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Evaluating the performance of ext3 using write barriers and write caching

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The ext3 filesystem supports write barriers which are designed to allow a filesystem to take advantage of a disk’s write cache without fear of compromising the ingetrity of the filesystem on a power failure or kernel panic. I’ve seen reports that ext3 write barriers have a significant impact on performance.

Of course, the alternative is to disable the write cache (as is recommended many places) and suffer the performance loss from that. Given that the use of write barriers means forsaking many Linux storage tools which do not support write barriers (lvm, dmraid, dmcrypt, md raid except raid1, etc) it seems like the best option for flexibility is to just turn off the hard disks write cache and keep one’s options open. However, if the difference in performance between write barriers enabled and write cache disabled is significant then using write barriers would be a better option when IO performance is important. I often find IO to be the bottleneck on my servers so any improvement in IO performance is worth investigating.

I ran some tests with bonnie++ and came up with these numbers.

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LibrePlanet free software conference celebrates 10th anniversary, this weekend at MIT, March 24-25

This weekend, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Student Information Processing Board (SIPB) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) present the tenth annual LibrePlanet free software conference in Cambridge, March 24-25, 2018, at MIT. LibrePlanet is an annual conference for people who care about their digital freedoms, bringing together software developers, policy experts, activists, and computer users to learn skills, share accomplishments, and tackle challenges facing the free software movement. LibrePlanet 2018 will feature sessions for all ages and experience levels. LibrePlanet's tenth anniversary theme is "Freedom Embedded." Embedded systems are everywhere, in cars, digital watches, traffic lights, and even within our bodies. We've come to expect that proprietary software's sinister aspects are embedded in software, digital devices, and our lives, too: we expect that our phones monitor our activity and share that data with big companies, that governments enforce digital restrictions management (DRM), and that even our activity on social Web sites is out of our control. This year's talks and workshops will explore how to defend user freedom in a society reliant on embedded systems. Read more Also: FSF Blogs: Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup time: March 23rd starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC