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Old 02-16-2017, 02:13 PM   #16
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Mainstream alternatives - ext4, btrfs

The entire conversation here includes so many variables that it is not very practical to make any solid conclusion that is universally true. What I would say is that if you are using a current generation Linux or Linux-based distribution, by a moderate amount, ext4 is probably the most common file system available. Just five years ago, btrfs was pretty new and not all that common. Today, choosing between ext4 and btrfs is not a big deal: use the one your distribution uses by default.

If you have a very peculiar workload or a specific distribution that only offers a specific filesystem, it's not crazy to use something else. Two decades ago I used ext2 all the time and it worked fine. A decade ago I used predominantly ext3 and in more recent years I've used ext4, but along the way, I'd notice one or two distributions that would feature something other than an ext-based filesystem. I believe that SUSE is a distribution that goes against common convention - years ago I believe they used ReiserFS when most others were using ext2 or ext3. Recent versions of openSUSE have successfully used btrfs.

In addition to filesystems, some distributions incorporate the use of a "logical volume manager" to organize the disk partitions. Support for LVM might be a factor that constrains you to use a specific filesystem.

Lots of other possibilities, and these are by no means the only considerations, but they are mainstream considerations.
Old 02-17-2017, 02:20 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by jefro View Post

There have been some efforts to make a filesystem that targets a ssd but I don't know how the metrics on that stack up today.
Well that's one of the things that is sort-of easy. Nilfs2 and F2FS are intended for SSDs and BTRFS has an 'SSD Mode' (although it doesn't seem to do much in straightforward perf testing; more difficult to say whether it does anything for write amplification).

So something like this (EXT4 / F2FS / Btrfs / XFS On Early Linux 4.10 Kernel...the title is slightly deceptive though as it actually tests briefly several kernel versions; there are earlier tests on different versions if that's what you want) set of tests has a series of results for various filesystems.

More relevant to the OP's system would be something like this testing which is at least performed on a hard disk.

One thing that is at least worth pointing out is that the mount options obviously make a performance difference and as a general rule the more advanced the filesystem the more scope there is for playing with mount options. The phoronix testing is generally performed in the default condition but here is a comparison for BTRFS.

Note that in certain specific cases there can seemingly be a big win but not all of the tested cases will be robust against other problems. Also note that compression of any kind is likely to work better in performance terms when you have 'lots of CPU/slow disk' and less well for 'fast disk/constrained CPU availability'.

I believe that SUSE is a distribution that goes against common convention - years ago I believe they used ReiserFS when most others were using ext2 or ext3. Recent versions of openSUSE have successfully used btrfs.
For about the past three years openSUSE has recommended BTRFS for the system and XFS for user data (/home). They have the ability to roll back OS updates if necessary. Given some of the comments I see on the 'net about XFS being more delicate than ext4 I don't think I'll be hurrying to try that out but it could all be FUD depending on how the XFS volume was mounted (which is not usually info that you get from people complaining of data loss).


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