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+Ext4 Filesystem
+Ext4 is an an advanced level of the ext3 filesystem which incorporates
+scalability and reliability enhancements for supporting large filesystems
+(64 bit) in keeping with increasing disk capacities and state-of-the-art
+feature requirements.
+Mailing list: linux-ext4@vger.kernel.org
+Web site: http://ext4.wiki.kernel.org
+1. Quick usage instructions:
+Note: More extensive information for getting started with ext4 can be
+ found at the ext4 wiki site at the URL:
+ http://ext4.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/Ext4_Howto
+ - Compile and install the latest version of e2fsprogs (as of this
+ writing version 1.41.3) from:
+ http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=2406
+ or
+ ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/people/tytso/e2fsprogs/
+ or grab the latest git repository from:
+ git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/fs/ext2/e2fsprogs.git
+ - Note that it is highly important to install the mke2fs.conf file
+ that comes with the e2fsprogs 1.41.x sources in /etc/mke2fs.conf. If
+ you have edited the /etc/mke2fs.conf file installed on your system,
+ you will need to merge your changes with the version from e2fsprogs
+ 1.41.x.
+ - Create a new filesystem using the ext4 filesystem type:
+ # mke2fs -t ext4 /dev/hda1
+ Or to configure an existing ext3 filesystem to support extents:
+ # tune2fs -O extents /dev/hda1
+ If the filesystem was created with 128 byte inodes, it can be
+ converted to use 256 byte for greater efficiency via:
+ # tune2fs -I 256 /dev/hda1
+ (Note: we currently do not have tools to convert an ext4
+ filesystem back to ext3; so please do not do try this on production
+ filesystems.)
+ - Mounting:
+ # mount -t ext4 /dev/hda1 /wherever
+ - When comparing performance with other filesystems, it's always
+ important to try multiple workloads; very often a subtle change in a
+ workload parameter can completely change the ranking of which
+ filesystems do well compared to others. When comparing versus ext3,
+ note that ext4 enables write barriers by default, while ext3 does
+ not enable write barriers by default. So it is useful to use
+ explicitly specify whether barriers are enabled or not when via the
+ '-o barriers=[0|1]' mount option for both ext3 and ext4 filesystems
+ for a fair comparison. When tuning ext3 for best benchmark numbers,
+ it is often worthwhile to try changing the data journaling mode; '-o
+ data=writeback' can be faster for some workloads. (Note however that
+ running mounted with data=writeback can potentially leave stale data
+ exposed in recently written files in case of an unclean shutdown,
+ which could be a security exposure in some situations.) Configuring
+ the filesystem with a large journal can also be helpful for
+ metadata-intensive workloads.
+2. Features
+2.1 Currently available
+* ability to use filesystems > 16TB (e2fsprogs support not available yet)
+* extent format reduces metadata overhead (RAM, IO for access, transactions)
+* extent format more robust in face of on-disk corruption due to magics,
+* internal redundancy in tree
+* improved file allocation (multi-block alloc)
+* lift 32000 subdirectory limit imposed by i_links_count[1]
+* nsec timestamps for mtime, atime, ctime, create time
+* inode version field on disk (NFSv4, Lustre)
+* reduced e2fsck time via uninit_bg feature
+* journal checksumming for robustness, performance
+* persistent file preallocation (e.g for streaming media, databases)
+* ability to pack bitmaps and inode tables into larger virtual groups via the
+ flex_bg feature
+* large file support
+* Inode allocation using large virtual block groups via flex_bg
+* delayed allocation
+* large block (up to pagesize) support
+* efficient new ordered mode in JBD2 and ext4(avoid using buffer head to force
+ the ordering)
+[1] Filesystems with a block size of 1k may see a limit imposed by the
+directory hash tree having a maximum depth of two.
+2.2 Candidate features for future inclusion
+* Online defrag (patches available but not well tested)
+* reduced mke2fs time via lazy itable initialization in conjunction with
+ the uninit_bg feature (capability to do this is available in e2fsprogs
+ but a kernel thread to do lazy zeroing of unused inode table blocks
+ after filesystem is first mounted is required for safety)
+There are several others under discussion, whether they all make it in is
+partly a function of how much time everyone has to work on them. Features like
+metadata checksumming have been discussed and planned for a bit but no patches
+exist yet so I'm not sure they're in the near-term roadmap.
