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Kernel Log: Coming in 2.6.38 (Part 2) � File system

Feb 18, 2011, 16:33 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Thorsten Leemhuis)

"Linux 2.6.38 contains patches to improve the scalability of VFS that has been the topic of much discussion for the past six months and that Torvalds himself was waiting for. Ext3 and XFS now support batched discard, which is interesting for SSDs, while Btrfs and SquashFS support additional compression technologies.

"On Wednesday, Linus Torvalds released the fifth pre-release of kernel version 2.6.38 saying that some regressions have been fixed and other changes are "pretty spread out and small". The Kernel Log therefore takes the opportunity to continue the overview of the major changes in Linux 2.6.38 with the second part of the mini-series "Coming in 2.6.38". Part one discussed the main changes pertaining to graphics drivers, and in the next few weeks we will be discussing network support, storage hardware, drivers, and code for architecture and infrastructure.

"Optimising VFS

"Some of the optimisations of VFS (Virtual File System), which offers basic functions for all file systems, in 2.6.38 were especially important for Torvalds, who could not hide his excitement in a detailed description in an email on the first pre-release version of 2.6.38 (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). The basis for all file systems, VFS uses finer locking with RCU (read copy update) thanks to these changes developed under such names as "RCU-based name lookup", in order to considerably accelerate a number of operations in the resolution of file names. Large servers with a number of processor cores will not be the only ones to benefit; off-the-shelf systems also will. In his release email, Torvalds says the performance improvements range from 30 to 50 per cent in certain tests of file and name resolution."

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