Using XFS instead of ext3 (network performance boost)

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Because it improves the network performance. Some of us have found that moving to XFS from ext3 seems to remove a bottleneck on the transfers between the computer desktop and the Linkstation. The amount of improvement may vary but is significant and quite beneficial. Transfers for one user showed a tranfer rate about 2 to 2.5 time the original stock rate on an HG, upgraded to FreeLink, a 2.6 kernel and XFS.

Model ext3 XFS Difference (MB/s) Difference (%)
LS1:  ?  ?  ?  ?
HG:  ?  ?  ?  ?
HS:  ?  ?  ?  ?

Why Not?

ext3 has much better error recovery than xfs: ext3 is slower but safer. You've got to decide for yourself which one is right for you. As far as safety goes, it is important to remember that ext2, ext3, ReiserFS, XFS and JFS are all supported by some sort of Debian utility/tool package that can be used to at least attempt a fix of your hard drive if something goes wrong. It is a good idea to get to know the pertinent packages below and and their parent utilities before delving in to things.





Of course, a valid and reliable backup strategy should be in place before proceeding.


Custom Kernel

You will need a custom kernel running in your LS1 or HG. The latest 2.6 kernels and modules available at this site feature such support for XFS, JFS and a variety of other formats. Both UBoot and bootloader.o are good options for making your LS1 or HG play nicely with the 2.6 kernels. (Currently, there is no support for this modification on the MIPsel-based LS2.)

Knowing the risks

IF something goes wrong then it is quite sure that you will have to connect the hdd to a workstation running Linux as there is no XFS-Support in EM Mode.

Mindbender is working on this:
The Linkstation Community Forum / General Development / Development of flash ramdisk from scratch - linux knowledge wanted!
The Linkstation Community Forum / General Development / (flash-development) telnet + ftp enabled flash images ready for testing(LS1, HG, HS)


Depending on which distro you have installed on your LinkStation, choose the FreeLink or OpenLink option below and install using the specified commands. The FreeLink options are from the stable branch.


From Debian stable:

 apt-get install xfsprogs gettext uuid-dev

Then, either temporarily enable the unstable branch and:

apt-get update
apt-get install convertfs

or download by:

tar -C ~ -xzvf convertfs-13jan2005_ppc.tar.gz


cd /tmp
tar -C / -xzvf xfsprogs-2.8.16_ppc.tar.gz
tar -C / -xzvf gettext-0.16_ppc.tar.gz
tar -C ~ -xzvf convertfs-13jan2005_ppc.tar.gz

Loading the XFS-Kernelmodule

modprobe xfs

The preceding simple command both invokes and test if XFS is supported by your kernel. If it executes without error, you can then use the command "lsmod" gives an overview over all loaded modules. If XFS is shown there everything is alright, and you should be good to go on to the next step. If modprobe xfs returns an error such as this:

modprobe: QM_MODULES: Function not implemented 

modprobe: Can't locate module xfs

then you may not have your module-init-tools installed. Get them from Debian stable branch, using

apt-get install module-init-tools

and attempt the modprobe xfs again.

Conversion to XFS

The actual conversion of the data-partition (/mnt probably) from ext3 to XFS is done by the command below. One way to do this is to cd to the convertfs directory that you untar after downloading it, and invoke the command from within that directory. In the example below, it is assumed that it was untarred at /. The directory is named convertfs, and several required executables and directories are found within it. The main executable is also called convertfs (which may be a bit confusing at first to some).

cd /convertfs
./contrib/convertfs /dev/hda3 ext3 xfs

This process may take from minutes to hours, depending on how much data you have on your partition. The output for converting ext3 to xfs may appear similar to this:

./contrib/convertfs /dev/hda3 ext3 xfs 
== Creating clone of `ext3' filesystem that's on `/dev/hda3'. == 
===== Creating destination `xfs' filesystem. ===== 
meta-data=/dev/loop7             isize=256    agcount=16, agsize=3725322 blks 
=                       sectsz=512 
data     =                       bsize=4096   blocks=59605152, imaxpct=25 
=                       sunit=0      swidth=0 blks, unwritten=1 
naming   =version 2              bsize=4096 
log      =internal log           bsize=4096   blocks=29104, version=1 
=                       sectsz=512   sunit=0 blks 
realtime =none                   extsz=65536  blocks=0, rtextents=0 
============== Copying files ============== 
total 0 
drwxrwxrwx  4 root root 104 Nov 20 21:55 share 
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on 
/dev/loop7            228G  236M  228G   1% /tmp/convertfs/fs2root 
=== Preparing info for block relocation === 
0+1 records in 
0+1 records out 
204 bytes transferred in 0.001923 seconds (106080 bytes/sec) 
============ Relocating blocks ============ 
Loading indexblocks... done. 
Relocating block group at 1... done. 
Relocating block group at 3726312... done. 
Relocating block group at 3727333... done. 
.  ### repetitious lines omitted for brevity...
Relocating block group at 29830203... done. 
Relocating block group at 29831224... done. 
And now the block0... 
=== Filesystem conversion accomplished! === 
NOTE: If you want to boot the new filesystem on `/dev/hda3' you 
should edit `/etc/fstab' and add something like this. 
/dev/hda3   /   xfs   defaults   1   1

The last lines give a good hint of your last step, which follows below.

Modification of /etc/fstab

At the end of convertfs you are told that you need to modify /etc/fstab because of the different file system. Change the entry for /dev/hda3 from "ext3" to "xfs"


/dev/hda3       /mnt            ext3    defaults,noatime                0 0


/dev/hda3       /mnt            xfs     defaults,noatime                0 0

Double check your edits above and reboot. If you are successful then you should be able use


to verify your new filesystem format.


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