+The big performance win will come with mballoc, delalloc and flex_bg
+grouping of bitmaps and inode tables. Some test results available here:
+ - http://www.bullopensource.org/ext4/20080818-ffsb/ffsb-write-2.6.27-rc1.html
+ - http://www.bullopensource.org/ext4/20080818-ffsb/ffsb-readwrite-2.6.27-rc1.html
+3. Options
+When mounting an ext4 filesystem, the following option are accepted:
+(*) == default
+ro Mount filesystem read only. Note that ext4 will
+ replay the journal (and thus write to the
+ partition) even when mounted "read only". The
+ mount options "ro,noload" can be used to prevent
+ writes to the filesystem.
+journal_checksum Enable checksumming of the journal transactions.
+ This will allow the recovery code in e2fsck and the
+ kernel to detect corruption in the kernel. It is a
+ compatible change and will be ignored by older kernels.
+journal_async_commit Commit block can be written to disk without waiting
+ for descriptor blocks. If enabled older kernels cannot
+ mount the device. This will enable 'journal_checksum'
+ internally.
+journal_dev=devnum When the external journal device's major/minor numbers
+ have changed, this option allows the user to specify
+ the new journal location. The journal device is
+ identified through its new major/minor numbers encoded
+ in devnum.
+norecovery Don't load the journal on mounting. Note that
+noload if the filesystem was not unmounted cleanly,
+ skipping the journal replay will lead to the
+ filesystem containing inconsistencies that can
+ lead to any number of problems.
+data=journal All data are committed into the journal prior to being
+ written into the main file system. Enabling
+ this mode will disable delayed allocation and
+ O_DIRECT support.
+data=ordered (*) All data are forced directly out to the main file
+ system prior to its metadata being committed to the
+ journal.
+data=writeback Data ordering is not preserved, data may be written
+ into the main file system after its metadata has been
+ committed to the journal.
+commit=nrsec (*) Ext4 can be told to sync all its data and metadata
+ every 'nrsec' seconds. The default value is 5 seconds.
+ This means that if you lose your power, you will lose
+ as much as the latest 5 seconds of work (your
+ filesystem will not be damaged though, thanks to the
+ journaling). This default value (or any low value)
+ will hurt performance, but it's good for data-safety.
+ Setting it to 0 will have the same effect as leaving
+ it at the default (5 seconds).
+ Setting it to very large values will improve
+ performance.
+barrier=<0|1(*)> This enables/disables the use of write barriers in
+barrier(*) the jbd code. barrier=0 disables, barrier=1 enables.
+nobarrier This also requires an IO stack which can support
+ barriers, and if jbd gets an error on a barrier
+ write, it will disable again with a warning.
+ Write barriers enforce proper on-disk ordering
+ of journal commits, making volatile disk write caches
+ safe to use, at some performance penalty. If
+ your disks are battery-backed in one way or another,
+ disabling barriers may safely improve performance.
+ The mount options "barrier" and "nobarrier" can
+ also be used to enable or disable barriers, for
+ consistency with other ext4 mount options.
+inode_readahead_blks=n This tuning parameter controls the maximum
+ number of inode table blocks that ext4's inode
+ table readahead algorithm will pre-read into
+ the buffer cache. The default value is 32 blocks.
+nouser_xattr Disables Extended User Attributes. See the
+ attr(5) manual page and http://acl.bestbits.at/
+ for more information about extended attributes.
+noacl This option disables POSIX Access Control List
+ support. If ACL support is enabled in the kernel
+ configuration (CONFIG_EXT4_FS_POSIX_ACL), ACL is
+ enabled by default on mount. See the acl(5) manual
+ page and http://acl.bestbits.at/ for more information
+ about acl.
+bsddf (*) Make 'df' act like BSD.
+minixdf Make 'df' act like Minix.
+debug Extra debugging information is sent to syslog.
+abort Simulate the effects of calling ext4_abort() for
+ debugging purposes. This is normally used while
+ remounting a filesystem which is already mounted.
+errors=remount-ro Remount the filesystem read-only on an error.
+errors=continue Keep going on a filesystem error.
+errors=panic Panic and halt the machine if an error occurs.
+ (These mount options override the errors behavior
+ specified in the superblock, which can be configured
+ using tune2fs)
+data_err=ignore(*) Just print an error message if an error occurs
+ in a file data buffer in ordered mode.
+data_err=abort Abort the journal if an error occurs in a file
+ data buffer in ordered mode.
+grpid Give objects the same group ID as their creator.
+nogrpid (*) New objects have the group ID of their creator.
+resgid=n The group ID which may use the reserved blocks.
