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+dm-zero
+=======
+
+Device-Mapper's "zero" target provides a block-device that always returns
+zero'd data on reads and silently drops writes. This is similar behavior to
+/dev/zero, but as a block-device instead of a character-device.
+
+Dm-zero has no target-specific parameters.
+
+One very interesting use of dm-zero is for creating "sparse" devices in
+conjunction with dm-snapshot. A sparse device reports a device-size larger
+than the amount of actual storage space available for that device. A user can
+write data anywhere within the sparse device and read it back like a normal
+device. Reads to previously unwritten areas will return a zero'd buffer. When
+enough data has been written to fill up the actual storage space, the sparse
+device is deactivated. This can be very useful for testing device and
+filesystem limitations.
+
+To create a sparse device, start by creating a dm-zero device that's the
+desired size of the sparse device. For this example, we'll assume a 10TB
+sparse device.
+
+TEN_TERABYTES=`expr 10 \* 1024 \* 1024 \* 1024 \* 2` # 10 TB in sectors
+echo "0 $TEN_TERABYTES zero" | dmsetup create zero1
+
+Then create a snapshot of the zero device, using any available block-device as
+the COW device. The size of the COW device will determine the amount of real
+space available to the sparse device. For this example, we'll assume /dev/sdb1
+is an available 10GB partition.
+
+echo "0 $TEN_TERABYTES snapshot /dev/mapper/zero1 /dev/sdb1 p 128" | \
+ dmsetup create sparse1
+
+This will create a 10TB sparse device called /dev/mapper/sparse1 that has
+10GB of actual storage space available. If more than 10GB of data is written
+to this device, it will start returning I/O errors.
+