Google To Switch To EXT4, Hires Ted To Code
Written by Michael Larabel in Google on 14 January 2010 at 10:29 AM EST. 26 Comments
Google is in the process of migrating their EXT2 file-systems over to the modern EXT4 file-system. This was brought up in a JFS benchmarking discussion. Google's Michael Rubin shared that they chose EXT4 after benchmarking it as well as XFS and JFS (possibly with our Phoronix Test Suite carrying out some of the testing, which they have used in other areas). Their results showed EXT4 and XFS performing close to one another, but with it being easier to upgrade from EXT2 to EXT4 rather than EXT2 to XFS, they went with the easier path. Btrfs is still too experimental for Google to even consider that an option at this point.

For more than a year we have been publishing EXT4 benchmarks and on several other occassions. The EXT4 file-system started out with great performance numbers, but over the course of several kernel release cycles its performance has dramatically degraded. With the Linux 2.6.32 kernel, EXT4 lost much ground while Btrfs gained and before that a single commit severely dampened the FS performance. Through our kernel test farm and Phoromatic Tracker that provides daily kernel benchmarks at, the performance of EXT4 is looking to be even worse with the forthcoming Linux 2.6.33 kernel.

Google also happened to just hire Ted Ts'o, the widely known Linux kernel developer who is largely responsible for the EXT4 file-system work. According to a blog comment, one of the first things he will be working on while enjoying the Googleplex is EXT4. Hopefully he will be able to drive some better performance back into this file-system that's now used by default in most desktop Linux distributions.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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