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Improving ext4: bigalloc, inline data, and metadata checksums

Improving ext4: bigalloc, inline data, and metadata checksums

Posted Dec 1, 2011 2:58 UTC (Thu) by tytso (subscriber, #9993)
In reply to: Improving ext4: bigalloc, inline data, and metadata checksums by walex
Parent article: Improving ext4: bigalloc, inline data, and metadata checksums

The main reason JFS wasn't accepted in the community was because all of the developers worked at IBM. Very few people in the other distributions understood it, which meant that there weren't people who could support at the distro's. One of the things that I've always been very happy about is the fact that developers for ext2/3/4 come from many, many different companies.

JFS was a very good file system, and at the time when it was released, it certainly was better than ext3. But there's a lot more to having a successful open source project beyond having the best technology. The fact that ext2 was well understood, and had a mature set of file system utilities, including tools like "debugfs", are one of the things that do make a huge difference towards people accepting the technology.

At this point, though, ext4 has a number of features which JFS lacks, including delayed allocation, fallocate, punch, and TRIM/discard support. These are all features which I'm sure JFS would have developed if it still had a development community, but when IBM decided to defund the project, there were few or no developers who were not IBM'ers, and so the project stalled out.


People who upgrade in place from ext3 to ext4 will see roughly half the performance increase compared to doing a backup, reformat to ext4, and restore operation. But they *do* see a performance increase if they do an upgrade-in-place operation. In fact, even if they don't upgrade the file system image, and use ext4 to mount an ext2 file system image, they will see some performance improvement. So this gives them flexibility, which from a system administrator's point of view, is very, very important!


Finally, I find it interesting that you consider OCFS2 "pretty good" in non-clustered mode. OCFS2 is a fork of the ext3 code base[1] (it even uses fs/jbd and now fs/jbd2) with support added for clustered operation, and with support for extents (which ext4 has as well, of course). It doesn't have delayed allocation. But ext4 will be better than ocfs2 in non-clustered mode, simply because it's been optimized for it. The fact that you seem to think OCFS2 to be "pretty good", while you don't seem to think much about ext4 makes me wondered if you have some pretty strong biases against the ext[234] file system family.

[1] Ocfs2progs is also a fork of e2fsprogs. Which they did with my blessing, BTW. I'm glad to see that the code that has come out of the ext[234] project have been useful in so many places. Heck, parts of the e2fsprogs (the UUID library, which I relicensed to BSD for Apple's benefit) can be found in Mac OS X! :-)

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Improving ext4: bigalloc, inline data, and metadata checksums

Posted Dec 1, 2011 20:25 UTC (Thu) by sniper (guest, #13219) [Link]

Small correction.

ocfs2 is not a fork of ext3 and neither is ocfs2-tools a fork of e2fsprogs. But both have benefited a _lot_ from ext3. In some instances, we copied code (non-indexed dir layout). In some instances, we used a different approach because of collective experience (indexed dir). grep ext3 fs/ocfs2/* for more.

The toolset has a lot more similarities to e2fsprogs. It was modeled after it because it is well designed and to also allow admins to quickly learn it. The tools even use the same parameter names where possible. grep -r e2fsprogs * for more.

BTW, ocfs2 has had bigalloc (aka clusters) since day 1, inline-data since 2.6.24 and metadata checksums since 2.6.29. Yes, it does not have delayed allocations.

Improving ext4: bigalloc, inline data, and metadata checksums

Posted Apr 13, 2012 19:30 UTC (Fri) by fragmede (guest, #50925) [Link]

OCFS2 does have snapshots though, which is why I use it. :)

LVM snapshots are a joke if you have *lots* of snapshots, though I haven't looked at btrfs snapshots since it became production ready.

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