EXT3 vs EXT4 vs XFS vs BTRFS filesystem comparison on Fedora 18

Written by Gionatan Danti on . Posted in Linux & Unix

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Conclusions

I must say that all the benchmarked filesystem shows very high performance throughout most of the test session. This is a very important achievement especially for BTRFS, which is a relatively young filesystem.

However, some obvious recommendations emerge from the observed patters:

  • if you plan to use MySQL or PostgreSQL, use EXT4 as you can not go wrong with it. However, stay away from BTRFS;
  • for large file installation (as VM hosting system) or direct I/O, go with XFS.

BTRFS shows some big improvement that are remarkable. However, I will not use it for critical data as it and its fsck are relatively young.

Feel free to discuss this article with me writing at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or using the comment system.

Have a nice day!

Comments   

 
#1 Jan 2013-06-27 15:42
Thanks for the test. It seems, as if btrfs is a bit Janus-faced: sometimes very fast, sometimes very slow.

It would be very interesting for future tests, how ZFS on Linux performs. Especially, after it has become "productive" some weeks ago.
 
 
#2 Gionatan Danti 2013-06-27 16:12
Hi Jan,
this is surely a good idea ;)

I will investigate this possibility for the next review.

Regards.
 
 
#3 Altr 2013-12-21 10:49
Thank you for the benchmarks!
 
 
#4 Iván Baldo 2014-04-14 03:12
For databases or virtual machine images, you should disable the copy-on-write semantics of BTRFS.
You don't need to set the entire filesystem to be non COW, only the directory and files that need it (chattr -C flag).
 
 
#5 Gionatan Danti 2014-04-14 09:39
Quoting Iván Baldo:
For databases or virtual machine images, you should disable the copy-on-write semantics of BTRFS.
You don't need to set the entire filesystem to be non COW, only the directory and files that need it (chattr -C flag).


Hi Ivan,
you are right. Anyway, I benchmarked BTRFS even with disabled CoW and found that, for virtual machines at least, it performs noticeably worse than a traditional filesystem as EXT4.

You can read more here:
http://www.ilsistemista.net/index.php/linux-a-unix/36-btrfs-mount-options-and-virtual-machines-an-in-depth-look.html

The only catch is that both tests are somewhat old now, being performed on Fedora 17 and 18. I should really see if with newer kernels BTRFS performances are better now.

But I have so little time ;)
 
 
#6 Dan 2015-10-09 06:37
It's two years later, but this post still comes up tops on a search and the conclusions is outdated. Critical data requires historical snapshots AND backups (preferably backups of the historical snapshots). Big critical data requires applications that are well written to do atomic transactions leaving the disk always consistent (assuming the fs supports it) and then requires atomic backups leaving the backups consistent. This simply is NOT achievable (ie impossible) with ext3 or ext4. Adding some small extra stability risks to the many risks that already exist is a small price to pay for proper protection from those risks. NTFS has had shadowcopies for ages by the way. Actually building a backup scheme to leverage these tools in a smart way isn't so simple, but it's worth doing.
 

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