EXT4 Scores A Nice Direct I/O Performance Improvement With Linux 6.3

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Storage on 28 February 2023 at 06:38 AM EST. 10 Comments
With the EXT4 file-system being quite mature at this stage, with many kernel cycles these days this widely-used file-system just sees bug fixes and other minor work. But for the newly-opened Linux 6.3 cycle, EXT4 is seeing a nice performance boost under certain conditions with direct I/O.

EXT4 with Linux 6.3 now allows for multiple processes to perform direct I/O writes to pre-allocated blocks via a shared inode lock rather than requiring an exclusive lock. Allowing multiple processes to overwrite pre-allocated blocks using a shared inode lock rather than an exclusive inode lock has significant performance ramifications.

Zhang Yi of Huawei who worked on this EXT4 change ran some multi-threaded write tests with FIO on an Intel Xeon Gold server with NVMe SSD storage. The speed-ups there from his testing is mighty impressive for the EXT4 DIO boost:

EXT4 faster direct I/O with Linux 6.3

Aside from this performance optimization for multi-threaded Direct I/O, the other work in Linux 6.3 around EXT4 is just bug fixes and clean-ups.

More details via the EXT4 pull request.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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