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Data Storage

Journal sowth's Journal: filesystem comparison

I found this article on It has a comparison of the ext3, reiserFS, JFS, XFS filesystems. There is a less interesing article somewhere else saying basicly the same thing (don't remember link), and MythTV suggests using XFS. I am going to try a XFS partition for a while. I have problems with my cheap crappy DVD drive anyway, so maybe I will try it with a cache for watching my DVDs (most of what I read inidicate it is best for huge files). Still need to install my TV card and MythTV though...I'm sure they will benefit too.

From the summary at the end (I haven't read it all yet):

These results replicate previous observations from Piszcz (2006) about reduced disk capacity of Ext3, longer mount time of ReiserFS and longer FS creation of Ext3. Moreover, like this report, both reviews have observed that JFS is the lowest CPU-usage FS. Finally, this report appeared to be the first to show the high page faults activity of ReiserFS on most usual file operations.

While recognizing the relative merits of each filesystem, only one filesystem can be install for each partition/disk. Based on all testing done for this benchmark essay, XFS appears to be the most appropriate filesystem to install on a file server for home or small-business needs :

I've just been using ext3. Looks like I've been using the wrong filesystem all this time.

UPDATE 20070721:

I've been using XFS for a while now, though only for data storage (audio and video), not the main system. It does seem nice. My only reservation about using it for the main system would be running into a prebuilt kernel which doesn't support it. I usually build my own kernels anyway. I should take the leap. ;-)

UPDATE 20080603:

I have been using XFS for my /home directory. Quite nice. Certainly less of a pain on bootup, since it never needs to be fsck. Even ext3 still insists upon fscking every X mounts or X days. I know this can be adjusted, but XFS seems to do it on the fly. In fact, the XFS check utility will ask you to mount and unmount if the filesystem wasn't unmounted properly to write any pending queued information--crashing happened quite a bit because of buggy Nvidia drivers, so I have lots of experience with it. XFS did quite well. I don't think it lost any information.

I am also trying out xfsdump for backups. Been using tarballs--they were effective, but I would like to have the ablility to do incremental backups too. Finding ways to routinely store multi-gigabyte files is not easy.

I am still worried a bit about compatibility and the availability of the tools, so I may not put it on my root partition for a while. Also I've been trying Debain again (still sort of disappointed), but all the XFS tools weren't in the standard install, and the dump utility wasn't on the disks at all--had to download it. Makes me think I should keep some backups in tar form.

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filesystem comparison

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If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. -- Albert Einstein