[rescue] Filesystem choice for fileserver?

Patrick Finnegan pat at computer-refuge.org
Thu Apr 17 10:34:07 CDT 2008

On Thursday 17 April 2008, Timothy Baldridge wrote:
> > I'm very keen on XFS, what with its solid SGI heritage, but I've
> > read a few horror stories of people who've lost data using it.
> And I've heard horror stories about NTFS, ext3, reiserfs, but I've
> never had issues with those either. I've used XFS a fair amount and I
> love it. Rock solid and blazing fast. However, allot of GRUBs don't
> support it, so make your OS partition ext3 and XFS on the data
> drives.

At work, we've locked up machines, and lost data due on fileservers that 
used XFS under heavy load.

The main problem I had when I was using JFS (which was back before ext3 
was in a "stable" kernel line), was that JFS removed any files that 
were open when the machine didn't shut down cleanly.  After having to 
rebuild my .gaimrc a few times, I gave up and switched to ext3 on an 
unstable series kernel (2.3.something I think).

> XFS really excells with large files. Here you'll find its performance
> to be way faster than ext3 and maybe even faster than reiserfs.

It's not bad, but I've seen data loss with it.

On the other hand, we've never had data loss in the same environment at 
work with an ext3 filesystem (at least where a hardware failure wasn't 
to blame).  I don't think I've ever had any real problems with ext3, 
except where I f'd up the filesysme by hand, or the disk/raid 
controller failed.  FWIW, we've noticed at work that the raid 
controller on Dell 2650s and Dell 1850s tends to lock up under high 

This is also partly why I strongly prefer software raid to hardware 
raid.  I've seen a number of times where hardware raid has caused us 
data loss.  The only one time I've lost data on a software raid, was 
because I was trying to piece it back together, and reassembled the 
RAID-5 in the wrong order.  It's really easy to mash the chunks back 
together with software raid if it becomes unhappy, but there's rarely 
the same user accessible tools you'd need to do the same with hardware 

Purdue University Research Computing ---  http://www.rcac.purdue.edu/
The Computer Refuge                  ---  http://computer-refuge.org

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