+resuid=n The user ID which may use the reserved blocks.
+sb=n Use alternate superblock at this location.
+quota These options are ignored by the filesystem. They
+noquota are used only by quota tools to recognize volumes
+grpquota where quota should be turned on. See documentation
+usrquota in the quota-tools package for more details
+ (http://sourceforge.net/projects/linuxquota).
+jqfmt=<quota type> These options tell filesystem details about quota
+usrjquota=<file> so that quota information can be properly updated
+grpjquota=<file> during journal replay. They replace the above
+ quota options. See documentation in the quota-tools
+ package for more details
+ (http://sourceforge.net/projects/linuxquota).
+stripe=n Number of filesystem blocks that mballoc will try
+ to use for allocation size and alignment. For RAID5/6
+ systems this should be the number of data
+ disks * RAID chunk size in file system blocks.
+delalloc (*) Defer block allocation until just before ext4
+ writes out the block(s) in question. This
+ allows ext4 to better allocation decisions
+ more efficiently.
+nodelalloc Disable delayed allocation. Blocks are allocated
+ when the data is copied from userspace to the
+ page cache, either via the write(2) system call
+ or when an mmap'ed page which was previously
+ unallocated is written for the first time.
+max_batch_time=usec Maximum amount of time ext4 should wait for
+ additional filesystem operations to be batch
+ together with a synchronous write operation.
+ Since a synchronous write operation is going to
+ force a commit and then a wait for the I/O
+ complete, it doesn't cost much, and can be a
+ huge throughput win, we wait for a small amount
+ of time to see if any other transactions can
+ piggyback on the synchronous write. The
+ algorithm used is designed to automatically tune
+ for the speed of the disk, by measuring the
+ amount of time (on average) that it takes to
+ finish committing a transaction. Call this time
+ the "commit time". If the time that the
+ transaction has been running is less than the
+ commit time, ext4 will try sleeping for the
+ commit time to see if other operations will join
+ the transaction. The commit time is capped by
+ the max_batch_time, which defaults to 15000us
+ (15ms). This optimization can be turned off
+ entirely by setting max_batch_time to 0.
+min_batch_time=usec This parameter sets the commit time (as
+ described above) to be at least min_batch_time.
+ It defaults to zero microseconds. Increasing
+ this parameter may improve the throughput of
+ multi-threaded, synchronous workloads on very
+ fast disks, at the cost of increasing latency.
+journal_ioprio=prio The I/O priority (from 0 to 7, where 0 is the
+ highest priority) which should be used for I/O
+ operations submitted by kjournald2 during a
+ commit operation. This defaults to 3, which is
+ a slightly higher priority than the default I/O
+ priority.
+auto_da_alloc(*) Many broken applications don't use fsync() when
+noauto_da_alloc replacing existing files via patterns such as
+ fd = open("foo.new")/write(fd,..)/close(fd)/
+ rename("foo.new", "foo"), or worse yet,
+ fd = open("foo", O_TRUNC)/write(fd,..)/close(fd).
+ If auto_da_alloc is enabled, ext4 will detect
+ the replace-via-rename and replace-via-truncate
+ patterns and force that any delayed allocation
+ blocks are allocated such that at the next
+ journal commit, in the default data=ordered
+ mode, the data blocks of the new file are forced
+ to disk before the rename() operation is
+ committed. This provides roughly the same level
+ of guarantees as ext3, and avoids the
+ "zero-length" problem that can happen when a
+ system crashes before the delayed allocation
+ blocks are forced to disk.
+noinit_itable Do not initialize any uninitialized inode table
+ blocks in the background. This feature may be
+ used by installation CD's so that the install
+ process can complete as quickly as possible; the
+ inode table initialization process would then be
+ deferred until the next time the file system
+ is unmounted.
+init_itable=n The lazy itable init code will wait n times the
+ number of milliseconds it took to zero out the
+ previous block group's inode table. This
+ minimizes the impact on the system performance
+ while file system's inode table is being initialized.
+discard Controls whether ext4 should issue discard/TRIM
+nodiscard(*) commands to the underlying block device when
+ blocks are freed. This is useful for SSD devices
+ and sparse/thinly-provisioned LUNs, but it is off
+ by default until sufficient testing has been done.
+nouid32 Disables 32-bit UIDs and GIDs. This is for
+ interoperability with older kernels which only
+ store and expect 16-bit values.
