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SubjectRe: ext3 throughput woes on certain (possibly heavily fragmented) files
Nikita Danilov wrote:

>Stephen C. Tweedie writes:
> > Hi,
> >
> > On Tue, Sep 03, 2002 at 02:24:19AM -0700, Aaron Lehmann wrote:
> >
> > > [aaronl@vitelus:~]$ time cat mail/debian-legal > /dev/null
> > > cat mail/debian-legal > /dev/null 0.00s user 0.02s system 0% cpu 5.565 total
> > > [aaronl@vitelus:~]$ ls -l mail/debian-legal
> > > -rw------- 1 aaronl mail 7893525 Sep 3 00:42 mail/debian-legal
> > > [aaronl@vitelus:~]$ time cat /usr/src/linux-2.4.18.tar.bz2 > /dev/null
> > > cat /usr/src/linux-2.4.18.tar.bz2 > /dev/null 0.00s user 0.10s system 16% cpu 0.616 total
> > > [aaronl@vitelus:~]$ ls -l /usr/src/linux-2.4.18.tar.bz2
> > > -rw-r--r-- 1 aaronl aaronl 24161675 Apr 14 11:53
> > >
> > > Both files were AFAIK not in any cache, and they are on the same
> > > partition.
> > >
> > > My current uninformed theory is that this is caused by fragmentation,
> > > since the linux tarball was downloaded all at once but the mailbox I'm
> > > comparing it to has 1695 messages, each of which having been appended
> > > seperately to the file. All of my mailboxes exhibit similarly awful
> > > performance.
> >
> > Yep, both ext2 and ext3 can get badly fragmented by files which are
> > closed, reopened and appended to frequently like that.
> >
> > > Do any other filesystems handle this type of thing more gracefully?
> >
> > There are some ideas from recent FFS changes. One thing they now do
> > is to defragment things automatically as a file grows by effectively
> > deleting and then reallocating the last 16 blocks of the file.
> > Fragmentation will still occur, but less so, if we do that.
> >
>
>Another possible solution is to try to "defer" allocation. For example,
>in reiser4 (and XFS, I believe) extents are allocated on the transaction
>commit and as a result, if file was created by several writes, it will
>still be allocated as one extent.
>
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Stephen
>
>Nikita.
>-
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>
The FFS approach has an advantage for the case where the file grows too
slowly for allocation to be delayed.

I think I prefer that we implement a repacker for reiser4 though, as
that, combined with delayed allocation, will be a balanced and thorough
solution.

Hans


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