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SubjectRe: File System Performance
Mike Fedyk writes:
> On Mon, Nov 12, 2001 at 05:04:57PM -0700, Richard Gooch wrote:
> > Mike Fedyk writes:
> > > On Mon, Nov 12, 2001 at 12:59:54PM -0700, Richard Gooch wrote:
> > > > Here's an idea: add a "--compact" option to tar, so that it creates
> > > > *all* inodes (files and directories alike) in the base directory, and
> > > > then renames newly created entries to shuffle them into their correct
> > > > positions. That should limit the number of block groups that are used,
> > > > right?
> > > >
> > > > It would probably also be a good idea to do that for cp as well, so
> > > > that when I do a "cp -al" of a virgin kernel tree, I can keep all the
> > > > directory inodes together. It will make a cold diff even faster.
> > >
> > > I don't think that would help at all... With the current file/dir
> > > allocator it will choose a new block group for each directory no
> > > matter what the parent is...
> >
> > I thought the current implementation was that when creating a
> > directory, ext2fs searches forward from the block group the parent
> > directory is in, looking for a "relatively free" block group. So, a
> > number of successive calls to mkdir(2) with the same parent directory
> > will result in the child directories being in the same block group.
> >
> > So, creating the directory tree by creating directories in the base
> > directory and then shuffling should result in the directories be
> > spread out over a modest number of block groups, rather than a large
> > number.
> >
> > Addendum to my scheme: leaf nodes should be created in their
> > directories, not in the base directory. IOW, it's only directories
> > that should use this trick.
> >
> > Am I wrong in my understanding of the current algorithm?
> You are almost describing the new algo to a "T"...

I assume you mean my scheme for tar. Which is an adaptation for
user-space of a scheme that's been proposed for in-kernel ext2fs.

> It deals very well with fast growth, but not so well with slow
> growth, as mentioned in previous posts in this thread...

Yes, yes. I know that.

> There is a lengthy thread in ext2-devel right now, if you read it
> it'll answer many of your questions.

Is this different from the long thread that's been on linux-kernel?

Erm, I'm not really asking a bunch of questions. The only question I
asked was whether I mis-read the current code, and that in turn is a
response to your assertion that my scheme would not help, as part of
an explanation of why it should work. Which you haven't responded to.
If you claim my tar scheme wouldn't help, then you're also saying that
the new algorithm for ext2fs won't help. Is that what you meant to

In any case, my point (I think you missed it, although I guess I
didn't make it explicit) was that, rather than tuning the in-kernel
algorithm for this fast-growth scenario, we may be better off adding
an option to tar so we can make the choice in user-space. From the
posts that I've seen, it's not clear that we have an obvious choice
for a scheme that works well for both slow and fast growth cases.

Having an option for tar would allow the user to make the choice.
Ultimately, the user knows best (or at least can, if they care enough
to sit down and think about it) what the access patterns will be.

However, I see that people are banging away at figuring out a generic
in-kernel mechanism that will work with both slow and fast growth
cases. We may see something good come out of that.


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