+block_validity This options allows to enables/disables the in-kernel
+noblock_validity facility for tracking filesystem metadata blocks
+ within internal data structures. This allows multi-
+ block allocator and other routines to quickly locate
+ extents which might overlap with filesystem metadata
+ blocks. This option is intended for debugging
+ purposes and since it negatively affects the
+ performance, it is off by default.
+dioread_lock Controls whether or not ext4 should use the DIO read
+dioread_nolock locking. If the dioread_nolock option is specified
+ ext4 will allocate uninitialized extent before buffer
+ write and convert the extent to initialized after IO
+ completes. This approach allows ext4 code to avoid
+ using inode mutex, which improves scalability on high
+ speed storages. However this does not work with
+ data journaling and dioread_nolock option will be
+ ignored with kernel warning. Note that dioread_nolock
+ code path is only used for extent-based files.
+ Because of the restrictions this options comprises
+ it is off by default (e.g. dioread_lock).
+max_dir_size_kb=n This limits the size of directories so that any
+ attempt to expand them beyond the specified
+ limit in kilobytes will cause an ENOSPC error.
+ This is useful in memory constrained
+ environments, where a very large directory can
+ cause severe performance problems or even
+ provoke the Out Of Memory killer. (For example,
+ if there is only 512mb memory available, a 176mb
+ directory may seriously cramp the system's style.)
+i_version Enable 64-bit inode version support. This option is
+ off by default.
+Data Mode
+There are 3 different data modes:
+* writeback mode
+In data=writeback mode, ext4 does not journal data at all. This mode provides
+a similar level of journaling as that of XFS, JFS, and ReiserFS in its default
+mode - metadata journaling. A crash+recovery can cause incorrect data to
+appear in files which were written shortly before the crash. This mode will
+typically provide the best ext4 performance.
+* ordered mode
+In data=ordered mode, ext4 only officially journals metadata, but it logically
+groups metadata information related to data changes with the data blocks into a
+single unit called a transaction. When it's time to write the new metadata
+out to disk, the associated data blocks are written first. In general,
+this mode performs slightly slower than writeback but significantly faster than journal mode.
+* journal mode
+data=journal mode provides full data and metadata journaling. All new data is
+written to the journal first, and then to its final location.
+In the event of a crash, the journal can be replayed, bringing both data and
+metadata into a consistent state. This mode is the slowest except when data
+needs to be read from and written to disk at the same time where it
+outperforms all others modes. Enabling this mode will disable delayed
+allocation and O_DIRECT support.
+/proc entries
+Information about mounted ext4 file systems can be found in
+/proc/fs/ext4. Each mounted filesystem will have a directory in
+/proc/fs/ext4 based on its device name (i.e., /proc/fs/ext4/hdc or
+/proc/fs/ext4/dm-0). The files in each per-device directory are shown
+in table below.
+Files in /proc/fs/ext4/<devname>
+ File Content
+ mb_groups details of multiblock allocator buddy cache of free blocks
+/sys entries
+Information about mounted ext4 file systems can be found in
+/sys/fs/ext4. Each mounted filesystem will have a directory in
+/sys/fs/ext4 based on its device name (i.e., /sys/fs/ext4/hdc or
+/sys/fs/ext4/dm-0). The files in each per-device directory are shown
+in table below.
+Files in /sys/fs/ext4/<devname>
+(see also Documentation/ABI/testing/sysfs-fs-ext4)
+ File Content
+ delayed_allocation_blocks This file is read-only and shows the number of
+ blocks that are dirty in the page cache, but
+ which do not have their location in the
+ filesystem allocated yet.
+ inode_goal Tuning parameter which (if non-zero) controls
+ the goal inode used by the inode allocator in
+ preference to all other allocation heuristics.
+ This is intended for debugging use only, and
+ should be 0 on production systems.
+ inode_readahead_blks Tuning parameter which controls the maximum
+ number of inode table blocks that ext4's inode
+ table readahead algorithm will pre-read into
+ the buffer cache
+ lifetime_write_kbytes This file is read-only and shows the number of
+ kilobytes of data that have been written to this
+ filesystem since it was created.
+ max_writeback_mb_bump The maximum number of megabytes the writeback
+ code will try to write out before move on to
+ another inode.
