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Snapper and LVM thin-provisioned Snapshots

July 25th, 2012 by

SUSEs Hackweek 8 allowed me to implement support for LVM thin-provisioned snapshots in snapper. Since thin-provisioned snapshots themself are new I will shortly show their usage.

Unfortunately openSUSE 12.2 RC1 does not include LVM tools with thin-provisioning so you have to compile them on your own. First install the thin-provisioning-tools. Then install LVM with thin-provisioning enabled (configure option –with-thin=internal).

To setup LVM we first have to create a volume group either using the LVM tools or YaST. I assume it’s named test. Then we create a storage pool with 3GB space.

  # modprobe dm-thin-pool
  # lvcreate --thin test/pool --size 3G

Now we can create a thin-provisioned logical volume named thin with a size of 5GB. The size can be larger than the pool since data is only allocated from the pool when needed.

  # lvcreate --thin test/pool --virtualsize 5G --name thin

  # mkfs.ext4 /dev/test/thin
  # mkdir /thin
  # mount /dev/test/thin /thin

Finally we can create a snapshot from the logical volume.

  # lvcreate --snapshot --name thin-snap1 /dev/test/thin

  # mkdir /thin-snapshot
  # mount /dev/test/thin-snap1 /thin-snapshot

Space for the snapshot is also allocated from the pool when needed. The command lvs gives an overview of the allocated space.

  # lvs
  LV         VG   Attr     LSize Pool Origin Data%  Move Log Copy%  Convert
  pool       test twi-a-tz 3.00g               4.24
  thin       test Vwi-aotz 5.00g pool          2.54
  thin-snap1 test Vwi-a-tz 5.00g pool thin     2.54

After installing snapper version 0.0.12 or later we can create a config for the logical volume thin.

  # snapper -c thin create-config --fstype="lvm(ext4)" /thin

As a simple test we can create a new file and see that snapper detects its creation.

  # snapper -c thin create --command "touch /thin/lenny"

  # snapper -c thin list
  Type   | # | Pre # | Date                          | Cleanup | Description | Userdata
  -------+---+-------+-------------------------------+---------+-------------+---------
  single | 0 |       |                               |         | current     |
  pre    | 1 |       | Tue 24 Jul 2012 15:49:51 CEST |         |             |
  post   | 2 | 1     | Tue 24 Jul 2012 15:49:51 CEST |         |             |

  # snapper -c thin status 1..2
  +... /thin/lenny

So now you can use snapper even if you don’t trust btrfs. Feedback is welcomed.