ZFS on a Rock Pi 5A with the SATA Penta Hat

I’ve just recently acquired all of the pieces (disks, cables, adapters, hot swap bays, chassis, SBC, Penta SATA Hat) for putting together what will be my 5th ZFS NAS based on Rock Pi computers. This will be my first using the Rock Pi 5A and the new hat; the prior versions were all based on Rock Pi 4 SBCs. With the Rock Pi 4 installation is easy, simply “apt install zfs-dkms zfsutils-linux”.

First things first, before assembling the hat I wanted to make sure that the zfs modules will build. As already reported in the radxa/kernel GitHub issues list, because of kernel module namespace issues the DKMS build fails. I can report that the suggested fixes there DO work (i.e., a successful build and install of the modules) with the Armbian Rock 5A “Bookworm” distribution, but not with the Radxa “Bullseye” distribution. The former uses zfs 2.2.3, the latter 2.0.3, although I do not know if this is related to the particular zfs source tree.

I’ll put together all of the hardware tonight and will be able to test whether the zfs build indeed works.

These are 2 different os with different kernel plus both repo have different zfs version.

From my experience I have zfs running on 6.7 kernel using rock5b but I am using Manjaro Linux minimal os which have custom kernel which I maintain myself.

I think you should go with armbian as there you will have better packages support and updates.


My prior 4 are all Armbian distributions of different vintages. On the very first I built ZFS from the source tree from ZoL, since Armbian was not yet packaging it. I had to hack the licensing trap door IIRC.

I go back a ways with ZFS, to shortly after the Lawrence Livermore National Lab port of the OpenSolaris CDDL version to provide an alternative backing filesystem for Lustre. That port became ZFS on Linux. ZFS was a huge improvement on our Lustre filesystem (over a petabyte across about a dozen object storage servers).

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Go with the latest kernel version. So you maybe get updates for the kernel without having to reinstall the pkg.

Or if you can work with arch based ditro then soon I will have Manjaro Arm image for rk3588 boards there you can install zfs from aur.

For my nas work zfs on rock5b i had to patch zfs for the license change since 6.7 kernel.

ZFS should work fine with Armbian Jammy / Bookworm. We provide version 2.2.3 for all variants, 2.2.(4) was released few days ago, but its not yet in repository, coming soon. That will be compatible with Armbian EDGE mainline based kernel 6.8+, which would IMO be best for this use case.

I am running 2.2.3 on one of production machine https://paste.armbian.com/egipoqidug.md