Gentoo Forums
Gentoo Forums
Gentoo Forums
Quick Search: in
What's the performance impact of using vfat?
View unanswered posts
View posts from last 24 hours

 
Reply to topic    Gentoo Forums Forum Index Other Things Gentoo
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Erik Andersson
n00b
n00b


Joined: 19 Apr 2002
Posts: 27
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 5:31 pm    Post subject: What's the performance impact of using vfat? Reply with quote

I know that vfat is a primitive filesystem, but it's very convenient since it's supported by so many platforms. I wonder what kind of performance penalty one would see when using it for non-essential things like games and music. Could you even mount /home on a vfat without performance trouble? The less partitions the better I think.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Maldrim
n00b
n00b


Joined: 30 May 2002
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it is certainly possible since some distributions give the ability to intall linux on the same partition with windows. ( I think slackware, not sure)

I'm not sure about performance, other then the limited file size to 2gbs which can be annoying for video editing, but the main problem, i heard, with fat systems is heavy fragmentation which can lead to major slowdown if you don't defrag often.

Correct me if i'm wrong. =)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dek
l33t
l33t


Joined: 16 May 2002
Posts: 657
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heavy fragmentation, no support for symlinks, no handling of unix rights, a filesytem getting slower day by day of usage...
vfat is a bad filesystem! If you use dualbooting with windows keep one vfat partiton for dataexchange. But never ever use vfat with your home partiton! Well, maybe you would be the first person to try this. ;)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Maldrim
n00b
n00b


Joined: 30 May 2002
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, vfat isn't great but it is quite possible to get a linux boot on a vfat system. Sure it may be slower and a bit weird to use but if someone is starting out that's a good middle ground for testing.

If it works really well he can then get a full partition for it but as much as it has bad points it is great for "gradual" migration =P
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Erik Andersson
n00b
n00b


Joined: 19 Apr 2002
Posts: 27
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's obviously not a unix filesystem, but permissions are not a problem for the files I'm considering to store there. Mounting /home on a vfat might be a bit too much I guess.

Fragmentation is of course a problem with vfat. With the size of current harddrives I think there should be an option to disable it entirely. But isn't there some fragmentation in unix filesystems as well? The inodes could point anywhere, couldn't they?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
arkane
l33t
l33t


Joined: 30 Apr 2002
Posts: 918
Location: Phoenix, AZ

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 9:37 pm    Post subject: Re: What's the performance impact of using vfat? Reply with quote

Quote:
The less partitions the better I think.


That's not really true, considering the reason for wanting more than one partition is to allow segmentation between system, spool, and user files. If a spooler goes out of control, your entire system would be 100% full if you had one partition, but if you put /var on it's own seperate partition, then it would fill up and you wouldn't have the issue. (other than not being able to write to the /var directories/subdirectories).

It's not that hard to sit down and write up a quick partition mapping. If you have issues with always choosing too low or wanting flexibility, you can always go with LVM (Logical Volume Manager) which allows you to shrink and grow your partitions at a later time if needed. I've been using it for quite a while now and have had absolutely no problems.

As far as using VFAT, well.... I have used VFAT before in transferring between my Windows and Linux partitions. There is a semi-noticeable lag on my Celeron 450. I definately wouldn't recommend it for anything else other than data exchange between the two OS's.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dek
l33t
l33t


Joined: 16 May 2002
Posts: 657
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erik Andersson wrote:
Fragmentation is of course a problem with vfat. With the size of current harddrives I think there should be an option to disable it entirely. But isn't there some fragmentation in unix filesystems as well? The inodes could point anywhere, couldn't they?


As far as i know ext2 has very little fragmentation. There's a (very old) tool to defrag, but no one uses it because the filesystem does not suffer from fragmentation.
Newer filesystems, like ext3 or reiserfs, are even more resistant to fragmentation.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
arkane
l33t
l33t


Joined: 30 Apr 2002
Posts: 918
Location: Phoenix, AZ

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
As far as i know ext2 has very little fragmentation. There's a (very old) tool to defrag, but no one uses it because the filesystem does not suffer from fragmentation.
Newer filesystems, like ext3 or reiserfs, are even more resistant to fragmentation.


Hell, with the speed of newer harddrives and processors in the upper gigahertz range, I'm surprised work hasn't been started on a new addition to ext3 or ReiserFS that maps out the filesystem in memory and just optimizes the writes on the fly.. rewriting anything potentially in the way to a contingeous (sp?) sector of it's own.

