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A Quick Look At EXT4 vs. ZFS Performance On Ubuntu 19.10 With An NVMe SSD

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  • A Quick Look At EXT4 vs. ZFS Performance On Ubuntu 19.10 With An NVMe SSD

    Phoronix: A Quick Look At EXT4 vs. ZFS Performance On Ubuntu 19.10 With An NVMe SSD

    For those thinking of playing with Ubuntu 19.10's new experimental ZFS desktop install option in opting for using ZFS On Linux in place of EXT4 as the root file-system, here are some quick benchmarks looking at the out-of-the-box performance of ZFS/ZoL vs. EXT4 on Ubuntu 19.10 using a common NVMe solid-state drive.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=28376

  • #2
    There is also a huge difference in filesystem features with ZFS compared to the more basic EXT4. For example checksum verification, snapshots and easy to deal with backups (send/receive snapshots). Also automatic protection against bitrot with ZFS mirrored devices.

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    • #3
      XFS always worked well for me... plain, simple and fast... ZFS looks cool but with a very big performance penalty for now...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by smartalgorithm View Post
        XFS always worked well for me... plain, simple and fast... ZFS looks cool but with a very big performance penalty for now...
        The benefits of ZFS are not in raw single disk performance. It's good enough for most people, but just by its nature of features and how it works will never be as fast as a traditional single disk filesystem. ZFS can take 100 disks and present them to you all as one volume, snapshot it, and keep it healthy. EXT4, by itself, can't do that.

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        • #5
          Just me, but IMHO, for ZFS, you really need the muitiple disk aspect of it. Otherwise, you can do most everything else with LVM. ZFS can be looked at as volume manager, but it was meant to be that plus a replacement for HW raid. Again, IMHO.

          So... better, might be a comparison between ext4 over some sort of SW RAID (md?) and ZFS various RAID setups. That could be across NVMe, just realize, that ZFS might be more interesting with more than just a couple or few drives (which might be difficult M.2 wise today). Btw, those tests need to include falure scenarios, time to "rebuild" (where applicable), ease of notification (on failure), ease of replace (e.g. hot swappability).

          And of course, still really talking about spinny disk really for ZFS. As I said, I'd probably go ext4 and LVM for low count NVMe.

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          • #6
            Can we get some regular SSD and Spinning Disk as well. I'm mostly curious if an SSD performs any better.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by smartalgorithm View Post
              XFS always worked well for me... plain, simple and fast...
              On SSD's too? 'Cause I'm still using ext4, but I consider switching to XFS on my next reinstall (unless there are conversion tools to do it right now?) if it's also fit for SSD's.

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              • #8
                would be nice to see an updated comparison of zfs against btrfs!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by cjcox View Post
                  Just me, but IMHO, for ZFS, you really need the muitiple disk aspect of it. Otherwise, you can do most everything else with LVM. ZFS can be looked at as volume manager, but it was meant to be that plus a replacement for HW raid. Again, IMHO.

                  So... better, might be a comparison between ext4 over some sort of SW RAID (md?) and ZFS various RAID setups. That could be across NVMe, just realize, that ZFS might be more interesting with more than just a couple or few drives (which might be difficult M.2 wise today). Btw, those tests need to include falure scenarios, time to "rebuild" (where applicable), ease of notification (on failure), ease of replace (e.g. hot swappability).

                  And of course, still really talking about spinny disk really for ZFS. As I said, I'd probably go ext4 and LVM for low count NVMe.
                  Mostly agree. Though EXT4, LVM and MD RAID does not protect or detect bit rot. So if your data is valuable... Btrfs or ZFS is the way to go. Backups do not help against bit rot since you usually don't detect them before the rot is copied into the backups.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Vistaus View Post

                    On SSD's too? 'Cause I'm still using ext4, but I consider switching to XFS on my next reinstall (unless there are conversion tools to do it right now?) if it's also fit for SSD's.
                    I have used it on SSDs and while the performance for my particular desktop use is comparable - I didn't notice any real difference between XFS and ext4 - there were and faik still some gotchas for using it. One is traditionally Ubuntu's grub doesn't support booting from XFS. I don't know if that's changed recently. The other is that for some strange reason some of my GOG games, and I don't remember which ones, would inexplicably crash when I was using XFS for the drive they were installed on. No effin clue why, but changing it to ext4 and all was fine.

                    Keeping in mind those couple of caveats, I don't see a reason not to use XFS over ext4 for a desktop. Use cases and performance vary, however.

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