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IBM developerWorks: Introducing XFS

Jan 16, 2002, 03:14 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Daniel Robbins)

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"In this article, we'll take a look at XFS, SGI's free, 64-bit high-performance filesystem for Linux. First, I'll explain how XFS compares to ext3 and ReiserFS, and describe many of the technologies that XFS uses internally, Then in the next article, I'll guide you through the process of setting up XFS on your own system, as well as cover XFS tuning tips and useful XFS features like ACL (access control lists) and extended attribute support.

XFS was originally developed by Silicon Graphics, Inc. back in the early 90s. At that time, SGI found that their existing filesystem (EFS) was quickly becoming unsuitable for tackling the extreme computing challenges of the day. Addressing this problem, SGI decided to design a completely new high-performance 64-bit filesystem rather than attempting to tweak EFS to do something that it was never designed to do. Thus, XFS was born, and was made available to the computing public with the release of IRIX 5.3 in 1994. To this day, it continues to be used as the underlying filesystem for all of SGI's IRIX-based products, from workstations to supercomputers. And now, XFS is also available for Linux. The arrival of XFS for Linux is exciting, primarily because it provides the Linux community with a robust, refined, and very feature-rich filesystem that's capable of scaling to meet the toughest storage challenges.

Up until now, choosing the appropriate next-generation Linux filesystem has been refreshingly straightforward. Those who were looking for raw performance generally leaned towards ReiserFS, while those more interested in meticulous data integrity features preferred ext3. However, with the release of XFS for Linux, things have suddenly become much more confusing. In particular, it's no longer clear that ReiserFS is still the next-gen performance leader."

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