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data=journal or data=writeback for NFS server

I'm trying to increase the performance of an NFS server running Red Hat Linux 7.3 and using ext3. This server sees hefty read & write activity and I've been getting a lot of complaints that writing to the disks is taking a long time. The hardware is ample (Dell PE 2650 with 2x2.4GHz Xeons, 6GB RAM, PERC3-DC RAID controller & attached PowerVault 220S) and network connectivity doesn't seem to be the problem, so I'm looking to change some of the mount settings for ext3 to get more performance. Based on what I've read via Google and discussed on the valhalla list, I am planning to change two of the mount options: data=(journal or writeback), and noatime.

The NFS HOWTO recommends mounting with data=journal and I've been considering using that because it has been described as giving the best performance for a NFS server under a heavy read & write load. However, the man page seems to indicate that the writeback mode would be good option as well and we are willing to live with the tradeoff of potential of old data showing up after a crash.

Does anyone have any experience on which data mode I would work the best in this situation? Getting down/test time on this system is difficult and I'd like for the time I've scheduled to be the most productive.

Many thanks in advance for any tips.


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