Data corruption occurs when one or more device errors (indicating one or more missing or damaged devices) affects a top-level virtual device. For example, one half of a mirror can experience thousands of device errors without ever causing data corruption. If an error is encountered on the other side of the mirror in the exact same location, corrupted data is the result.
Data corruption is always permanent and requires special consideration during repair. Even if the underlying devices are repaired or replaced, the original data is lost forever. Most often, this scenario requires restoring data from backups. Data errors are recorded as they are encountered, and they can be controlled through routine pool scrubbing as explained in the following section. When a corrupted block is removed, the next scrubbing pass recognizes that the corruption is no longer present and removes any trace of the error from the system.