:)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Utoxin
Guru
Guru


Joined: 19 Apr 2002
Posts: 411
Location: Springville, UT

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

arkane wrote:

Hell, with the speed of newer harddrives and processors in the upper gigahertz range, I'm surprised work hasn't been started on a new addition to ext3 or ReiserFS that maps out the filesystem in memory and just optimizes the writes on the fly.. rewriting anything potentially in the way to a contingeous (sp?) sector of it's own.

:)


Actually, XFS already does something like that. It delays writes as long as possible, to make sure that it has everything that a file will need. That way, when it does write the file to disk, it can give it a big enough block and not fragment it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Malakin
Veteran
Veteran


Joined: 14 Apr 2002
Posts: 1692
Location: Victoria BC Canada

PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2002 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since vfat is such a basic filesystem it's performance is quite good. In windows for example I get far better performance with fat32 then I do with ntfs. The fragmentation seems to be just as bad in fat32 as it is in ntfs also. This is mainly saying ntfs sucks I suppose.

Of course that's in windows not Linux. In linux my experience with the vfat driver has been good, I haven't noticed any performance issues but then I haven't actually benchmarked it like I have in windows. I keep about 100 gigs of music/video etc on fat32 partitions and it works very well.

If you use vfat I doubt you'll notice any performance issues but I wouldn't use it for any of your usual Linux partitions like Home. Maybe something like /home/me/fat32stuff
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
craftyc
Guru
Guru


Joined: 23 May 2002
Posts: 443
Location: Behind You.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2002 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maldrim wrote:
Well it is certainly possible since some distributions give the ability to intall linux on the same partition with windows. ( I think slackware, not sure)

I'm not sure about performance, other then the limited file size to 2gbs which can be annoying for video editing, but the main problem, i heard, with fat systems is heavy fragmentation which can lead to major slowdown if you don't defrag often.

Correct me if i'm wrong. =)


4Gb actually. Personally the only reason I use a FAT32 Partition is for Windows, so that I can use wine. FAT32 is very poor with fragementation. It is recommended that you defrag the partition every month or so (Diskkeeper, recommends every day! 8O). So you can see how bad it is with fragmentation.
_________________
Postcount ++
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Erik Andersson
n00b
n00b


Joined: 19 Apr 2002
Posts: 27
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2002 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know that partitions are a good thing if used correctly, and that it isn't that hard to plan a nice layout. However I can't seem to settle down when it comes to which OS and disk layout I will use, leading to an eventual mess. LVM might be useful perhaps, but I haven't checked it out very much.

I think I'll try Reiser as root next, even though ext3 and XFS worked fine. Using vfat doesn't feel very optimal perhaps, but it works, and I think I will use for the moment at least.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
arkane
l33t
l33t


Joined: 30 Apr 2002
Posts: 918
Location: Phoenix, AZ

PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2002 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Since vfat is such a basic filesystem it's performance is quite good. In windows for example I get far better performance with fat32 then I do with ntfs. The fragmentation seems to be just as bad in fat32 as it is in ntfs also. This is mainly saying ntfs sucks I suppose.


Yeah, the only real advantage to NTFS is the larger partition support (well, theoretically), and permissions. It still falls into the same pitfall as all the fats though... fragmentation.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
arkane
l33t
l33t


Joined: 30 Apr 2002
Posts: 918
Location: Phoenix, AZ

PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2002 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

I think I'll try Reiser as root next, even though ext3 and XFS worked fine. Using vfat doesn't feel very optimal perhaps, but it works, and I think I will use for the moment at least.


So let me get this straight, you'd sooner use vfat for your root partition than ext3, xfs, or reiserfs?

Someone needs to re-evaluate their priorities :)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Erik Andersson
n00b
n00b


Joined: 19 Apr 2002
Posts: 27
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2002 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I'm using ext3 for the root filesystem, I don't even think it's possible to use vfat without some extra trouble. (I know you can install Slackware on vfat so it's obviously possible). I'm basically just using it for games and music. Using space from this drive to enlarge the unix partitions is what I don't plan to do right now, the performance benefit is obviously not that impressive and the security and stability benefits are not necessary.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Gentoo Forums Forum Index Other Things Gentoo All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum