Oracle Solaris ZFS Administration Guide

Understanding the zoned Property

When a dataset is delegated to a non-global zone, the dataset must be specially marked so that certain properties are not interpreted within the context of the global zone. After a dataset has been delegated to a non-global zone and is under the control of a zone administrator, its contents can no longer be trusted. As with any file system, there might be setuid binaries, symbolic links, or otherwise questionable contents that might adversely affect the security of the global zone. In addition, the mountpoint property cannot be interpreted in the context of the global zone. Otherwise, the zone administrator could affect the global zone's namespace. To address the latter, ZFS uses the zoned property to indicate that a dataset has been delegated to a non-global zone at one point in time.

The zoned property is a boolean value that is automatically turned on when a zone containing a ZFS dataset is first booted. A zone administrator does not need to manually turn on this property. If the zoned property is set, the dataset cannot be mounted or shared in the global zone. In the following example, tank/zone/zion has been delegated to a zone, while tank/zone/global has not:

# zfs list -o name,zoned,mountpoint -r tank/zone
NAME                  ZONED  MOUNTPOINT
tank/zone/global        off  /tank/zone/global
tank/zone/zion           on  /tank/zone/zion
# zfs mount
tank/zone/global           /tank/zone/global
tank/zone/zion             /export/zone/zion/root/tank/zone/zion

Note the difference between the mountpoint property and the directory where the tank/zone/zion dataset is currently mounted. The mountpoint property reflects the property as it is stored on disk, not where the dataset is currently mounted on the system.

When a dataset is removed from a zone or a zone is destroyed, the zoned property is not automatically cleared. This behavior is due to the inherent security risks associated with these tasks. Because an untrusted user has had complete access to the dataset and its descendents, the mountpoint property might be set to bad values, or setuid binaries might exist on the file systems.

To prevent accidental security risks, the zoned property must be manually cleared by the global zone administrator if you want to reuse the dataset in any way. Before setting the zoned property to off, ensure that the mountpoint property for the dataset and all its descendents are set to reasonable values and that no setuid binaries exist, or turn off the setuid property.

After you have verified that no security vulnerabilities are left, the zoned property can be turned off by using the zfs set or zfs inherit command. If the zoned property is turned off while a dataset is in use within a zone, the system might behave in unpredictable ways. Only change the property if you are sure the dataset is no longer in use by a non-global zone.