Question about file system checks

Alfred Perlstein alfred at
Fri Mar 28 15:01:55 PDT 2008

* Ivan Voras <ivoras at> [080328 14:51] wrote:
> Matthew Seaman wrote:
> >Ivan Voras wrote:
> >>1. UFS+gjournal looses the least, but it's also the slowest.
> >>2. UFS+SU had no truncated files or files of unexpected length 
> >>(apparently it just looses the file that would end up in this state)
> >>3. XFS and JFS end up with a *huge* number of files that are truncated 
> >>or of unexpected length (40%-50%!)
> >>4. In no case has any of the above file systems gone completely 
> >>corrupted or lost any of the files/directories not being updated.
> >>5. ZFS on FreeBSD was the fastest, in the sense of creating the most 
> >>files during this benchmark (though speed was not the target for this 
> >>benchmark so this is a low-quality observation), closely followed by 
> >>JFS and XFS.
> >>6. ZFS crashed the kernel at least once.
> >>
> >
> >Hmmm.... in many ways a corrupt or truncated file is a worse outcome
> >than a completely missing file -- at least if the file has gone away
> >you know you've got to do something to fix it.  A damaged file could
> >end up silently causing weird behavioural effects and (by the law of
> >natural cussedness) it is almost bound not to be tracked down until the
> >day after the last good copy on the backup tapes gets overwritten...
> >
> >How do the different filesystems compare if you total all lost, damaged
> >or truncated files?
> The only things that happen are that XFS and JFS get disproportionally 
> bad numbers and that ext3 gets almost identically bad results with 
> UFS+SU. Overall ratios remain approximately the same.
> To put this into perspective, for total "bad" files this means that, 
> e.g. UFS+SU created 20000 files, of which 750 were in some way "bad", 
> and ZFS created 46000 files, of which 900 were bad (so percentage is in 
> favour of ZFS). JFS created 43000 files of which 20000 were of wrong 
> size, but only 45 were completely lost. How bad this is depends, of 
> course on what is done with the file system.
> A big surprise for me was that Windows' NTFS did very good, though it 
> was the slowest in most other tests (which are smarter and probably use 
> fsync a lot), it managed to create 32000 files and have only 121 "bad" 
> in some way.

I know this sounds pretty awful, but honestly any file modified
within an hour and not fsync'd being "lost" is not really a bad

It's pretty much "the unix way" that only fsync'd files/directories
or file modified more than several minutes ago are safe.

- Alfred Perlstein

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