The Initial Release (8.0.0) of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 is available since May 2019.
I’ve already blogged about one of its new feature (AppStream) during the Beta version. In this post I will present Stratis, which is a new local storage-management solution available on RHEL8.


LVM, fdisk, ext*, XFS,… there is plenty of terms, tools and technologies available for managing disks and file systems on a Linux server. In a general way, setting up the initial configuration of storage is not so difficult, but when it comes to manage this storage (meaning most of the time extend it), that’s where things can get a bit more complicated.
The goal of Stratis is to provide an easy way to work on local storage, from the initial setup to the usage of more advanced features.
Like Btrfs or ZFS, Stratis is a “volume-managing filesystems”. VMF’s particularity is that it can be used to manage volume-management and filesystems layers into one, using the concept of “pool” of storage, created from one or more block devices.

Stratis is implemented as a userspace daemon triggered to configure and monitor existing components :
[[email protected] ~]# ps -ef | grep stratis
root 591 1 0 15:31 ? 00:00:00 /usr/libexec/stratisd –debug
[[email protected] ~]#

To interact with the deamon a CLI is available (stratis-cli) :
[[email protected] ~]# stratis --help
usage: stratis [-h] [--version] [--propagate]
{pool,blockdev,filesystem,fs,daemon} ...
Stratis Storage Manager
optional arguments:
-h,              --help show this help message and exit
--version        show program's version number and exit
--propagate      Allow exceptions to propagate
pool             Perform General Pool Actions
blockdev         Commands related to block devices that make up the pool
filesystem (fs)  Commands related to filesystems allocated from a pool
daemon           Stratis daemon information
[[email protected] ~]#

Among the Stratis features we can mention :
> Thin provisioning
> Filesystem snapshots
> Data integrity check
> Data caching (cache tier)
> Data redundancy (raid1, raid5, raid6 or raid10)
> Encryption

Stratis is only 2 years old and the current version is 1.0.3. Therefore, certain features are not yet available such as redundancy for example :
[[email protected] ~]# stratis daemon redundancy
[[email protected] ~]#


Startis architecture is composed of 3 layers :
Block device
A blockdev is the storage used to make up the pool. That could be :
> Hard drives / SSDs
> mdraid
> Device Mapper Multipath
> …

A pool is a set of Block devices.

Filesystems are created from the pool. Stratis supports up to 2^4 filesystems per pool. Currently you can only created XFS filesystem on top of a pool.

Let’s try…

I have a new empty 5G disk on my system. This is the blockdev I want to use :
[[email protected] ~]# lsblk /dev/sdb
sdb    8:16   0   5G  0 disk
[[email protected] ~]#

I create pool composed of this unique blockdev…
[[email protected] ~]# stratis pool create pool01 /dev/sdb

…and verify :
[[email protected] ~]# stratis pool list
Name    Total Physical Size Total Physical Used
pool01                5 GiB              52 MiB
[[email protected] ~]#

On top of this pool I create a XFS filesystem called “data”…
[[email protected] ~]# stratis fs create pool01 data
[[email protected] ~]# stratis fs list
Pool Name   Name        Used       Created             Device                      UUID
pool01      data        546 MiB   Sep 04 2019 16:50   /stratis/pool01/data        dc08f87a2e5a413d843f08728060a890
[[email protected] ~]#

…and mount it on /data directory :
[[email protected] ~]# mkdir /data
[[email protected] ~]# mount /stratis/pool01/data /data
[[email protected] ~]# df -h /data
Filesystem                                                                                      Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/mapper/stratis-1-8fccad302b854fb7936d996f6fdc298c-thin-fs-f3b16f169e8645f6ac1d121929dbb02e 1.0T 7.2G 1017G 1%   /data
[[email protected] ~]#

Here the ‘df’ command report the current used and free sizes as seen and reported by XFS. In fact this is the thin-device :
[[email protected] ~]# lsblk /dev/mapper/stratis-1-8fccad302b854fb7936d996f6fdc298c-thin-fs-f3b16f169e8645f6ac1d121929dbb02e
NAME                                                                                           MAJ:MIN  RM  SIZE  RO  TYPE     MOUNTPOINT
/dev/mapper/stratis-1-8fccad302b854fb7936d996f6fdc298c-thin-fs-f3b16f169e8645f6ac1d121929dbb02e  253:7   0    1T   0  stratis  /data
[[email protected] ~]#

This is not very useful, because the real usage of the storage is less due to thin provisioning. And also because Stratis will automatically grow the filesystem if it nears XFS’s currently sized capacity.

