Getting started with Stratis – up and running

Photo by Jeremy Lapak on Unsplash

When adding storage to a Linux server, system administrators often use commands like pvcreate, vgcreate, lvcreate, and mkfs to integrate the new storage into the system. Stratis is a command-line tool designed to make managing storage much simpler. It creates, modifies, and destroys pools of storage. It also allocates and deallocates filesystems from the storage pools.

Instead of an entirely in-kernel approach like ZFS or Btrfs, Stratis uses a hybrid approach with components in both user space and kernel land. It builds on existing block device managers like device mapper and existing filesystems like XFS. Monitoring and control is performed by a user space daemon.

Stratis tries to avoid some ZFS characteristics like restrictions on adding new hard drives or replacing existing drives with bigger ones. One of its main design goals is to achieve a positive command-line experience.

Install Stratis

Begin by installing the required packages. Several Python-related dependencies will be automatically pulled in. The stratisd package provides the stratisd daemon which creates, manages, and monitors local storage pools. The stratis-cli package provides the stratis command along with several Python libraries.

# yum install -y stratisd stratis-cli

Next, enable the stratisd service.

# systemctl enable --now stratisd

Note that the “enable –now” syntax shown above both permanently enables and immediately starts the service.

After determining what disks/block devices are present and available, the three basic steps to using Stratis are:

  1. Create a pool of the desired disks.
  2. Create a filesystem in the pool.
  3. Mount the filesystem.

In the following example, four virtual disks are available in a virtual machine. Be sure not to use the root/system disk (/dev/vda in this example)!

# sfdisk -s
/dev/vda:  31457280
/dev/vdb:   5242880
/dev/vdc:   5242880
/dev/vdd:   5242880
/dev/vde:   5242880
total:  52428800 blocks

Create a storage pool using Stratis

# stratis pool create testpool /dev/vdb /dev/vdc
# stratis pool list
Name Total Physical Size  Total Physical Used
testpool   10 GiB         56 MiB

After creating the pool, check the status of its block devices:

# stratis blockdev list
Pool Name   Device Node Physical Size   State  Tier
testpool    /dev/vdb            5 GiB  In-use  Data
testpool    /dev/vdc            5 GiB  In-use  Data

Create a filesystem using Stratis

Next, create a filesystem. As mentioned earlier, Stratis uses the existing DM (device mapper) and XFS filesystem technologies to create thinly-provisioned filesystems. By building on these existing technologies, large filesystems can be created and it is possible to add physical storage as storage needs grow.

# stratis fs create testpool testfs
# stratis fs list
Pool Name  Name   Used     Created                                 Device                    UUID
testpool   testfs 546 MiB  Apr 18 2020 09:15 /stratis/testpool/testfs  095fb4891a5743d0a589217071ff71dc

Note that “fs” in the example above can optionally be written out as “filesystem”.

Mount the filesystem

Next, create a mount point and mount the filesystem.

# mkdir /testdir
# mount /stratis/testpool/testfs /testdir
# df -h | egrep 'stratis|Filesystem'
Filesystem                                 Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/mapper/stratis-1-3e8e[truncated]71dc  1.0T  7.2G 1017G   1% /testdir

The actual space used by a filesystem is shown using the stratis fs list command demonstrated previously. Notice how the testdir filesystem has a virtual size of 1.0T. If the data in a filesystem approaches its virtual size, and there is available space in the storage pool, Stratis will automatically grow the filesystem. Note that beginning with Fedora 34, the form of device path will be /dev/stratis/<pool-name>/<filesystem-name>.

Add the filesystem to fstab

To configure automatic mounting of the filesystem at boot time, run following commands:

# UUID=`lsblk -n -o uuid /stratis/testpool/testfs`
# echo "UUID=${UUID} /testdir xfs defaults 0 0" >> /etc/fstab

After updating fstab, verify that the entry is correct by unmounting and mounting the filesystem:

# umount /testdir
# mount /testdir
# df -h | egrep 'stratis|Filesystem'
Filesystem                                 Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/mapper/stratis-1-3e8e[truncated]71dc  1.0T  7.2G 1017G   1% /testdir

Adding cache devices with Stratis

Suppose /dev/vdd is an available SSD (solid state disk). To configure it as a cache device and check its status, use the following commands:

# stratis pool add-cache testpool  /dev/vdd
# stratis blockdev
Pool Name   Device Node Physical Size  State    Tier
testpool    /dev/vdb            5 GiB  In-use   Data
testpool    /dev/vdc            5 GiB  In-use   Data
testpool    /dev/vdd            5 GiB  In-use   Cache

Growing the storage pool

Suppose the testfs filesystem is close to using all the storage capacity of testpool. You could add an additional disk/block device to the pool with commands similar to the following:

