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Turn Your Ipod Into a ZFS Storage Device….And While you are at it, Why Don’t You Run a Sparse Zone on it as Well !

So the following is for pure fun and extremely destructive.  Again, DESTRUCTIVE. Let me say it again DESTRUCTIVE

Since I know what I am doing ( a little bit more on this in a minute ), what you will need here is VirtualBox, Solaris 10 Update 9 installed on it as the guest OS and VirtualBox Extension Pack and an IPOD that you don’t care about.


Well, First ZFS is really fun and its capabilities are tremendously useful. Second I have this certain distaste against the 4th generation Ipod Video. I think I used it about three months and then I stashed it on my bookcase. It started to pick some dust after that. I love the rest of Ipod Products. Third, ZFS is very inspirational, in fact this blog article is completely inspired by the video that was put together by some very talented engineers  .

Greasy Details

So get your VirtualBox if you already have not done so, and install the extension pack. Back up your music files because by the end of this article they will be gone baby gone!.

So here is the system I have on VB:

root@solu9# cat /etc/release

Oracle Solaris 10 9/10 s10x_u9wos_14a X86

Copyright (c) 2010, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

Assembled 11 August 2010

root@solu9# uname -a

SunOS solu9 5.10 Generic_142910-17 i86pc i386 i86pc

Basically, your Ipod will act like a USB storage device for your Solaris System. After you install your VB and the Extension Pack, you will need to let your Guest OS to use the USB device from the GUI:


So boot your SM and connect to it either from your ssh terminal or just use the GUI itself. When you connect your ipod to the VirtualMachine, it is not going to be very obvious to you that it is there.

root@solu9# format
Searching for disks…done

0. c0d0 <DEFAULT cyl 10440 alt 2 hd 255 sec 63>

I am only seeing one disk, which is c0d0. Additionally for my case I had to unmount CD/Drive because I had GuestAdditions installed on the OS. There are many ways of doing this, but I did the following for a quick and easy way:

root@solu9# /etc/init.d/volmgt stop

One way to see if the USB is really there is to use iostat:

root@solu9# iostat -En
c0d0             Soft Errors: 0 Hard Errors: 0 Transport Errors: 0
Vendor: Apple    Product: iPod             Revision: 1.62 Serial No:
Size: 30.01GB <30005821440 bytes>
Media Error: 0 Device Not Ready: 0 No Device: 0 Recoverable: 0
Illegal Request: 10 Predictive Failure Analysis: 0

Lookie what showed up above  . So to really really see it, you’ll need to use format utility -e format

root@solu9# format -e
Searching for disks…done

0. c0d0 <DEFAULT cyl 10440 alt 2 hd 255 sec 63>
1. c2t0d0 <DEFAULT cyl 3645 alt 2 hd 255 sec 63>  ipod

So c2t0d0 is our guy. One thing to note here is that since we are going to be talking about ZFS pools, you will need to fdisk this partition and label it with EFI instead of SMI label.

0. c0d0 <DEFAULT cyl 10440 alt 2 hd 255 sec 63>
1. c2t0d0 <DEFAULT cyl 3645 alt 2 hd 255 sec 63>  ipod
Specify disk (enter its number): 1
selecting c2t0d0: ipod
[disk formatted]

disk       – select a disk
type       – select (define) a disk type
partition  – select (define) a partition table
current    – describe the current disk
format     – format and analyze the disk
fdisk      – run the fdisk program
repair     – repair a defective sector
label      – write label to the disk
analyze    – surface analysis
defect     – defect list management
backup     – search for backup labels
verify     – read and display labels
save       – save new disk/partition definitions
inquiry    – show vendor, product and revision
scsi       – independent SCSI mode selects
cache      – enable, disable or query SCSI disk cache
volname    – set 8-character volume name
!<cmd>     – execute <cmd>, then return
format> l
[0] SMI Label
[1] EFI Label
Specify Label type[0]: 1
Warning: This disk has an SMI label. Changing to EFI label will erase all
current partitions.
Continue? yes

root@solu9# format -e
Searching for disks…done

0. c0d0 <DEFAULT cyl 10440 alt 2 hd 255 sec 63>
1. c2t0d0 <Apple-iPod-1.62-27.95GB>

Nice, so now we get to create our pool:

root@solu9# zpool create myipod c2t0d0s0
root@solu9# df -h
Filesystem             size   used  avail capacity  Mounted on
78G   4.1G    72G     6%    /
/devices                 0K     0K     0K     0%    /devices
rpool/export            78G    23K    72G     1%    /export
rpool/export/home       78G    21K    72G     1%    /export/home
rpool                   78G    32K    72G     1%    /rpool
rpool/zones             78G    29K    72G     1%    /zones
myipod                  27G    21K    27G     1%    /myipod

Let’s see the status of our pools:

root@solu9# zpool status
pool: myipod
state: ONLINE
scrub: none requested

myipod      ONLINE       0     0     0
c2t0d0s0  ONLINE       0     0     0

errors: No known data errors

pool: rpool
state: ONLINE
scrub: none requested

rpool       ONLINE       0     0     0
c0d0s0    ONLINE       0     0     0

Now here, we step back and realize once more how powerful zfs is. I created a zfs pool in this device and I am about to create a sparse zone which will be directly running on the Ipod. Instead of creating a scratch zone, I will be cloning a sparse zone into this device. I have an .xml file that is extracted from another zone:

root@solu9# cat zipod.xml
create -b
set zonepath=/myipod/ipodzone
set autoboot=false
set ip-type=shared
add inherit-pkg-dir
set dir=/lib
add inherit-pkg-dir
set dir=/platform
add inherit-pkg-dir
set dir=/sbin
add inherit-pkg-dir
set dir=/usr
add net
set address=
set physical=e1000g0
add attr
set name=comment
set type=string
set value=”Zone zipod”

root@solu9# zonecfg -z ipodzone -f /root/Configs/zipod.xml

root@solu9# zoneadm -z ipodzone clone -s rpool/zones/ztest@SUNWzone1 ztest

root@solu9# cp sysidcfg /myipod/ipodzone/root/etc/.

I had this sysidcfg file in hand so that I could copy into the ipodzone I created. Now let’s list the available zones:

root@solu9# zoneadm list -civc
ID NAME             STATUS     PATH                           BRAND    IP
0 global                   running    /                                    native   shared
– zperl                   installed  /zones/zperl                   native   shared
– ipodzone            installed  /myipod/ipodzone       native   shared

Take a note on the zonepath, it is residing on /myipod which is the pool I created earlier. Zfs list would show this nicer:

root@solu9# zfs list
NAME                            USED  AVAIL  REFER  MOUNTPOINT
myipod                          375M  26.9G    23K     /myipod
myipod/ipodzone        375M  26.9G   375M  /myipod/ipodzone


This is pretty cool, all I need to do is to boot the zone now:

root@solu9# zoneadm -z ipodzone boot
root@solu9# zlogin ipodzone
[Connected to zone ‘ipodzone’ pts/4]
Last login: Fri Jun 17 23:24:31 on pts/4

root@ipodzone# pwd
root@ipodzone# ls
Downloads  Scripts
root@ipodzone# uname -a
SunOS ipodzone 5.10 Generic_142910-17 i86pc i386 i86pc

Now I have a zone running on my usb drive. So this certain distaste of ipod turned into a delightful fun with ZFS and zones.