[sf-lug] filesystem for a 3TB external USB drive

Sameer Verma sverma at sfsu.edu
Sat Jan 28 22:12:36 PST 2012

On Sun, Dec 18, 2011 at 2:05 PM, Ian Sidle <ian at iansidle.com> wrote:
> If it's for backup purposes, then reliability is your #1 goal, then I would say use fuse-ZFS or ext3.  ZFS is excellent for long term storage, since there is a large amount of checksums and parity information embedded all over the file structure.
> BTRFS is going to provide a lot of the functionality that is in ZFS and then some but it's going to be quite a while before it is release quality.
> EXT2/3 has been around forever, and never was strong in the performance department but the file system follows the KISS methodology and that has kept it very reliable.
> FYI - EXT4 is significantly different then the old linage, and when it was first release there was some reliability issues.  Since then, I hear it's fairly reliable now but the performance isn't a lot better (and at times worse) then EXT2.
> If you are more interested in performance XFS has always worked really well for me. It caches a lot of information in RAM and waits for the optimal moment to write data to disk in large sequential blocks rather then jumping at the blocks closest to the current location of the drive heads.  So you can loose some data if the disk cache haven't been flushed and the power goes out, but to an extent that is always a risk anyway with any filesystem.
> ReiserFS was once a contender but once the founder dropped out of the project, development has basically ground to a halt.  It's good performance for small files but has had problems with larger files and some implementations had reliability issues for a while. I wouldn't trust it for much of anything now because I don't expect there to be much support in the future.
> NTFS is actually an OK choice too. It is significantly more reliable then FAT32 and the mainline linux kernel support has had issues if a drive isn't mounted cleanly the fuse-NTFS is implementation seems to work a lot better in my experience.  The performance isn't awesome but it's not horrible either, and if you later need to access the drive from Mac/Windows then it will work out of the box without any hassle.
> thanks,
> Ian
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Ian, and others,

I am catching up with this thread and other related e-mails today. I
had unwittingly set up my e-mail filter so that it went straight to a
SFLUG folder, and not show up on my main inbox on Gmail. No wonder, I
didn't see anything, while you all have been discussing eloquently :-)

My initial query was about the use of this 3TB Western Digital drive I
spoke of, to store daily incremental backups (via dejadup) at home.
This isn't for a server, or a Microsoft system, where I need to keep
NTFS on it.

Thank you so much for your detailed explanation in the thread further
on. I think I'll stick with ext3 and get familiar with ZFS-FUSE and
btrfs for later.

As always, the lists are a treasure trove for information.

Sameer Verma, Ph.D.
Professor, Information Systems
San Francisco State University

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