BTRFS vs EXT3 vs EXT4 vs XFS performance on Fedora 17

Written by Gionatan Danti on . Posted in Linux & Unix

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Linux filesystems are a moving target: each new kernel release can potentially alter their performance and reliability. So, its interesting to periodically measure filesystems performance. This time, I used the newly-released Fedora 17 (amd64 version, 3.4.x kernel branch). We already know the contenders:

  • ext3, the classic Linux filesystem 
  • ext4, the natural ext3 successor as default Linux filesystem 
  • xfs, an high performance filesystem designed with scalability in mind 
  • btrfs, the new, actively developed, feature-rich filesystem (which, recently, has been propesed as the new Linux default filesystem)

Note that this article has a focus on performance. For an in-depth, feature-based comparison, you can see the relative Wikipedia page [1].

Remember that different usage patterns can favor different filesystems, so I don't pretend to elect the best, stronger filesystem on earth. I simply want to give you some numbers collected in a quite various usage pattern, so that I can help you in the choice of the right filesystem for some common jobs.


#1 Roger 2012-06-20 00:40
Could you share with us the mount options used to mount the file systems for these benchmarks?
#2 Gionatan Danti 2012-06-20 08:00
Hi Roger,
apart the write barriers option (which was manually enabled on all filesystems, ext3 included) I left the default mount options at their default settings.

To tell the truth, Fedora enable barriers by default on ext3 also; however, this is a Fedora-specific change that not all distributions followed (apart SuSe, I think).

The rationale behind this decision to not mess with mount options is that, as default settings are the most used settings, they _must_ be adequate; the failure to set them to reasonable default will affect many users.

On the other hand, write barriers should really be enabled to do an apple-to-apple comparison, so it is the only option I wish to manually enable.

#3 Oliver 2012-07-15 14:57
From official fedora documentation, Fedora 17 features the 3.3.4 Linux kernel [1].

However, I read on the first page of this article [2] the use of Fedora 17 3.4.x kernel branch.

I may be wrong (I do not use Fedora) but please explain where have you find this Linux kernel version within Fedora 17.

PS: I like article of this high quality, thanks ;)


#4 Gionatan Danti 2012-07-15 16:39
Hi Oliver,
you are right: F17 base image ships with kernel version 3.3.x.

However, a yum update resulted in kernel 3.4.x being installed, so I tested with this updated kernel release.

See here also:

#5 Oliver 2012-07-15 22:44

OK I see "F16 and F17 will be rebased around the time 3.4.1 is released" on the bottom of the page.

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