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Testing Out Btrfs In Ubuntu 10.10

Michael Larabel

Published on 23 June 2010
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 3 - 26 Comments

Yesterday we reported that Ubuntu 10.10 gained Btrfs installation support and since then we have been trying out this Btrfs support in Ubuntu "Maverick Meerkat" and have a fresh set of Btrfs benchmarks to serve up.

While it's been reported that Btrfs may be the default file-system in Ubuntu 10.10, so far this is not the case and chances are it will not be until Ubuntu 11.04 (or even Ubuntu 11.10) that it will replace EXT4 as the default file-system. The Btrfs file-system has been supported within Ubuntu for as long as it's been in the mainline Linux kernel, but with Ubuntu 10.10 there is finally support within Ubuntu's installer for setting up the root file-system as Btrfs (right now though you need a separate, non-Btrfs /boot file-system). Fedora was the first major Linux distribution offering this functionality but since then MeeGo has pulled in the support and has even used this Oracle-sponsored file-system as their default. Btrfs has also being utilized by openSUSE.

As of right now the Btrfs file-system support is not found within Ubuntu's Ubiquity installer found on the LiveCD, but you must be using Ubuntu's alternate CD with the Debian text installer to find the Btrfs file-system support when manually partitioning the disk. Hopefully within the Ubuntu Maverick development cycle we will still find manual Btrfs installation support via Ubiquity.

We had no problems using a daily CD of Ubuntu 10.10 from 2010-06-22 for installing to Btrfs. EXT3 was used as the /boot file-system. With everything working correctly, this opportunity was taken advantage of to deliver some more Btrfs benchmarks. We have benchmarked Btrfs many times now going back to early 2009 and then when investigating its SSD mode, a comparison to EXT4 and Reiser4, and even earlier this month we delivered new Btrfs benchmarks what differentiates today's file-system tests from those run in the past is using a much older system for these tests. A vintage (by our standards) Lenovo ThinkPad R52 notebook was used with an Intel Pentium M 1.86GHz processor, an Intel 915 + ICH6M motherboard, 2GB of system memory, an 80GB Hitachi HTS541080G9AT00 IDE 5400RPM hard drive, and ATI Mobility Radeon X300 graphics. This notebook is very different from the systems used in our usual Btrfs testing where SATA hard drives or SSDs are used along with multi-core processors.

The Ubuntu 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat" daily snapshot used for this testing had the Linux 2.6.35-4-generic i686 kernel, GNOME 2.30.0, X.Org Server 1.8.2 RC1, xf86-video-radeon 6.13.0, GCC 4.4.4, and we ran tests both using Btrfs and EXT4. We also tested out Btrfs again when using the compress mount option that enables zlib compression of the file-system.

Via the Phoronix Test Suite we ran IOzone, Dbench, FS-Mark, and PostMark as a simple set of Linux disk benchmarks.

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