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 kernel untar and cat times

It's time for some more pedestrian tests now. For example, what is the fastest filesystem when untarring the vanilla Linux 3.0.0 kernel?

BTRFS EXT3 EXT4 XFS: Linux kernel untar

Btrfs is the leader here, with ext4 and xfs slightly behind, while ext3 is on the tail What about a pure read test, as catting all the just-extracted files?

BTRFS EXT3 EXT4 XFS: Linux kernel cat time

In this pure read test btrfs score the better result, shortly followed by xfs. The two ext-based filesystems are noticeably slower.

So, these two very simple, yet very common tasks seem to corroborate the fact that xfs is a very high performing filesystem when dealing with a mostly read-bound task, while its write performance, while good, is not on par with the others. A good surprise come from btrfs: when dealing with common desktop operations, it is very fast on both read and write operations.


#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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