Let’s extend the pool with a new disk of 1G…
[[email protected] ~]# lsblk /dev/sdc
sdc    8:32   0   1G  0 disk
[[email protected] ~]#
[[email protected] ~]# stratis pool add-data pool01 /dev/sdc

…and check :
[[email protected] ~]# stratis blockdev
Pool Name  Device Node  Physical Size   State  Tier
pool01     /dev/sdb              5 GiB  In-use  Data
pool01     /dev/sdc              1 GiB  In-use  Data
[[email protected] pool01]# stratis pool list
Name   Total Physical Size    Total Physical Used
pool01                6 GiB                602 MiB
[[email protected] ~]#

A nice feature of Stratis is the possibility to duplicate a filesystem with a snapshot.
For this test I create a new file on the filesystem “data” we just added :
[[email protected] ~]# touch /data/new_file
[[email protected] ~]# ls -l /data
total 0
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 0 Sep 4 20:43 new_file
[[email protected] ~]#

The operation is straight forward :
[[email protected] ~]# stratis fs snapshot pool01 data data_snap
[[email protected] ~]#

You can notice that Stratis don’t make a difference between a filesystem and a snapshot filesystem. They are the same kind of “object” :
[[email protected] ~]# stratis fs list
Pool Name   Name        Used       Created             Device                      UUID
pool01      data        546 MiB   Sep 04 2019 16:50   /stratis/pool01/data        dc08f87a2e5a413d843f08728060a890
pool01      data_snap   546 MiB   Sep 04 2019 16:57   /stratis/pool01/data_snap   a2c45e9a15e74664bab5de992fa884f7
[[email protected] ~]#

I can now mount the new Filesystem…
[[email protected] ~]# mkdir /data_snap
[[email protected] ~]# mount /stratis/pool01/data_snap /data_snap
[[email protected] ~]# df -h /data_snap
Filesystem                                                                                       Size  Used  Avail  Use%  Mounted on
/dev/mapper/stratis-1-8fccad302b854fb7936d996f6fdc298c-thin-fs-a2c45e9a15e74664bab5de992fa884f7  1.0T  7.2G  1017G  1%    /data_snap
[[email protected] ~]#

…and check that my test file is here :
[[email protected] ~]# ls -l /data_snap
total 0
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 0 Sep 4 20:43 new_file
[[email protected] ~]#

Nice ! But… can I snapshot a filesystem in “online” mode, meaning when data are writing on it ?
Let’s create another snapshot from one session, while a second session is writing on the /data filesystem.
From session 1 :
[[email protected] ~]# stratis fs snapshot pool01 data data_snap2

And from session 2, in the same time :
[[email protected] ~]# dd if=/dev/zero of=/data/bigfile.txt bs=4k iflag=fullblock,count_bytes count=4G

Once done, the new filesystem is present…
[[email protected] ~]# stratis fs list
Pool Name Name Used Created Device UUID
pool01 data_snap2 5.11 GiB Sep 27 2019 11:19 /stratis/pool01/data_snap2 82b649724a0b45a78ef7092762378ad8

…and I can mount it :
[[email protected] ~]# mkdir /data_snap2
[[email protected] ~]# mount /stratis/pool01/data_snap /data_snap2
[[email protected] ~]#

But the file inside seems to have changed (corruption) :
[[email protected] ~]# md5sum /data/bigfile.txt /data_snap2/bigfile.txt
c9a5a6878d97b48cc965c1e41859f034 /data/bigfile.txt
cde91bbaa4b3355bc04f611405ae4430 /data_snap2/bigfile.txt
[[email protected] ~]#

So, the answer is no. Stratis is not able to duplicate a file system online (at least for the moment). Thus I would strongly recommend to un-mount the filesystem before creating a snapshot.


Stratis is an easy-to-use tool for managing local storage on RHEL8 server. But due to its immaturity I would not recommend to use it in a productive environment yet. Moreover some interesting features like raid management or data integrity check are not available for the moment, but I’m quite sure that the tool will evolve quickly !

If you want to know more, all is here.
Enjoy testing Stratis and stay tuned to discover its evolution…

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Joël Cattin