# stratis pool add-data testpool /dev/vde
# stratis blockdev
Pool Name  Device Node Physical Size   State    Tier
testpool   /dev/vdb            5 GiB   In-use   Data
testpool   /dev/vdc            5 GiB   In-use   Data
testpool   /dev/vdd            5 GiB   In-use   Cache
testpool   /dev/vde            5 GiB   In-use   Data

After adding the device, verify that the pool shows the added capacity:

# stratis pool
Name      Total Physical Size   Total Physical Used
testpool               15 GiB               606 MiB


Stratis is a tool designed to make managing storage much simpler. Creating a filesystem with enterprise functionalities like thin-provisioning, snapshots, volume management, and caching can be accomplished quickly and easily with just a few basic commands.

See also Getting Started with Stratis Encryption.

FAQs and Guides For System Administrators


  1. Oscar

    Which is the future of Stratis when Btrfs has been choosne as Fedora’s and Systemd-homed’s default filesystem ? Thanks!

  2. GM

    yum has been deprecated for years in favour of dnf

    • Andy

      Since the post seems to be server oriented he is probably including it for CentOS users.

    • The YUM user experience and important compatibility were implemented in DNF to enable a smooth transition. As of RHEL 8 and Fedora 31, you can consider DNF and YUM to be essentially one and the same (built off of the DNF code base). But continue to use the YUM commands if that is what your fingers have memorized!

  3. Is Stratis XFS-only ? Can’t use it with Btrfs or ext4, for example ? Thanks.

  4. Dennis Keefe

    Thank you for spending your time writing this article for Fedora Magazine. I’m sure it will help users who are interested in using Stratis!

  5. Anon

    Whoever created the thumbnail image for this… pick a position for the sun, that’s not how light and shadow works. 😀

    • The image was my doing (the editor), not the author’s. I have zero art skills, but I’ll try to pay at least a little attention to the direction of the light coming from the moon next time. 😄

  6. François Fontaine

    Since ‘states’ is only XFS, how does it handle disk removal and space resizing ?

    • Dennis Keefe

      Stratis allows increasing a pool’s size. File systems in a pool will share the available blocks of the pool. Once a physical or logical device has been added to a Stratis pool it will be a member until the pool is destroyed. Removing a device for maintenance or for another purpose would be done at a lower layer, such as, RAID layer.

  7. SD

    For anyone coming to this and asking about raid (because I know stratis basically is just layering lvm, mdadm, thinpools) they have a

    stratis pool create $poolname --redundancy $desired-redundancy

    command BUT, even on fedora 33 server with the latest stratis your only option is .

    Not sure why they haven’t been able to incorporate that just yet as you can easily do an

    lvcreate -L 100G -m 1 -n logvol1 my-vg

    to get you a mirrored logical volume. I assume it has something to do with the thinpools but do not know for sure.

  8. Steven

    Hi all.
    Can a Stratis storage pool be reduced (eg: remove a block device) or reduce filesystem size?
    AFAIK, XFS does not support filesystem reduction, so i guess Stratis does not currently support such operations. Is this correct?
    Thanks & Bye

  9. Dennis Keefe

    Correct, see my response to François Fontaine. I would like to hear your thoughts regarding which use cases shrinking a Stratis file system might be interesting.
    Thank you,

    • steven

      Sorry i missed your previous response.
      Anyways thanks for your reply!

  10. GnuDNA

    Real world use case scenario of shrinking disk space, When users over provision disk for a VM or even laptop and need recover it, could be one example.

  11. Jeffersonien

    Could you use dnf, and validate it works normally?
    Yum has been deprecated almost 2 years ago…

    • If you use yum in the latest version of fedora it will use dnf as it is in the background both are sym linked to each other since a long time now, this step was taken so that people who are using yum since a long time wont have a difficulty managing the packages but both are sym linked and will use dnf as it is. DNF basically stands for Dandified YUM.

  12. Jeffersonian

    thanks for writing this informative article about Startis.
    However, no disrespect intended, I am wondering if a complete rewriting of the article, for clarity, and explanation would not also be useful.

    For example, in the now multitude of existing Linux/Unix file systems how does this improves the situation compared to the most popular and best latest (BRTFS, XFS, ZFS), how exactly ?

    If any, other than testing for RedHat/IBM what would be a compelling argument to use Stratis over the one(s) we currently use?

    Can Stratis do compression, now a nice and now reliable feature of BTRFS, especially with SSD’s

  13. I am eagerly waiting for Stratis on root support, which is still being worked on ! Once it makes into anaconda I will love to switch to stratis, XFS has better performance for large files than btrfs or ZFS what it lacks tho is features like native snapshots and easy disk management. With stratis it will give me the perfect experience thanks again RedHat and the community !

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