rm huge backup file freezes web server

Hi experts,

I found a problem on an Ubuntu-server (ext3) when deleting huge backup-files (50GB).
While deleting with "rm -r" I  the webserver apache will freeze for 1 minute.
I think it is because if the I/O load.

On a forum I found that using "ionice" would help.
So I could try using following:

ionice -c2 -n7 rm -r /path/to/the/backup_file

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Do you think it is fine to use this?
Do you have an idea how long the deletion process would take? Without ionice it takes abot 4 minutes to delete a file with 50GB.

The goal is deleting the huge file while the server is running and the website should not be influenced.
SystemadministrationAsked:
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Thomas WheelerCommented:
Sounds like your need to figure out whats going on with your disk. What type of setup is this? Is it one drive, a raid or an iscsi mount? Deleting this file should not cause this result. Are there errors in the logs?
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SystemadministrationAuthor Commented:
This seems to be a known problem:
http://serverfault.com/questions/480526/deleting-very-large-file-without-webserver-freezing

My question is only about ionice.
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Phil PhillipsDirector of DevOps & Quality AssuranceCommented:
A better strategy might be to either store the backups on another server, or on another disk array.  That way, if you have to do disk-intensive operations, it won't affect the files that apache is trying to access.

That said, ionice should be fine as a work-around.  Another option would be to try truncating the file (which could be faster than the rm command):

> /path/to/the/backup_file

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If you *really* want to get a feel for how long it will take, I recommend (if possible) testing it out first on a similar (but non-production) instance.
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SystemadministrationAuthor Commented:
Great!
Truncation the 56GB file only took a few seconds. After that tha space was free again and I could delete the truncated file without risk.
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