You forgot IDEA #6 where you take advantage of the fact that zfs can be told to use sparse files as partitions. This is rather like your IDEA #3 but does not require that disks be partitioned.

This opens up many possibilities. Whole vdevs can be virtualized to files on (i.e. moved onto) remaining physical vdevs. Then the drives freed up can be replaced with larger drives and used to start a new pool. It might be easier to upgrade the existing drives in the pool first so that there is assured to be vast amounts of free space and the drives get some testing. There is not initially additional risk due to raidz1 in the pool since the drives will be about as full as before.

I am not sure what additional risks are involved due to using files.

Bob Friesenhahn,
GraphicsMagick Maintainer,
zfs-discuss mailing list

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