Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 3rd Dec 2008 20:42 UTC, submitted by Michael
Benchmarks The choice of filesystems on Linux is vast, but most people will stick with their respective distributions' default choices, which will most likely be ext3, but you're free to use ReiserFS, XFS, or something else completely if you so desire. Things are about to change though, with btrfs just around the corner. To bridge the gap between now and btfrs, ext3 has been updated to ext4, which adds some interesting features like extents, which are already in use in most other popular file systems. Phoronix decided it was time to do some performance checking on ext4.
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Exactly my the same beef I have with them. Many options can be set for various diferent filesystems each of these effecting thier performance.
Using the defaults for these benchmarks is reasonable and beneficial. One significant problem I've noticed with FOSS is a tendency to ship with really sucky defaults. Setting proper defaults is not given a high priority because FOSS users are assumed to be smart enough to modify them. (Hi PostgreSQL! Glad you're doing better now!) If XFS ships with poor default settings the devs deserve to be beaten over the head with benchmark losses until they notice the problem. This actually *benefits* users rather than just giving them the warm fuzzies with a reassuring published benchmark result. Most people trust the defaults. And if data integrity is important, with good reason. The default config is the most thoroughly tested configuration. I recall a case a few years ago where actual data corruption could occur on ext3 filesystems. However, as it turned out, the bug only affected people who mounted their filesystems with "data=journal". This turns on full data journaling, at significant expense to performance, and is thus only used by people who consider data integrity to be of paramount importance. Oops.

So, obviously, both the devs and the users must weigh the pros and cons of settings which potentially affect stability, even in nonobvious ways. Ext3/4 writes can likely be sped up with data=writeback. But I don't actually run machines that way, since they would then only provide the same data integrity guarantees as XFS does... and because I'm a big believer in using defaults unless there is a clear need to vary from them. Mess with them and you essentially become your own beta tester.

Edited 2008-12-04 16:41 UTC

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