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XFS: the filesystem of the future?

XFS: the filesystem of the future?

Posted Jan 22, 2012 20:45 UTC (Sun) by kleptog (subscriber, #1183)
In reply to: XFS: the filesystem of the future? by DiegoCG
Parent article: XFS: the filesystem of the future?

One problem is the Copy On Write nature of the filesystem. While for many usages this is not a problem, possibly even good, it's makes it completely unsuitable to run a database on.

Databases care about reliability and speed. One thing they do is preallocate space for journals to ensure they exist after a crash. Data is updated in place. On a COW filesystem these otherwise efficient methods turn your nice sequentially allocated tables into enormously fragmented files. Ofcourse, SSD will make fragmentation moot, but the $/GB for spinning disks is still a lot lower.

I guess this is because databases and filesystems are trying to solve some of the same problems. A few years ago I actually expected filesystems to export transaction-like features to userspace programs (apparently NTFS does, but that's no good on Linux), but I see no movement on that front.

For example, the whole issue of whether to flush files on rename becomes moot if the program can simply make clear that this is supposed to be an atomic update of the file. This would give the filesystem the necessary information to know that it can defer the writes to the new file, just as long as the rename comes after. Right now there's no way to indicate that.

If you have transactions you don't need to rename at all, just start a transaction, rewrite the file and commit. Much simpler.

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