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File Systems

Posted on 2004-08-09
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Last Modified: 2013-11-15
Dear Experts,

I'm a bit of a newbie to Linux, setting up a Samba server for serving files to my Windows XP workstations.

At the moment thought I'm at a bit of a loss as to which filesystem to use for my Suse 9.1 Installation.

I believe my best options would be Ext3, ReiserFS and XFS. As far as I'm Aware XFS delivers best support for ACL's in Windows 2000/XP systems.

What are the differences between these file systems, which are the most stable/dependable, which provide the best throughput, and what would your recommendation be?
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Question by:FVDW
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pYrania earned 300 total points
ID: 11750924
reiserfs is kinda buggy. It's the fastest of all three filesystems, but when it comes to an unexpected power outage you'll experience data loss.
ext3 is just ext2 with journalising capacities - stable like a rock, but missing some features reiserfs and xfs don't have, namely:

Free blocks management
Extents for free space
Btrees for directory entries
Btrees for file's blocks addressing
Extents for file's blocks addressing
Data within inode (small files)
Symbolic links data within the i-node
Directory entries within i-node (small directories)

So from that, XFS looks like the winner, but is outperformed by both others.

Personally I stick with reiserfs for all computers that are connected to an UPS, my notebook does have ext3 - had some very bad experiences with reiserfs and empty batteries.
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by:pjedmond
ID: 11754457
As a newbie to Linux, I recommend that you stick with ext3. It is the most mature of the filing systems, and whilst it may not be the highest performing, the tools for manipulating/using/repairing it are solid and dependable. If somthing goes wrong then it will give you the best chance of a complete fix. As a 'newbie' you do not want additional complications that will waste you time, and possibly result in your losing data due to limited understanding of a problem, and its causes and effects.

pYrania details some of the features that you'll miss out on, but I'm sure that you'll survive without them - I do:)
and therefore my vote for newcomers to linux will always be use ext3.

Hope that helps you decide:)
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by:pjedmond
pjedmond earned 200 total points
ID: 11754505
As a sideline a samba server serving up files will reach the bandwidth limitations on the ethernet if it's a 10/100 MB link on any of the above filing systems with a reasonable speed hard drive and a 500MHz P3 processor without any difficulty. Your filing system will not be the bottlenect/limitation - the ethernet will:)..Therefore stick with good old 'rock solid' ext3!
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by:FVDW
ID: 11756609
Thank you pYrania and pjedmon,

I appreciated your insights and recommendations into this matter. Both your arguments make sense, and think I'll stick to EXT3 as I don't want to spend all my time administring my server instead of developing websites.

Regards,

FVDW
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Expert Comment

by:mikes55555
ID: 11759289
I would highly recommend that you stick with ext3 since it is well supported and being used by LOTS of people already (I wouldn't be surprised that 99% of the installs are on ext3), so its stability is well known. The last thing you need is to lose some critical data from your storage. I think the gain on trying with a more complexed file system is so incremental that it's hard to justify.

I've been using ext3 for 3 years now without any trouble. The extra ACL features that you may get probably you'd never use.

Regards,

MS
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Author Comment

by:FVDW
ID: 11761268
Thanks Mikes,

I noticed that ACL can be turned on or off when creating the partitions in SUSE when setting up the system. As such it would seem that one can use ACL's with EXT3 as well.

I tried an installation with a mixture of ReiserFS and XFS. Towards the end of the installation the installer just hung, after which I restarded the PC. Needless to say, there was a fair amount of corruption, some of which could not be repaired. After this ordeal I decided to heed your advice, and just stick to EXT3 for the time being as it offers the most comprehensive journalling system it would seem.

As pjedmond noted, one won't really notice the slightly slower performance on this filesystem, as the networking connection is the biggest bottleneck. I'm merely running a Samba and Apache server, not some super-dooper Video streaming server or something of the sort.

Thanks guys.
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