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SubjectRe: ext3/ext4 directories don't shrink after deleting lots of files
On Fri, 15 May 2009, Theodore Tso wrote:

> On Thu, May 14, 2009 at 08:45:38PM -0400, Timo Sirainen wrote:
>>
>> I was rather thinking something that I could run while the system was
>> fully operational. Otherwise just moving the files to a temp directory +
>> rmdir() + rename() would have been fine too.
>>
>> I just tested that xfs, jfs and reiserfs all shrink the directories
>> immediately. Is it more difficult to implement for ext* or has no one
>> else found this to be a problem?
>
> It's probably fairest to say no one has thought it worth the effort.
> It would require some fancy games to swap out block locations in the
> extent trees (life would be easier with non-extent-using inodes), and
> in the case of htree, we would have to keep track of the index block
> so we could remove it from the htree index. So it's all doable, if a
> bit tricky in terms of the technical details; it's just that the
> people who could do it have been busy enough with other things.
>
> It's hasn't been considered high priority because most of the time
> directories don't go from holding thousands of files down to a small
> handful.

I see it on a fairly regular basis on mail servers. in sendng a large
queue builds up due to a remote system being down, but then after the
remote system recovers, all access to that directory is slow, hurting
everything else on the system.

David Lang


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