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I'm creating a shared storage server for ESX servers. The storage server is 2U Supermicro 24-bay rackmount server with 12x32GB Intel X25-e SSDs and 12x600GB Toshiba 10k SAS drives. Both SSDs and SAS drives are configured as RAID10 arrays which appear to the OS (Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS) as big virtual drives. The RAID controller has a battery backup unit.

The SSD array would be "fast" datastore and the SAS array would be "big" datastore. I'm not yet decided whether I will use NFS or ISCSI. I will try both and decide based on my assessment of the performance and ease of handling differences ratio.

The question is: which filesystem to use for "fast" and which for "big" and which mount options?

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what NICs are you using? – Chopper3 Apr 26 '11 at 16:28
@Chopper, AOC-STGN-I2S (separate ports for separate servers) – Henno Apr 27 '11 at 7:12
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Just as a general observation, unless you're testing 'teh new and shiny' (e.g. BTRFS) you almost surely want a file system that

  • Offers decent performance

  • widely used

  • maintained and developed

Frankly, only ext4 and XFS fulfill the above criteria. Both are good, you can't go horribly wrong either choice, so just choose whichever you're more familiar with or strikes your fancy. Or if you're really concerned with performance, benchmark both of them with your workload.

Wrt mount options, noatime is useful and almost surely safe in your usage. Also, since you have battery backed write cache, you can disable barriers (barrier=0).

If you choose to go with ISCSI rather than NFS, you don't even need a fs, per se. You can just export raw partitions, or more conveniently, LVM volumes.

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in this case iscsi would probably be the best choice, I say probably since some filers perform better as NFS heads (netapp).

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Erm...iSCSI isn't a file system... – Chopper3 Apr 26 '11 at 19:19

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