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Old 08-26-2011, 08:06 PM
green
 
Default A Question about Journalling File Systems and Flash Drives

Martin McCormick wrote at 2011-08-26 11:25 -0500:
> How hard is the ext3 file system on present-day flash drives?

Not much worse than without a journal I think, but

> What got me to thinking was that I have a system using
> conventional magnetic-based hard drives and ext3 file systems.
> The second hard drive is not used as often and I noticed that
> the system shuts it down to rest until one calls for a file off
> the secondary drive. If the journal for all drives is on the
> boot drive, then that explains everything.

Normally, the journal for a filesystem is stored in the same partition as the
filesystem.

> If not, one would
> expect the secondary drive to be awake all the time since the
> journal would write every five seconds or so.

If nothing is being written to the drive, nothing needs to be written to the
journal. A sync does nothing if there is nothing in the buffers.
 
Old 08-26-2011, 08:11 PM
green
 
Default A Question about Journalling File Systems and Flash Drives

green wrote at 2011-08-26 15:06 -0500:
> Martin McCormick wrote at 2011-08-26 11:25 -0500:
> > How hard is the ext3 file system on present-day flash drives?
>
> Not much worse than without a journal I think, but

...that is just the feeling I have gotten from trying in vain to answer that
question definitively for myself.
 
Old 08-26-2011, 09:49 PM
Brad Alexander
 
Default A Question about Journalling File Systems and Flash Drives

All I can offer is some almost-on-target empirical evidence. My daughter has had an Acer Aspire One for 3 or 4 years. Her /home was an 8GB Sandisk SD card. It never had any problems...until her husband noticed he had an SD card slot on his brand new win7 laptop...and grabbed her card and Windows partially formatted (corrupted) it. Admittedly she was running XFS on it, but it is still a journaling filesystem.


Since that 8GB card was broken, she upgraded to a 16GB card, which is running ext4. its been a year and no problems thus far.

For the record, I believe drive quality has improved in the past few years. I have heard that the limit on these drives is now a non-issue...


--b

On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 4:06 PM, green <greenfreedom10@gmail.com> wrote:

Martin McCormick wrote at 2011-08-26 11:25 -0500:

> How hard is the ext3 file system on present-day flash drives?



Not much worse than without a journal I think, but



> * * * What got me to thinking was that I have a system using

> conventional magnetic-based hard drives and ext3 file systems.

> The second hard drive is not used as often and I noticed that

> the system shuts it down to rest until one calls for a file off

> the secondary drive. If the journal for all drives is on the

> boot drive, then that explains everything.



Normally, the journal for a filesystem is stored in the same partition as the

filesystem.



> If not, one would

> expect the secondary drive to be awake all the time since the

> journal would write every five seconds or so.



If nothing is being written to the drive, nothing needs to be written to the

journal. A sync does nothing if there is nothing in the buffers.


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Old 08-27-2011, 01:19 AM
Scott Ferguson
 
Default A Question about Journalling File Systems and Flash Drives

On 27/08/11 02:25, Martin McCormick wrote:

How hard is the ext3 file system on present-day flash
drives? I have some older Dell systems that run lenny and I put
a flash drive on as the boot drive on one of those systems and
it works great, but for how long?

What got me to thinking was that I have a system using
conventional magnetic-based hard drives and ext3 file systems.
The second hard drive is not used as often and I noticed that
the system shuts it down to rest until one calls for a file off
the secondary drive. If the journal for all drives is on the
boot drive, then that explains everything. If not, one would
expect the secondary drive to be awake all the time since the
journal would write every five seconds or so.

Thank you.

Martin McCormick WB5AGZ Stillwater, OK
Systems Engineer
OSU Information Technology Department Telecommunications Services Group




Based on my experiences using ext3 as a file system for running Debian
on USB sticks. Single partition (no swap), logging redirected to vt12.


2 identical sticks (major brand) - identical builds - noatime enabled on
one, not on the other, both got roughly the same amount of use.
The one without noatime died earlier this year after approx 2 years of
use - the other has been upgraded to Squeeze and still works fine.


Hardly empirical evidence but... I bought a larger USB stick (cheap and
nasty) early this year - installed Debian onto it, forgot to enable
noatime - it died last week.


I'm not certain of the answer - but would strongly suggest enabling
noatime on the flash drive - and moving /tmp and /var to a non-flash drive.


Cheers
--
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— Bill Hicks


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Old 08-27-2011, 12:37 PM
Brian
 
Default A Question about Journalling File Systems and Flash Drives

On Sat 27 Aug 2011 at 11:19:20 +1000, Scott Ferguson wrote:

> Based on my experiences using ext3 as a file system for running Debian
> on USB sticks. Single partition (no swap), logging redirected to vt12.
>
> 2 identical sticks (major brand) - identical builds - noatime enabled on
> one, not on the other, both got roughly the same amount of use.
> The one without noatime died earlier this year after approx 2 years of
> use - the other has been upgraded to Squeeze and still works fine.

