  scan: resilvered 1.60T in 6h36m with 0 errors on Thu Jul  6 22:07:18 2017


        NAME                         STATE      READ WRITE CKSUM
        soundandvision               DEGRADED      0     0     0
          mirror-0                   ONLINE        0     0     0
            c2t3d0                   ONLINE        0     0     0
            c0t5000039FF3F0D8D9d0    ONLINE        0     0     0
          mirror-1                   ONLINE        0     0     0
            c0t5000CCA248E72F12d0    ONLINE        0     0     0
            c0t5000CCA248E728B6d0    ONLINE        0     0     0
          mirror-2                   DEGRADED      0     0     0
            c0t5000039FF3F0D2F0d0    ONLINE        0     0     0
            spare-1                  DEGRADED      0     0     0
              c0t5000039FE2DF1C15d0  REMOVED       0     0     0
              c0t5000C50067485F33d0  ONLINE        0     0     0
          c0t5000C50067485F33d0      INUSE    

errors: No known data errors

Yes, I do need to pop along to my local PC bits shop and replace that removed disk. What can we find out about that disk, though?