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File space management strategies can be set were introduced via H5P_SET_FILE_SPACE_STRATEGY to manage the unused space in a file and to set a minimum free space threshold.

While a file is open, HDF5 tracks and re-uses the unused space in the file according to the strategy used. If using a strategy that uses the free space manager, then free space can be tracked across file opens by use of the "persist" flag . Otherwise, and a minimum free space threshold can be specified. If not specifying a strategy that uses the free space manager, then when the file is closed, the any free space is lost and will remain in the file.

HDF5-1.8

File space management only occurs between the HDF5 file open and close, and the free space is NOT tracked beyond file closed. In other words, when you delete a dataset, the space used by the dataset becomes free space that can be re-used as long as the file is open. Once the file is closed, the free space is lost and will remain in the file.

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