Re: Single root filesystem evilness decreasing in 2010? (on workstations)
Robert Brockway wrote:
Some filesystems such as XFS & ZFS allow you to effectively set quotas
on parts of the filesystem. I think we'll see this becoming more
common. This takes away a big part of the need for multiple filesystems.
This is a neat feature indeed. And you're right; apparently, work is
beeing done on ext4.
* Specific mount options
This is a good point. I actually hadn't considered this in my list.
I'll respond by saying that in general the mount options I use for
different filesystems on the same box do not vary much (or at all) in
I've just discovered bindfs , a FUSE-based virtual filesystem, which
might just answer this problem partially. It looks quite nice, simple and
flexible but will obviously won't be able to enable optimizations like
noatime. Don't know about the possible overhead though - at that point, one
might want to go with "true" access control systems instead.
> If I want a filesystem marked noatime then I probably want
> all the filesystems marked noatime. There are exceptions to this of
Yep, like giving relatime to a filesystem containing mboxes or something
like that. But it's true, yes, access times are becoming less and less
useful, and I can't think of another real problem (that isn't answered by
access control systems) besides that one.
* System software replacement
Easier to reinstall the system if it's on separate volumes than conf
and data? Come on..
That's true but the time savings is not terribly great IMHO. The system
can be backing up and restoring the dats while the human is off doing
other stuff. Saves computer time (cheap) but not human time (expensive).
Either way, there's software to automate and abstract it all. I think the
real question is really processing vs storage resources; human resources
are the same.
The only reason I saw for doing inflexible volume imaging to do backups is
to avoid the filesystem formatting operations as well as files unpacking and
copying operations when restoring, which are theorically slower than copying
a volume byte-by-byte. "Whatever".
If restore speed is really that critical, it should still be possible to
generate an image without including the free space - I know virtualization
techs are doing it just fine for most filesystems.
Maybe we misunderstood each other - saw a different problem.
I recommend backing up all system binaries. It's the only way you can
guarantee you will get back to the same system you had before the
rebuild. This is most important for servers were even small behavioural
changes can impact the system in a big way.
So you don't trust Debian stable to be stable? :-)
See this link for my talk on backups which goes in to this issue further:
All the info in this talk is being transferred to
Thanks a lot; that's a talk full of useful checklists. I'll definitely eat
your wiki pages when I have the time.
* Metadata (i-node) table sizes
While this may be a problem now I think it will be less of a problem in
the future as some filesystems already allow you to add i-nodes
dynamically and this will increasingly be the case.
I'm not sure I follow you, but that sounds cool. Could you elaborate?
* Block/Volume level operations (dm-crypt, backup, ...)
As said earlier, I don't need a fast backup solution. I already
prefer smarter filesystem-based backup systems in general.
As do I. What do you use? If you want to use dump with ext2/3/4 you
will need to snapshot for data safety.
Actually I would think dump is a fast but "dumb" solution (much like
partimage). And yep, I know, LVM2 is just great for that.
Anyway, my preference isn't based on my own experience so I'm not actually
using anything like that, but I'm willing to look at and try fsarchiver and
see if it can really beat simple ad-hoc scripts for my needs. Or something
heavier, just for fun (Bacula?).
In modern disks the sector layout is hidden. The fastest sectors may be
at the beginning of the disk, the end or striped throughout. This is
specific to the design of the HDD and it is no longer possible to tell
short of doing timing tests. My recommendation is to ignore
differences in sector speeds.
 I'd love to hear if anyone has found a method but I can't see how
they could get through the h/w abstraction.
Good to know, I've actually never seen anything fancy like that (striped
throughout). I'll test my disks to see how I can make the best out of them
anyway - but I agree with you in the case one wants to setup a portable,
LVM won't theoritically guarantee the physical position of the logical
volumes anyway. And I'll need it if I do any partitioning.
So now it is abstracted (at least) twice :)
Hehe, yeah. I'm glad I'm not into forensics. What a beautiful mess.
* Swap special-case
Under Linux 2.6 kernels a swap file is as efficient as a swap partition.
The only real advantage of a swap partition is to allow suspend to disk
(on a laptop).
Really? That's too bad. Can't think of any real obstacle, I hope this
limitation will be lifted.
There are however some neat dymanic swap allocation projects out there
that would help me not lose these gigabytes I never seem to be using
(at all). I
I wouldn't touch these if they in any way impacted performance. Disk is
cheap. Give yourself 2GB swap.
Yup, they currently do (AFAIK), it takes a little bit of time to set them
up. Let's say it's cool to have in addition to a fixed swap space, as an
extra safety measure.
figured, with all this RAM I could think of the swapping space as a
mere rescue space to prevent OOM rampages - and nothing else. In *my*
case, even buffers and cached pages never get to be pushed on disk
after weeks without
Ah but they are. Cache pages may be clean or dirty. Your disk cache
may be full of clean cache pages, which is just fine.
Am I interpreting the output of free(1) the wrong way?
cay:~$ free -o
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 3116748 3029124 87624 0 721500 1548628
Swap: 3145720 800 3144920
To me, looks like only 800KiB are actually swapped (uptime 11d) - don't know
how I can see what type of data it is. Is that irrelevant?
RAM is not even fully used, so it doesn't surprise me at first.
rebooting. I'm just OK with my three gigs. The 1:1 mem:swap rule has
got to be wasting space here, hasn't it?
Absolutely. This page has my thoughts on this topic:
Thanks in advance for your help. I hope I could make you think twice
about it too or maybe provide people with other needs with a little
checklist to better design their layout.
Thanks for the great checklist.
Thanks for taking the time to look at this, and for the links to your pages
(these are useful).