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Thread: Which File System ext3 or ext4

  1. #1
    spectra is offline Special Member
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    Default Which File System ext3 or ext4

    Folks,
    In some of the newer Linux releases, when setting up the filesystem they default to ext4. Such is the case of Ubuntu 10 0 4 LTS. Further reading suggest benefits of the ext4 filesystem.

    Now, the zimbra FOSS 7 documentation says ext3.

    Should I be in conflict ? Should I go with ext3 which is an older filesystem for a newer Linux server or ext4 newer filesystem and benefits of the new ext4.

    So which one should be used ?

    thanks

  2. #2
    phoenix is online now Zimbra Consultant & Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by spectra View Post
    So which one should be used ?
    You can use any filesystem you choose.
    Regards


    Bill


    Acompli: A new adventure for Co-Founder KevinH.

  3. #3
    LHammonds's Avatar
    LHammonds is offline Special Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by spectra View Post
    In some of the newer Linux releases, when setting up the filesystem they default to ext4. Such is the case of Ubuntu 10 0 4 LTS. Further reading suggest benefits of the ext4 filesystem.

    Now, the zimbra FOSS 7 documentation says ext3.

    Should I be in conflict ? Should I go with ext3 which is an older filesystem for a newer Linux server or ext4 newer filesystem and benefits of the new ext4.

    So which one should be used ?
    I think you missed Zimbra's Ubuntu-specific guide for configuring the storage system --> Ubuntu Server Config 7.1.pdf

    That document clearly shows them saying to use ext4. The only other difference is the boot partition using ext2...for compatibility reasons.

    I didn't like the recommendation to have EVERYTHING stored in the root because your /opt/zimbra folder will continually grow and grow. If it consumes all free space on your system, it could make the OS completely unresponsive since the root file system is sharing its space with /opt as well.

    Take a look at my installation notes to see how I designed my layout (also has a visual diagram). My design allows for flexible growth as well as automated growth of file systems with notifications (using scripts) so you can order more hard drive space far in advance of actually needing it.

    LHammonds
    Type su - zimbra -c "zmcontrol -v" to get your version and copy that into your profile (more info here)

  4. #4
    lytledd is offline Elite Member
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    I use XFS and use the built-in support for snapshots. At this time, I don't trust ext4

    Doug
    Ben Franklin quote:

    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

  5. #5
    lytledd is offline Elite Member
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    Any reason why you don't trust ext4? It's not quite stable, not enough mature
    A little bit of both. I'm on several mailing lists that bring the subject occasionally, where the fix has been to move from ext4 to 3. Mostly to do with databases and how the partition is mounted. I've also read articles that always are saying, "It's almost as good" or, "It's catching up".

    Since I've been using XFS for years, I see no compelling reason to move.

    Before that, I was using RiserFS.

    Doug
    Ben Franklin quote:

    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

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    LHammonds's Avatar
    LHammonds is offline Special Member
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    I used LVM to overcome the lack of snapshot support in Ext4. It may not be the best performance option for database servers but I have powerful enough systems that can overcome that problem. My main goal was the ability to automate certain tasks to allow human intervention only when necessary...such as the system automatically expanding the file system when needed and knowing when expansion is getting close enough that administration needs to be notified that more storage needs to be purchased and configured. LVM allowed me to do that.

    Here are some good articles to read up on the matter:

    Ext3 vs Ext4 vs XFX vs Btrfs
    Wikipedia articles: Ext3, Ext4, XFS, Btrfs, Comparison of File Systems
    Type su - zimbra -c "zmcontrol -v" to get your version and copy that into your profile (more info here)

  7. #7
    bofh is offline Elite Member
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    Ahm First
    Dont use any Filesystem you want if you use virtualisation

    in addition if you use ubuntu in a kvm enviroment DO NOT USE EXT4 i repeate do not use it

    Do not use it for the host - where your image reside
    do not use it on the guest - where zimbra lives

    this is realted to an IO Problem
    Also xfs is sorta problem


    it would be to much to explain it here completely but oyu can google that issues
    its about how kvm handle io request and how does ext4

