Ext3 Performance Tuning - the journal

Sven Rudolph Sven_Rudolph at drewag.de
Tue Dec 11 12:29:33 UTC 2007


I have some performance problems in a file server system. It is used
as Samba and NFS file server. I have some ideas what might cause the
problems, and I want to try step by step. First I have to learn more
about these areas.

First I have some questions about tuning/sizing the ext3 journal.

The most extensive list I found on ext3 performance tuning is
<http://marc.info/?l=ext3-users&m=117943306605949&w=2> .

I learned that the ext3 journal is flushed when either the journal is
full or the commit interval is over (set by the mount option
"commit=<number of seconds>"). So started trying these settings.

I didnt manage to determine the size of the journal of an already
existing filesystem. tunefs tells me the inode:

  ~# tune2fs -l  /dev/vg0/lvol0 | grep -i journal
  Filesystem features:      has_journal resize_inode dir_index filetype needs_recovery sparse_super large_file
  Journal inode:            8
  Journal backup:           inode blocks

Is there a way to get the size of the journal?

And how do I find out how much of the journal is used? Or how often a
journal flush actually happens? Or whether the journal flushes happen
because the commit interval has finished or because the journal was
full? This would give me hints for the sizing of the journal.

And I tried to increase the journal flush interval.

  ~# umount /data/
  ~# mount -o commit=30 /dev/vg0/lvol0 /data/
  ~# grep /data /proc/mounts 
  /dev/vg0/lvol0 /data ext3 rw,data=ordered 0 0

Watching the disk activity LEDs makes me believe that this works, but
I expected the mount option "commit=30" to be listed in
/proc/mounts. Did I do something wrong, or is there another way to
explain it?

As you see above in /proc/mounts I use data=ordered. The fileserver
offers both NFS and Samba. "data=journal" might be better for NFS, but
I believe that NFS is the smaller part of the fileserver load. Is
there a way to measure or estimate how large the impact of NFS on the
journal size and transfer rate is?

If I used "data=journal" I would need a larger journal and the journal
data transfer rate would increase. I fear this might induce a new
bottleneck, but I have no idea how to measure this or how to estimate
it in advance.

Currently I have an internal journal, the filesystem resides on
RAID6. I guess this is another potential performance problem.  When
discussions on external journals appeared some years ago it was
mentioned that the external journal code was quite new (see

I think nowadays I have the option to use an external journal and
place it on a dedicated RAID1. Did anyone experience performance
advantages by doing this? Even while using "data=journal"?

Thats all. Thanks for reading that far ;-)


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