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May 10, 2010 / ffstefan

file system performance benchmark ext4, jfs, xfs, reiserfs

This is not a real benchmark. We simply did some testing before we have setup our new server. We wanted to compare the file systems and see what happens. The results were quite surprising.

Method: simple shell script to copy ~220.000 files (2.4G, Linux /usr content) and delete them again. The files are copied on the same Volume. To do that, the script unmounts the volume, copies a branch to the empty volume, calls system sync, clears the system cache and starts duplicating / copying that branch. Basically, all caching is bypassed this way.

Hardware: 3ware 9690 8ai, Raid 6, 8*2TB SATA disks, Intel S5520hc board, 3*4G RAM (Triple channel)

System: gentoo linux Kernel 2.6.32 (64bit)

Test Volume: ~11,9 TB (varied due to varying file systems), read ahead 16384 (blockdev –setra)


m:ss fs + mount options
1:26 ext4 noatime,data=writeback,barrier=0,nobh,0 2 (–setra 16384)
1:32 ext4 noatime,data=writeback,barrier=0,nobh,0 2 (–setra 256)
2:07 xfs noatime
2:08 xfs noatime,nodiratime,nobarrier,logbufs=8
2:11 xfs noatime,nodiratime,logbufs=8
5:02 jfs noatime
0:00 reiserfs3 failed with I/O error


To be honest, we wanted to switch from Reiser (used for years) to XFS or JFS. But we thought since EXT4 got a couple of nice reviews, we give it a try. Reiser is not an option for a production environment at the moment since a server needs to work a couple of years and we have no clue on what’s gonna happen with ReiserFS in the future. So we needed to switch. Too bad reiser3 failed in the test. It gave an I/O error while copying. We tried 3 times (format, mount, run the test) – every time the journal got broken. So we gave up.

Since copying a Linux /usr branch involves all kinds of files with all kinds of sizes and permissions, that test delivered quite comparable results. I guess the biggest surprise was to see EXT4 winning by far. We did not measure throughput but rather the time it takes to execute overall. Good job, ext4!



Leave a Comment
  1. jeo / Nov 15 2010 2:54 am

    In conclusion you should take care of the fragmentation issue. Tests done on freshly formatted partition is no way realistic.

    • stefan / Nov 15 2010 12:48 pm

      true, that’s why we stated that this must not be considered as a real test, rather a hint for starting benchmarks.
      This is a pure copy & write test. For testing fragmentation and real world performance, things like total server load, average file size and cache behavior must be taken care of.
      Anyway, its 6 months ago now since we did that test. Ever since, the machine runs production with EXT4 on heavy load. Fast, no errors on any mounted FS.

  2. staticcola / Nov 21 2010 7:11 pm

    You didn’t give the file-system mount options for your test with ‘ReiserFS.’

    There is no way to analyze the problem otherwise.

  3. sherkhan / Jan 18 2012 8:47 pm

    In conclusion, you’ve not really concluded anything. My conclusion is you’ve wasted my time.

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