Booting from an Oracle Solaris ZFS root file system works differently than booting from a UFS file system. Because ZFS applies several new concepts for installation and booting, some basic administrative practices for booting a system have changed. The most significant difference between booting from a ZFS root file system and booting from a UFS root file system is that with ZFS a device identifier does not uniquely identify a root file system, and thus a BE. With ZFS, a device identifier uniquely identifies a storage pool. A storage pool can contain multiple bootable datasets (root file systems). Therefore, in addition to specifying a boot device, a root file system within the pool that is identified by the boot device must also be specified.
On an x86 based system, if the boot device identified by GRUB contains a ZFS storage pool, the menu.lst file that is used to create the GRUB menu is located in the dataset at the root of that pool's dataset hierarchy. This dataset has the same name as the pool. There is one such dataset in each pool.
A default bootable dataset is the bootable dataset for the pool that is mounted at boot time and is defined by the root pool's bootfs property. When a device in a root pool is booted, the dataset that is specified by this property is then mounted as the root file system.
The new bootfs pool property is a mechanism that is used by the system to specify the default bootable dataset for a given pool. When a device in a root pool is booted, the dataset that is mounted by default as the root file system is the one that is identified by the bootfs pool property.
On a SPARC based system, the default bootfs pool property is overridden by using the new -Z dataset option of the boot command.
On an x86 based system, the default bootfs pool property is overridden by selecting an alternate boot environment in the GRUB menu at boot time.