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Kernel Space: Once Upon atime

Aug 16, 2007, 09:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Corbet)

"Among the metadata maintained by most filesystems is the last file access time, or 'atime.' This time can be a useful value to have--it lets an administrator (or a program) know when a file was last used. There is a strong downside to this feature, though: it forces a write to the disk every time a file is accessed. So read-only operations, which might have been satisfied entirely from cache, turn into filesystem writes to keep the atime value up to date. Related links

"A recent discussion on write throttling turned to atime after Ingo Molnar pointed out that atime was probably a bigger performance problem than just about everything else..."

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