O.k. You have read the title and I am here to tell you that I have found something out about Ubuntu and Linux in general after 1 month of scientific/practical research and implementation.
1-- EXT3 is the absolute slowest part of Ubuntu.
2-- XFS is the fastest file system. Period. This is uncontestable.
3-- Preload and Prelink do help when using EXT3, but very much so when using XFS.
I hope this thread will help the many of you that thought Ubuntu was slow and sluggish. It is in EXT3 but not XFS.
Here are my findings---
1. Formatting 500GB in ext3 takes around 10-15 mins. Formatting the same drive in XFS takes (no kidding) 7 seconds (if you don't believe me try it).
2. Network traffic was slow. My network is setup perfect (as it is what I do for a living) and I could not achieve any greater than 5Mb/s no matter what I did in ext3, and it would eventually simmer down to around 2-3 after around 1 hour of transfer. XFS....no less than 11.1Mb/s at all times, no matter what I am doing, and no degregation of signal at all. (10/100 switch).
3. Packet loss. After monitoring 20 250GB transfers from one machine to the next, I achieved a 13-15% rate of packet loss using ext3. Absolutely none with XFS and the tranfer took 1/8 of the time (no kidding).
4. Using vmware-server like I do everyday for everything, including real world projects/servers, I wondered why it was so slow. The problem...ext3. I installed vmware-server on XFS and the machines are at least, and I mean at the very least, twice as fast for boot and operations.
5. I was wondering why no matter how I niced my transfer process I could gain no more speed than if the transfer (ftp, ssh, smb, etc) would not go any faster or use anymore cpu. The answer. XFS. It took full advantage of the multithreading capability of my cpu (as it uses raw i/o access) and my cpu (amd 32bit/64) is now being used correctly, whether for transfer or normal i/o operations (copy, create, delete, etc.)
6. Multitasking. I can honestly say, I am on a complete different level with XFS. It will make use of your processor and filesystem like you never thought possible. Nothing seems to slow down no my Seagate 7200 rpm 250Gb sata (8mb cache). It is like new I tell you.
7. Gaming. Again, not even close with ext3. XFS makes doom3 and anything else run at least 75-100% better.
8. XFS gave me 6 gig back on my harddrive (98.02% usage).
9. Stability. Well, I hate to say it, but XFS is more stable than ext3. I did approximately 15 cold shutdowns while in the middle of processing for both filesystems. Had to do 3 checks with ext3. Zero with XFS
10. Swap. Let's just say now, with XFS it actually does feel like I have 4 GB of RAM. Swap slowdown, seems to have dissapeared.
11. Multimedia editing (something I do everyday with video and audio). Simply put, if you do either, make the switch to XFS. It's a totally different experience.
I conducted all of these tests by using fresh install of both filesystems, including reiserfs, at least 20 times over the last month. I read over 30 articles relating to both filesystems and comparisons to JFS,REISERFS,etc. And yes, I tweaked out ext3 everytime with indexing, writeback, noatime, etc. Still, no comparison, at all. I can also say this with confidence. Try to transfer 200Gb of data over a network with ext3 and you will lose something in the transfer. That was 20/20 times. XFS, again, 0% loss of any kind.
You can ignore this thread, but you would be doing yourself a great diservice. XFS is the only "real" next generation filesystem and the only one I will use from now on. Just when I was going to leave Ubuntu after buying new switches and switching cables, (8 times) for another distro because of the sluggishness, technology found me. Your hardware is fine. Switch filesystem and you will see the light, and if networking is your job or passion, or is just a necessity to have working at full speed. XFS is a 100% sure bet to achieve maximum throughput on your LAN.
My partitioning scheme is as follows.
100MB /BOOT --ext3
250 / --xfs
For my 2 raids I use the following
100MB /BOOT --ext3 (raid 1 partition)
4GB SWAP (raid0 partition)
800MB / -- xfs (raid0 partition)
all same disks x2
100MB /BOOT --ext3 (raid 1 partion)
8GB SWAP (raid0 partition)
1.25TB / -- xfs (raid1 parition) (20 second format)
all same disks x2
Use prelink and preload from this thread --
Along with the above partitioning scheme, and you will be in Linux heaven.
Use gkrellm or iptraf to measure your lan speed.
apt-get install iptraf gkrellm
This is my contribution to Ubuntu, for helping to create a business I couldn't have had without it. Hats off to all of you here at the forum and everyone else who has helped me get here. Thanks!
I am writing this article on my Ubuntu desktop while transfering 93 GB worth of vmware files to my renewed server with the scp processed niced to level 19....transferring (according to gkrellm) at 12.5MB/s on my 10/100 lan (that has never seen that speed since Ubuntu's implementation)......all without a hitch. Machine is 2 years old, 2GB RAM, AMD 1.8. Simply a joy to use now....