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The best Linux file system of all?

Want to get Unix/Linux techies arguing? Besides such classic flame wars such as whether vi or EMACS is the bgetter editor, another sure fire way to start a fight is to talk about which file systems are the best. Now, Google, which knows a thing or two about fast systems has decided that, for their purposes anyway, Ext4 is the best and close to the fastest file system of all.

In a recent note to the Ext4 developer mailing list, Google’s Michael Rubin, a senior staff engineer, wrote, “Google is currently in the middle of upgrading from ext2 to a more up to date file system. We ended up choosing ext4.”

Rubin then explains, “The driving performance reason to upgrade is that while ext2 had been ‘good enough’ for a very long time the metadata arrangement on a stale file system was leading to what we call “read inflation”. This is where we end up doing many seeks to read one block of data. In general latency from poor block allocation was causing performance hiccups.”

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