I have some spare time these days so I figured I’d finally test as many filesystems on Linux as I could…
The new ext4 is an option with modern kernels so I loaded Ubuntu 9.04 and tried postmark and bonnie++ on the same partition using various filesystems and switching between the CFQ and Deadline schedulers.
Switching schedulers permanently can be achieved by changing the boot options and appending, say, elevator=deadline, but you can also switch them on the fly by running the following:
echo deadline > /sys/block/sda/queue/scheduler
You can check what’s currently selected by simply typing
You’ll get back something like:
noop anticipatory [deadline] cfq
The scheduler in brackets is the currently selected one.
Reader beware: Running postmark on ext4 locked up the system repeatedly during the transaction phase of the benchmark, using either my own compiled version and the one from the repository, so obviously there is some issue there and I cannot at this time recommend ext4 – no other filesystem caused lockups. I did run bonnie++ as well since that didn’t crash with ext4.
The objective of this exercise wasn’t to show which filesystem is fastest, but rather to illustrate that, depending on what you want to do, you may want to re-examine the choice of filesystem and scheduler with your application if you’re running Linux. BTW the current recommendation for Databases and fast intelligent external arrays, and ubuntu’s default in the server edition is the Deadline scheduler, and not CFQ. However, all other distrubutions at the moment use CFQ!
So, without further ado, some benchmarks… (I’m not including the entire postmark output since it would be far too large, I just kept the most important metrics, anyone that wants the entire results is more than welcome to send me an email and I’ll hook you up).
|Filesystem||Read MB/s||Write MB/s||IOPS|
Bonnie++ write speed:
|Filesystem||IOPS||Block writes KB/s||Rewrite KB/s|
The Deadline scheduler seems to be consistently better for anything that’s not ext-based! A lot of work has been done on the Linux kernel to optimize it for the ext2-3-4 filesystems, and that shows. However, depending on what you want to do, ext3 may not be the best option (I don’t know yet about ext4 for postmark-type loads but based on the bonnie++ results it’s solid).
Here’s a list of some considerations:
- Will the filesystem host many many small files or a few large ones? Reiser still rules the â€œmany small filesâ€ use case, by far. The rest are fairly close, and JFS seriously lags. For large files, XFS is great.
- Do you care if the filesystem takes a long time to fsck? Ext3 still takes quite long, whereas something like XFS doesn’t. Ext4 should remedy this.
- Do you care for something that’s still actively being maintained? In this case only ext3-4 and XFS are the options.
- Do you want defrag tools? Choose wisely since few filesystems do (XFS and ext4).
My current overall recommendation is XFS since it’s mature and also very tunable. For reference, here’s how I got the better results for XFS (the results in the graphs for tuned XFS were with the deadline scheduler):
mkfs.xfs -f -d agcount=4 -l lazy-count=1 -l size=64m /dev/sda7
mount -o nobarrier,noatime,nodiratime,logbufs=8 /dev/sda7 /test
Don’t just follow the above blindly, normally mkfs tries to auto-adjust those (i.e. the agcount) but the important ones to look for are the log size and the mount options, especially the nobarrier and logbufs. Remember though that nobarrier is only recommended if you have battery backup.