I have just put unstable with an ext4 filesystem on a USB stick and find
your experience reassuring. Although there will be a backup stick it is
useful to not have to anticipate the drive becoming defunct in a month
or two. In what way upgrading will affect its lifespan I do not know but
it will be interesting to find out!

> Hardly empirical evidence but... I bought a larger USB stick (cheap and
> nasty) early this year - installed Debian onto it, forgot to enable
> noatime - it died last week.
>
> I'm not certain of the answer - but would strongly suggest enabling
> noatime on the flash drive - and moving /tmp and /var to a non-flash
> drive.

Thanks for the reminder about atime. I had completely forgotton to
enable it at install time or afterwards.

The OP may be interested in

http://www.linuxfoundation.org/news-media/blogs/browse/2009/03/ssd’s-journaling-and-noatimerelatime


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Old 08-27-2011, 01:50 PM
Scott Ferguson
 
Default A Question about Journalling File Systems and Flash Drives

On 27/08/11 22:37, Brian wrote:

On Sat 27 Aug 2011 at 11:19:20 +1000, Scott Ferguson wrote:


<snipped>


The one without noatime died earlier this year after approx 2 years of
use - the other has been upgraded to Squeeze and still works fine.


I have just put unstable with an ext4 filesystem on a USB stick and find
your experience reassuring. Although there will be a backup stick it is
useful to not have to anticipate the drive becoming defunct in a month
or two. In what way upgrading will affect its lifespan I do not know but
it will be interesting to find out!


I don't imagine upgrading will make much difference - the controller
distributes the writes evenly, for which reason I reserve 25% of space
when installing (instead of the default 10%). NOTE: I could be wrong
about that - I'm just guessing.


Full backups:-
dd if=/dev/deb_usb | gzip -1 -c > ./deb_usb.img.gz
Full restores:-
zcat ./deb_usb.img.gz | dd of=/dev/deb_usb
rsync on a daily basis.

To redirect logging to vt12 add:-
*.* -/dev/tty12
to the end of /etc/rsyslog.conf
dmesg will bitch but still function.

<snipped>


I'm not certain of the answer - but would strongly suggest enabling
noatime on the flash drive - and moving /tmp and /var to a non-flash
drive.


Thanks for the reminder about atime. I had completely forgotton to
enable it at install time or afterwards.


I originally used it to see if it truly improved performance (it does, a
little) - increased lifetime was an unintended side effect.




The OP may be interested in

http://www.linuxfoundation.org/news-media/blogs/browse/2009/03/ssd’s-journaling-and-noatimerelatime



Nice article.

When my P2V tools support ext4 fully I'm moving all my hdds to it. I've
tested it with one server, and VirtualBox supports it with host I/O
caching enabled - no problems so far.


Cheers

--
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— Bill Hicks


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Old 08-27-2011, 04:25 PM
Ivan Shmakov
 
Default A Question about Journalling File Systems and Flash Drives

>>>>> Scott Ferguson <prettyfly.productions@gmail.com> writes:

[…]

> Full backups:-

> dd if=/dev/deb_usb | gzip -1 -c > ./deb_usb.img.gz

> Full restores:-

> zcat ./deb_usb.img.gz | dd of=/dev/deb_usb

My e2dis suite, which I hopeful to release soon, will probably
be a better fit for such image-level backups. Namely, it'd
allow one to identify the free blocks on an Ext2+ FS and only
copy the rest.

https://gitorious.org/e2dis

> rsync on a daily basis.

I'd second that using rsync(1) instead of cp(1) when copying to
flash media is a good idea, as it reduces both wear and the time
necessary to make a copy.

[…]

--
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http://mail.sf-day.org/lists/listinfo/ planning-ru (ru), sfd-discuss (en)


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Old 08-27-2011, 11:39 PM
Rob Owens
 
Default A Question about Journalling File Systems and Flash Drives

On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 11:25:31AM -0500, Martin McCormick wrote:
> How hard is the ext3 file system on present-day flash
> drives? I have some older Dell systems that run lenny and I put
> a flash drive on as the boot drive on one of those systems and
> it works great, but for how long?
>
I've been using Debian Live for quite some time. I used to use ext2 for
speed reasons. Now I use ext4. There was a brief period where I used
ext3. I've never had a usb stick "die" on me due to overuse.

I recall reading that ext4 is much quicker than ext3 on flash drives, so
you may want to consider using that. Although I'm not sure what you
have to do to get Lenny to support ext4.

-Rob


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Old 08-28-2011, 02:03 PM
green
 
Default A Question about Journalling File Systems and Flash Drives

Scott Ferguson wrote at 2011-08-27 08:50 -0500:
> I don't imagine upgrading will make much difference - the controller
> distributes the writes evenly, for which reason I reserve 25% of
> space when installing (instead of the default 10%). NOTE: I could be
> wrong about that - I'm just guessing.

Hmm, that reserves 25% for root use only, something that occurs above the
filesystem level. So probably you are giving up 25% of the space
and gaining nothing. And the default is 5% according to mke2fs(8).
 

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