LUKS Encrypted ZFS on Debian Buster

Posted: 2019-07-09 09:06:41 by Alasdair Keyes

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I've been interested in running ZFS for a while but have always held off making the leap due to worries about features and stability. ZFS was originally developed for Solaris and has been ported over to Linux by the ZFS on Linux (ZoL) project

Recently ZoL 0.8 was released with native encryption which is really a must. Unfortunately the latest Debian release 'Buster' only has 0.7.12 so the native encryption feature isn't available.

I've been experimenting with a Virtualbox VM to develop and test a suitable setup that I would be happy with on my production hardware.

My existing production setup runs Debian Stretch using Linux software Raid with LUKS Encryption on top and running ext4 as a filesystem.

For this test setup I'm using Virtualbox with 4x 2GB disks for ZFS with Striped/Mirrored configuration, it's essentially ZFS's version of RAID 10. For a configuration like this you should ensure you have at least 2GB RAM, I did try with 1GB however the LUKS encrypted devices were failing to startup at boot with out of memory errors. Debian 'Buster' is the OS.

The Disk setup is

Setup process

  1. Install Debian Buster and make sure it's fully updated on first boot
apt update && apt upgrade -y
  1. Add in the contrib repos by adding contrib to the Debian apt repo list in /etc/apt/sources.list
deb buster main contrib
deb-src buster main contrib
  1. Install dependencies
apt update && apt install dpkg-dev linux-headers-amd64 cryptsetup -y
  1. Install ZFS

This can take some time, make a cup of tea.

apt install zfs-dkms zfsutils-linux -y
  1. Setup LUKS encryption on the raw devices. Each time you will be asked to confirm that you want to overwrite the device and also enter a password for the device twice.
cryptsetup -y luksFormat /dev/sdb
cryptsetup -y luksFormat /dev/sdc
cryptsetup -y luksFormat /dev/sdd
cryptsetup -y luksFormat /dev/sde
  1. Setup LUKS initialization on boot

Get the UUID for each LUKS device

# ls -l /dev/disk/by-uuid/
total 0
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Jul  9 08:55 0af47096-987d-41b5-b5a7-98827850f46d -> ../../sda1
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Jul  9 08:55 5888dfc8-4df0-410e-8aec-992aad7abd97 -> ../../sdc
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Jul  9 08:55 abd4a557-de16-4ecd-ab73-e4d41293dcf4 -> ../../sde
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Jul  9 08:55 e2f1931b-2413-4181-9500-baad1a74c12d -> ../../sdd
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Jul  9 08:55 edc129d6-dc90-4338-bc2e-9476843ff41f -> ../../sdb
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Jul  9 08:55 fc1b09a1-41e2-4503-8c4f-d2e532dea5aa -> ../../sda5

Update the /etc/crypttab file with your disk configuration, it should look similar to this, the target name can be any unique name that you want.

# <target name>	<source device>		<key file>	<options>
sdb_crypt UUID=edc129d6-dc90-4338-bc2e-9476843ff41f none luks
sdc_crypt UUID=5888dfc8-4df0-410e-8aec-992aad7abd97 none luks
sdd_crypt UUID=e2f1931b-2413-4181-9500-baad1a74c12d none luks
sde_crypt UUID=abd4a557-de16-4ecd-ab73-e4d41293dcf4 none luks

As you can see the UUID mapping in /dev/disk/by-uuid is mapped against a unique name for device mapper.

  1. Reboot the system

This isn't required, however it's good to ensure that your LUKS setup is correct before proceeding. You will be asked for your LUKS passwords on boot. Once you log back in again, you should be able to run the following ls and see the LUKS devices are initialized correctly

$ ls -l /dev/mapper/
total 0
crw------- 1 root root 10, 236 Jul  9 08:55 control
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root       7 Jul  9 08:55 sdb_crypt -> ../dm-0
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root       7 Jul  9 08:55 sdc_crypt -> ../dm-1
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root       7 Jul  9 08:56 sdd_crypt -> ../dm-3
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root       7 Jul  9 08:55 sde_crypt -> ../dm-2
  1. Setup your ZFS pool

You will sometimes get a warning that the zfs kernel module isn't loaded, just follow the instructions and run...

modprobe zfs

This will only need to be run once, once a pool is configured the module will be loaded automatically.

# zpool create pool01 mirror /dev/mapper/sdb_crypt /dev/mapper/sdc_crypt mirror /dev/mapper/sdd_crypt /dev/mapper/sde_crypt

Check the setup

# zpool status
  pool: pool01
 state: ONLINE
  scan: none requested

	pool01         ONLINE       0     0     0
	  mirror-0     ONLINE       0     0     0
	    sdb_crypt  ONLINE       0     0     0
	    sdc_crypt  ONLINE       0     0     0
	  mirror-1     ONLINE       0     0     0
	    sdd_crypt  ONLINE       0     0     0
	    sde_crypt  ONLINE       0     0     0

errors: No known data errors
  1. Reboot the system again.

Rebooting again will ensure that everything is configured and the LUKS devices are brought up before ZFS mounts the pool, otherwise you will end up with ZFS errors and the pool won't load.

Run zpool status again and you should see the same output as above. If the LUKS devices fail to initialize and none of the devices are available, you will see an error about no pool available.

If only some of the LUKS devices fail to initialize you will see the state being something other than ONLINE and you can check dmesg or /var/log/kern.log for information as to why.

If you found this useful, please feel free to donate via bitcoin to 1NT2ErDzLDBPB8CDLk6j1qUdT6FmxkMmNz

© Alasdair Keyes

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