[ZFS] diff – what changed between ZFS snapshots

The diff command tells you what files were changed/added/deleted between snapshots.

#list snapshots of a dataset
zfs list -rt snapshot | grep zpool/dataset
#choose two snapshots and use the diff command
zfs diff -FH zpool/dataset@zfs-auto-snap_monthly-2020-03-01-0552 zpool/dataset@zfs-auto-snap_monthly-2020-04-01-0452

The diff command can also show the difference between a snapshot and a current dataset.

zfs diff -FH zpool/dataset@zfs-auto-snap_monthly-2020-03-01-0552 zpool/dataset

The first column indicates the type of change:

-       The path has been removed
+       The path has been created
M       The path has been modified
R       The path has been renamed

The second column indicates the file type, similar to ls. For further information have a look into the zfs man page.

[ZFS] Destroy snapshots

Snapshots in ZFS aren’t cumulative. They just include the difference between the filesystem at the time you took the snapshot and now.
Meaning if you have snapshots A, B and C, deleting A doesn’t impact the status of the remaining B and C. This is a common point of confusion when coming from other systems where you might have to consolidate snapshots to get to a consistent state.

This means, you can delete snapshots out of the middle of a list and not screw up snapshots before or after the one you deleted. So if you have:


You can safely sudo zfs destroy pool/dataset@snap3 and 1, 2, 4, and 5 will all be perfectly fine afterward.

You can estimate the amount of space reclaimed by deleting multiple snapshots by doing a dry run (-n) on zfs destroy like this:

sudo zfs destroy -nv pool/dataset@snap4%snap8
would destroy pool/dataset@snap4
would destroy pool/dataset@snap5
would destroy pool/dataset@snap6
would destroy pool/dataset@snap7
would destroy pool/dataset@snap8
would reclaim 25.2G

List your snapshots (for a specific dataset simply use grep):

sudo zfs list -rt snapshot | grep pool/dataset

If you need to free some space, you can sort zfs snapshots by size:

zfs list -o name,used -s used -t snap

[ZFS] Rollback LXC

Look for a specific snapshot of your LXC.

sudo zfs list -rt snapshot | grep data/lxc/subvol-101

I just want to rollback 2 hours, so I choose the snapshot with timestamp 2019-12-05-1117.

data/lxc/subvol-110-disk-0@zfs-auto-snap_hourly-2019-12-05-0917   11,7M      -     24,2G  -
data/lxc/subvol-110-disk-0@zfs-auto-snap_hourly-2019-12-05-1017   11,9M      -     24,2G  -
data/lxc/subvol-110-disk-0@zfs-auto-snap_hourly-2019-12-05-1117   11,7M      -     24,2G  -
data/lxc/subvol-110-disk-0@zfs-auto-snap_hourly-2019-12-05-1217   11,8M      -     24,2G  -
data/lxc/subvol-110-disk-0@zfs-auto-snap_hourly-2019-12-05-1317   12,1M      -     24,2G  -

If there are one or more snapshots between the current state and the snapshot you want to rollback to, you have to add -r (force deletion) to the rollback command.

sudo zfs rollback -r data/lxc/subvol-110-disk-0@zfs-auto-snap_hourly-2019-12-05-1117