I have a Mac Pro with a PCIe flash startup drive running MacOS Sierra. I would like to fill the 4 empty SATA HDD bays with drives and use OpenZFS to create a pool/volume.

  1. Is this configuration possible?
  2. What risks/issues might I face with this setup? For example, how might macOS updates affect accessing my ZFS data pool?

I'm open to using MacOS Sierra's RAID tools, but I prefer to use the ZFS file system for this due to its superior data protection and compression features.

  • 1
    Take a look at this site for some info on doing OpenZFS RAID on macOS.
    – bret7600
    Commented May 21, 2017 at 16:31
  • Thanks @bret7600, does the software only work if the drives are mounted in an Akitio external enclosure? Commented May 21, 2017 at 17:45
  • 1
    So sorry, I overlooked something in the release notes... am so used to just using it... Take a look at this command line tool. -- sorry again.
    – bret7600
    Commented May 21, 2017 at 17:59
  • 1
    I think that you may be able to use the reference here for Zpool on the OpenZFS wiki.
    – bret7600
    Commented May 21, 2017 at 18:02

2 Answers 2


Yes it is: I am using zfs, including after upgrading to High Sierra and after updating zfs a few times.

After updating macOS I vaguely recall reinstalling zfs for this version of macOS (and possibly uninstalling it first--fairly certain I followed the directions associated with the installer or in the wiki), and then later as zfs was updated installed the newer release. I was prompted to upgrade the zpool in the normal course of using my external drive (when I did sudo zpool import -a -f).


Based on the links from other users, it seems that it is possible to create a ZFS RAID in the configuration I am looking for.

However for me, the OpenZFS system is not yet mature enough to be my solution on macOS Sierra for these reasons:

  1. Cannot backup ZFS volume using Time Machine
  2. The Photos application, which is dependent on HFS, only "sometimes" works.

See the Interoperability and Limitations section here:


  • i believe time machine support is now supported by zfs using sparse bundle images, for those coming here from search engines
    – ipatch
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 23:27

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