    Soo since you should use virtualisation - you should use ext3


    in addition peformance tip for ubuntu - ubuntu has some kind aweird IO problem as a guest anyway spcially for cacheds reads

    so best you can do is - set guest cache to NONE
    do not use writeback or writhe trough
    do not use native - use threads

    thers another bug if you use native which causes filesystem corruption if the imageblocksize isnt the same as the host blocksize

    lvm is an alternative - you could pipe it through - howevery im personally not a frind of this - is kinda wierd virtualisation if i use a real partition - but ok this might be also kinda thing of taste

  8. #8
    bofh is offline Elite Member
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    PS: ext4 is overrated
    its useful for desktops but for server its to young

    and its already predicted to be EOL
    many people and distributions think the future will be in btrfs

    so the real jump should be form ext3 to btrfs

    however btrfs is still beta and work on it goes on for years now - so dont think its useable in production for at least antoher 2-3 years

    btw ext4 isnt nessesarly faster than ext3 - still kernel development going on and since its first prod. release its getting slower because of new safegards in the kernel

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    LHammonds is offline Special Member
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    I'm running Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS on top of an ESXi 4.1 server (IBM 7870AC1 Blade). The data is stored on a DS3400 storage system running SAS drives in RAID5 and connected via a FiberChannel.

    The file systems I have configured are Ext4 encased in LVM. Design can be seen in this image.

    To get a quick performance test, I run this command:
    Code:
    hdparm -t /dev/sda
    And the results are:
    Code:
    Timing buffered disk reads: 1320 MB in 3.01 seconds = 438.96 MB/sec
    And that is about the average performance...sometimes a bit better or a bet less but not by much. It's not bad and I have yet to run into any problems. Been running a Zimbra and mysql servers for a couple of months now.

    EDIT:

    On my test servers, I use the same kind of IBM blade, but a different storage system...IBM DS3200 using slower SATA drives in RAID10 configuration. The performance on that system is not nearly as nice as the SAS system, however, ALL my servers are sending every byte written to their SAS hard drives to the remote SATA drives (offsite server sync/backup)...so they tend to stay busy all the time but performance can vary drastically depending on the global amount of data going on. Here are the results of the same test run on a server using the SATA storage system:

    The average score of the best results (during off-hours):
    Code:
    Timing buffered disk reads: 1712 MB in 3.00 seconds = 558.33 MB/sec
    The average score of the lowest results (during peek hours):
    Code:
    Timing buffered disk reads: 244 MB in 3.03 seconds = 80.53 MB/sec
    EDIT: Installed Debian 6.0.3, here are the hdparm results:
    The average score (during peek hours):
    Code:
    Timing buffered disk reads: 2020 MB in 3.00 seconds = 672.81 MB/sec

    LHammonds
    Last edited by LHammonds; 12-20-2011 at 10:11 AM.
    Type su - zimbra -c "zmcontrol -v" to get your version and copy that into your profile (more info here)

  10. #10
    bofh is offline Elite Member
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    oups ok big edit saw the graphic to late

    ahm it dienst matter if you use ext4 or lvm and ext4 as long its in an image

    anyway even it could be ok on your setup it sound slow but ok that could be the raid 5 (i use raid 10 and raid 100 setups mainly)

    if you wanna try out make 2 ne virtual machines each with let say 5 gig drive - one on debian 6 one on ubuntu 10.04 lts
    make both same cpu/ram make ubuntu ext4 and debian ext3 - wondering to see the difference in % on your setup

    btw hdparm isnt a real benchmark - try out bonnie++

    btw even i was explicit talking about kvm setup theres also some confirmed reports about esxi and ext4
    but most of em where if an guest image uses ext4 (performance) or the host partition is using ext4 and has an image of the guest on (here we even got reboots of the guest while copy files)

    ps: why only 2gig root onyl 75 opt but 200 tmp ? what the hell youre doing on the tmp drive


    pppps: i know in IT were used to newset technology must be 100times faster and better than the old one.
    but filesystems are different - ok i dont say improvements cant be done (there still al lot of room for it) but todays filesystems are already on a pretty smart and high level even the older ones - but because of the complicate and delicate work it take a real long way to test simply because of the giant field of testing / and patching and retesting....
    Last edited by bofh; 12-19-2011 at 05:15 PM.

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