The used property is a read-only property that identifies the amount of disk space consumed by this dataset and all its descendents. This value is checked against the dataset's quota and reservation. The disk space used does not include the dataset's reservation, but does consider the reservation of any descendent datasets. The amount of disk space that a dataset consumes from its parent, as well as the amount of disk space that is freed if the dataset is recursively destroyed, is the greater of its space used and its reservation.
When snapshots are created, their disk space is initially shared between the snapshot and the file system, and possibly with previous snapshots. As the file system changes, disk space that was previously shared becomes unique to the snapshot and is counted in the snapshot's space used. The disk space that is used by a snapshot accounts for its unique data. Additionally, deleting snapshots can increase the amount of disk space unique to (and used by) other snapshots. For more information about snapshots and space issues, see Out of Space Behavior.
The amount of disk space used, available, and referenced does not include pending changes. Pending changes are generally accounted for within a few seconds. Committing a change to a disk using the fsync(3c) or O_SYNC function does not necessarily guarantee that the disk space usage information will be updated immediately.
The usedbychildren, usedbydataset, usedbyrefreservation, and usedbysnapshots property information can be displayed with the zfs list -o space command. These properties identify the used property into disk space that is consumed by descendents. For more information, see Table 6–1.