+ mb_group_prealloc The multiblock allocator will round up allocation
+ requests to a multiple of this tuning parameter if
+ the stripe size is not set in the ext4 superblock
+ mb_max_to_scan The maximum number of extents the multiblock
+ allocator will search to find the best extent
+ mb_min_to_scan The minimum number of extents the multiblock
+ allocator will search to find the best extent
+ mb_order2_req Tuning parameter which controls the minimum size
+ for requests (as a power of 2) where the buddy
+ cache is used
+ mb_stats Controls whether the multiblock allocator should
+ collect statistics, which are shown during the
+ unmount. 1 means to collect statistics, 0 means
+ not to collect statistics
+ mb_stream_req Files which have fewer blocks than this tunable
+ parameter will have their blocks allocated out
+ of a block group specific preallocation pool, so
+ that small files are packed closely together.
+ Each large file will have its blocks allocated
+ out of its own unique preallocation pool.
+ session_write_kbytes This file is read-only and shows the number of
+ kilobytes of data that have been written to this
+ filesystem since it was mounted.
+There is some Ext4 specific functionality which can be accessed by applications
+through the system call interfaces. The list of all Ext4 specific ioctls are
+shown in the table below.
+Table of Ext4 specific ioctls
+ Ioctl Description
+ EXT4_IOC_GETFLAGS Get additional attributes associated with inode.
+ The ioctl argument is an integer bitfield, with
+ bit values described in ext4.h. This ioctl is an
+ alias for FS_IOC_GETFLAGS.
+ EXT4_IOC_SETFLAGS Set additional attributes associated with inode.
+ The ioctl argument is an integer bitfield, with
+ bit values described in ext4.h. This ioctl is an
+ alias for FS_IOC_SETFLAGS.
+ Get the inode i_generation number stored for
+ each inode. The i_generation number is normally
+ changed only when new inode is created and it is
+ particularly useful for network filesystems. The
+ '_OLD' version of this ioctl is an alias for
+ Set the inode i_generation number stored for
+ each inode. The '_OLD' version of this ioctl
+ is an alias for FS_IOC_SETVERSION.
+ EXT4_IOC_GROUP_EXTEND This ioctl has the same purpose as the resize
+ mount option. It allows to resize filesystem
+ to the end of the last existing block group,
+ further resize has to be done with resize2fs,
+ either online, or offline. The argument points
+ to the unsigned logn number representing the
+ filesystem new block count.
+ EXT4_IOC_MOVE_EXT Move the block extents from orig_fd (the one
+ this ioctl is pointing to) to the donor_fd (the
+ one specified in move_extent structure passed
+ as an argument to this ioctl). Then, exchange
+ inode metadata between orig_fd and donor_fd.
+ This is especially useful for online
+ defragmentation, because the allocator has the
+ opportunity to allocate moved blocks better,
+ ideally into one contiguous extent.
+ EXT4_IOC_GROUP_ADD Add a new group descriptor to an existing or
+ new group descriptor block. The new group
+ descriptor is described by ext4_new_group_input
+ structure, which is passed as an argument to
+ this ioctl. This is especially useful in
+ conjunction with EXT4_IOC_GROUP_EXTEND,
+ which allows online resize of the filesystem
+ to the end of the last existing block group.
+ Those two ioctls combined is used in userspace
+ online resize tool (e.g. resize2fs).
+ EXT4_IOC_MIGRATE This ioctl operates on the filesystem itself.
+ It converts (migrates) ext3 indirect block mapped
+ inode to ext4 extent mapped inode by walking
+ through indirect block mapping of the original
+ inode and converting contiguous block ranges
+ into ext4 extents of the temporary inode. Then,
+ inodes are swapped. This ioctl might help, when
+ migrating from ext3 to ext4 filesystem, however
+ suggestion is to create fresh ext4 filesystem
+ and copy data from the backup. Note, that
+ filesystem has to support extents for this ioctl
+ to work.
+ EXT4_IOC_ALLOC_DA_BLKS Force all of the delay allocated blocks to be
+ allocated to preserve application-expected ext3
+ behaviour. Note that this will also start
+ triggering a write of the data blocks, but this
+ behaviour may change in the future as it is
+ not necessary and has been done this way only
+ for sake of simplicity.
+ EXT4_IOC_RESIZE_FS Resize the filesystem to a new size. The number
+ of blocks of resized filesystem is passed in via
+ 64 bit integer argument. The kernel allocates
+ bitmaps and inode table, the userspace tool thus
+ just passes the new number of blocks.
+kernel source: <file:fs/ext4/>
+ <file:fs/jbd2/>
+programs: http://e2fsprogs.sourceforge.net/
+useful links: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/ext3-devel
+ http://www.bullopensource.org/ext4/
+ http://ext4.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/Main_Page
+ http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/Ext4