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Ted Ts'o: EXT4 Within Striking Distance Of XFS

Linux Kernel

Published on 01 November 2010 11:42 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
66 Comments

There's just two months to go until the annual Linux.Conf.Au conference, which in 2011 is taking place in Brisbane, Australia. Ted Ts'o, the maintainer of the EXT4, will be speaking at the 2011 Linux.Conf.Au and he's just shared his "money shot" from his presentation about this evolutionary file-system building atop EXT2/EXT3. New benchmarking results from HP's Eric Whitney on a large multi-core system indicate that "[EXT4 is] now within striking distance of XFS."

This round of EXT4 file-system testing against XFS was not like any of our many file-system benchmarks from a desktop or netbook / notebook perspective, but was done with a 48-core AMD system with a 24 SAS-disk hardware RAID array providing a seven Terabyte volume and 256GB of system memory. While the HP Linux file-system test results still show the XFS file-system as leading, when using EXT4 with no journaling and the out-of-tree "use the bio layer directly" patches, the results for this evolutionary file-system are quite close. The XFS file-system generally has performed well on hardware like this where the EXT file-systems have not scaled quite as well, but with EXT4 things are changing.

There's also results from the EXT3 file-system, which trail EXT4 in all tested combinations (vanilla EXT4, EXT4 patched, EXT4 no-journal, and then the EXT4 no-journal patched that did the best). File-system benchmark results were shown for large file creates, random writes, and running a mail server with each test being done under 1, 48, and 192 threads. No results for Btrfs or any other file-system were included on this very powerful system. These tests were also done against the Linux 2.6.36-rc6 kernel.

From reading Ted's blog post, "We're now within striking distance of XFS, and there’s more improvements to ext4 which I have planned that should help its performance even further. This is the kind of performance improvement that I’m totally psyched to see!"

Our most recent desktop testing of the EXT4 file-system (along with Btrfs) indicate performance regressions in the Linux 2.6.36 kernel, while previous to that we also compared these two latest Linux file-systems to the ZFS-FUSE file-system, and when using these file-systems on a solid-state drive. Benchmarks of both EXT4 and Btrfs atop the latest Linux 2.6.37 kernel development code will be available in the coming weeks.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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