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Next Generation of Btrfs Linux Filesystem Nears Prime Time - page 2

Btrfs, Future Linux Default Filesystem

  • August 27, 2010
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

As a result of COW and other benefits, Btrfs has been rapidly gaining support. The filesystem is currently included in a variety of shipping Linux distribtions, such as the MeeGo mobile Linux OS, the latest release of Red Hat's community Linux distro, Fedora 13, as well as Novell's openSUSE 11.3.

But Btrfs isn't quite ready to serve as an alternative to Ext3 and Ext4 in every case just yet.

For one thing, while COW is beneficial for storage integrity, it may not yet be ideal for all types of enterprise workloads. In response to a question from InternetNews.com, Mason noted that COW can lead to greater disk fragmentation than other filesystems.

"You see [fragmentation] most in workloads that are database workloads and in workloads where you have virtualized system images," Mason said. "Those both do random writes inside of a given file, and those are really one of the worst cases for Btrfs."

He added that Btrfs developers are working to find the best ways to deal with disk layouts and COW.

There's at least one other nagging issue as well.

"Generally, we're very usable in a lot of different workloads and we're generally very stable," Mason said. "The one caveat to that is we don't have a strong way to fix filesystem corruptions that may have come up due to bugs in the kernel.

However, he pointed out that Btrfs developers are currently working on a filesystem checker utility to help mitigate that issue, as well.

And their labors may be bearing fruit very shortly, he added.

"Within two months, we'll have something that can repair basic things, and we'll improve it from there," he said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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