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Old 12-21-2011, 07:24 PM   #1
undoIT
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Best File System for External Hard Drive


I have a new 2TB USB3 external hard drive that I will be using for backups (large and small files). I need the following:

* Full disk encryption.
* Solid recovery functionality.
* I may want to attach it to my router for NAS in the future (router supports this).
* I don't need it to be Windoze accessible.

I have done some searching for the best file system to use on an external hard drive, but most of the info is old. I'm specifically interested in trying out Btrfs, but I'm not sure if it would be best considering my criteria. Also, I have read a complaint from a user that their Btrfs drive was not unmounted correctly and it hosed the file system.

Any suggestions?
 
Old 12-22-2011, 11:55 AM   #2
Didier Spaier
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I would go for ext4. Btrfs is not mature enough considering your criteria.
 
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:49 PM   #3
jefro
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I agree that right now for most backup tasks the ext4 is better. It is a backup to help in case of disaster not a testing ground.

Use btrfs for the host maybe instead and use it's features to prevent using the backup.
 
Old 12-22-2011, 07:36 PM   #4
rob.rice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by undoIT View Post
* I may want to attach it to my router for NAS in the future (router supports this).
I would suggest something the router can understand what ever that may be
 
Old 12-22-2011, 07:39 PM   #5
undoIT
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Quote:
Use btrfs for the host maybe instead and use it's features to prevent using the backup.
I was hoping Fedora 16 would ship with btrfs as default, but I guess it didn't come to fruition so I installed with EXT4 again.

Quote:
I would suggest something the router can understand what ever that may be
Yeah, I should probably do some testing in that regard before copying a huge amount of data over to the drive.
 
Old 12-24-2011, 07:53 PM   #6
undoIT
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Just to add an update to this issue, my router NETGEAR N750 (WNDR4000) does not recognize the USB attached drive formatted as either EXT4 encrypted, EXT4 unencrypted or NTFS encrypted. The drive needs to be formatted NTFS unencrypted (FAT might work as well, although I didn't test).

So now I need to figure out if there is a way to encrypt the backup folder on the drive, instead of the whole drive itself, and if I can transfer data to the drive using rsync in a way that it is stored encrypted.
 
Old 04-20-2012, 01:05 AM   #7
KEYofR
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WNDR4000 best fs is ext3

WNDR4000 can use ntfs, fat32, fat16, ext3, ext2

ntfs is worst possible speed

fat32 is best speed that allows windows compatibility without adding an ext3 driver to windows

ext3 is best speed and far more robust than fat32

Rerally ext3 is the best choice on any technical grounds. But if you want to plug the drive into random windows machines without habving to install an ext3 driver in windows, then fat32 is the next best choice for speed and large disk size and large file sizes.

http://forum1.netgear.com/showthread.php?t=70462

edit : I formatted the entire raw drive device, no partition table.
# mkfs.ext3 -v -L G-Drive -m 0 -O dir_index,sparse_super /dev/sdd

This is a G-Tech G-Drive that comes ready for Mac out of the box, with a GPT partition table apple filesystem.
Leaving the GPT partition table but deleting all partitions and making one new partition using the full space and formatting that partition ext3 did not work. (it worked fine for linux but the router didn't recognize it.)
Above command wipes out the GPT partition table writes a ext3 filesystem using all available space. It's not an Apple drive any more after that. Probably an MBR table and partition would work, but as noted MBR can't exceed 2T per partition. My drive was only 2T so although I know that the wndr4000 will recognize a drive that has been mkfs.ext3 on the whole-drive device, I don't know that it works for over 2T drives.

Last edited by KEYofR; 04-20-2012 at 04:56 AM. Reason: add partition table and filesystem commands details
 
Old 04-20-2012, 04:38 AM   #8
PeterUK
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Installing New OS, maybe multiples?

sorry wrong post
 
Old 04-20-2012, 10:23 AM   #9
catkin
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In case it helps I've had weird problems when using Hitachi and Transcend USB HDDs which have been worked around by keeping 100 MB free space before and after the single ext3 partition.
 
Old 04-20-2012, 10:32 AM   #10
Mr. Alex
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ext4 with full journaling.
 
Old 04-20-2012, 11:11 AM   #11
Zssfssz
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If there is going to be massive I/O on the drive and it doesn't need to be bootable (I Think There Is Some Nightmareish Configureation With Booting Linux And This Filesystem) The Lustre Filsesystem is open-source, linux-supported, and from what I've read would be great!

Just keep in mind it was made for supercomputers...
 
Old 04-20-2012, 05:44 PM   #12
jefro
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Dunno why NTFS was bashed above. I find it performs quite well. You have to use compression formats that can preserve special linux permissions. Simply writing to ntfs directly may have some issues that you can't recover from.
 
Old 04-20-2012, 06:18 PM   #13
KEYofR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
Dunno why NTFS was bashed above. I find it performs quite well. You have to use compression formats that can preserve special linux permissions. Simply writing to ntfs directly may have some issues that you can't recover from.
The comment was specific to use with Netgear routers, specifically the WNDR4000 which was mentioned, has a terrible ntfs driver. Go to the supplied link to the netgear forums and see the posts from the netgear support themselves. I have one myself, with latest firmware, and can confirm.

--
bkw
 
Old 04-21-2012, 04:59 AM   #14
Mr. Alex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
Dunno why NTFS was bashed above. I find it performs quite well. You have to use compression formats that can preserve special linux permissions. Simply writing to ntfs directly may have some issues that you can't recover from.
Seriously?

What benefits does NTFS have for GNU/Linux over nix file systems?
 
Old 10-27-2012, 07:13 PM   #15
KEYofR
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The OP said he had a WNDR4000, and that he didn't need the drive to be windows compatible.

The answer to this question in this specific case is ext3 and ext3 only.

THAT device only supports fat16, fat32, ntfs, ext2, and ext3.

Ext4 and lustre may be fine fs's but that device does not support them.

Ntfs may "perform quite well" in some other situation, but that device has a crap ntfs driver that performs quite terribly compared to every other filesystem it supports. It's not bashing ntfs and it's no mystery. That device performs very poorly on ntfs. Simple as that.

fat16 can not handle the disk size.

So what's left that has even reasonable performance are only fat32, ext2, ext3.

Out of those 3 choices, ext3 wins on both performance and reliability counts.

Mine has been running like that with no problems since these posts were made also.
 
  


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