[CentOS] mkfs.ext3 on a 9TB volume

Bryan J. Smith b.j.smith at ieee.org
Sun Sep 11 17:06:31 UTC 2005

On Sun, 2005-09-11 at 12:20 -0400, Peter Arremann wrote:
> All that said, I too would recommend going with Reiser or XFS.

I can't recommend ReiserFS because it lacks interfaces and
compatibility, ones that are at the heart of most Red Hat distribution
deployments.  Red Hat will never support ReiserFS for this reason, and
not because of some Tweedie v. Reiser debate.  Tweedie has his focus
because of Red Hat's focus.

SuSE continues to try to hack more and more interface/compatibility
support for ReiserFS, including Extended Attributes (EAs).  This is no
different than when they original did various NFS support hacks.
Frankly, I wish SuSE (let alone Red Hat) would put that effort into XFS
instead.  But SuSE is dedicated to ReiserFS, and Red Hat seems unwilling
(often using incorrect assumptions on XFS' interfaces/compatibility, and
absolute limitations in Ext3, in many replies) to join SGI in making Red
Hat the absolute ultimate enterprise distro (IMHO) with the Ext3/XFS

> I once had a ext3 filesystem that had one damaged sector in the
> journal... of course it fell back to ext2 behavior and the fs check
> took all weekend :-)

But it recovered.  I'll take that level of trust any day over recovery
time.  But that's just me.

> XFS will handle a defective journal much better - so the chance that
> you ever encounter a situation where you have to do a full fs check is
> much lower.

Assuming the XFS kernel build is complete.

The only XFS kernel build I have extensively tested as complete are the
official SGI XFS releases.  I had a really horrendous experience with
the kernel 2.4 backport, and I would never touch a 3rd party rebuild.

So far the XFS kernel build in newer Fedora Core 3 seems to be usable,
but I haven't put a full load on it.  I don't know how it compares to
the CentOS Plus kernel at all.  There are a few issues with NFS though,
and that has been a disappointment.  All my attempts to use the XFS from
the SGI cvs tree atop of RHEL/FC has also resulted in additional issues.

The reason why I adopted the official SGI XFS releases back in the
early/mid-2.4 kernel was because of solid NFS capability as well as
POSIX EA/ACL support, plus the xfsdump and other user-space utilities
(which Ext3 still lacks).  If I had to deploy a serious NFS server today
(1+TB), I would deploy Solaris/Opteron instead, hands down, no

Otherwise, RHEL4/FC3 with Ext3 is fine for my typical deployments with
filesystems commonly no larger than 100GB -- 1TB is an absolute maximum
for myself and Ext3.  I will not consider larger because 1TB is the
"common denominator" of Ext3 filesystem size on _any_ kernel, _any_

Bryan J. Smith     b.j.smith at ieee.org     http://thebs413.blogspot.com
The best things in life are NOT free - which is why life is easiest if
you save all the bills until you can share them with the perfect woman

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