Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have 200+G of photos I usually keep on my main computer so that they are always available. File sizes range from 2-3MB JPGs to 10-12MB RAW files.

I thought the nice old ext3 could be abandoned in favor of newer-technology filesystem (think extents and delayed allocation...).

ext4 could be a good shot, but I'm afraid about its young age (I experienced lockups on Ubuntu Jaunty/kernel 2.6.28)

I'm thinking about using xfs or jfs, which both use extents.

Is there a clear advantage in one over the other?


share|improve this question

closed as primarily opinion-based by Ward, mdpc, Andrew Schulman, HBruijn, Cristian Ciupitu Nov 29 '14 at 9:33

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

up vote 3 down vote accepted

XFS is usually faster, but testing of very recent kernels has indicated that this quality has been fubar'd. But, faster is not always better.

To me, photos are valuable archives, so I would use the most compatible, best supported, journalling filesystem available, which would be ext3 (though I would accept an argument that I just described reiserfs).

share|improve this answer
+1 - you want reliability over performance. – pjc50 Sep 23 '09 at 12:10
You convinced me, I'll stay with ext3, but just for the reliability issues, some performance wouldn't hurt with +50K files, though... – Metiu Sep 25 '09 at 13:25
The only performance you'll be missing is database-type read/writes. For long consecutive reads like photo data, most any filesystem will do, performance-wise. – kmarsh Sep 28 '09 at 13:18

go for ext3 for safetyv(it's mature and behaves ok) xfs is another good choice, though until now I haven't had the chance to recover a broken xfs partition :)

share|improve this answer

I'd go with XFS just because of the large number of files and the total size of the collection.
Will this be an external drive or internal?

share|improve this answer
It will be an internal drive. I prefer having them on a fast link to browse/edit – Metiu Sep 24 '09 at 8:42
Then XFS or ext3 with noatime mount options will do the job. – ewwhite Sep 25 '09 at 18:02

go with XFS which is really great for storing large files, but be warned: never-ever pull USB cable out of computer while XFS pendrive is still mounted, it will destroy/damage your XFS filesystem at a high chance.

You should also consider encrypting the filesystem. Various methods existing for this, by my best practice is the script below:

$ cat bin/encmount 
HASH=`/usr/sbin/sha256 -x`
echo 0 `/sbin/blockdev --getsize $1` crypt aes-plain $HASH 0 $1 0 | /sbin/dmsetup create $2


$ sudo sh bin/encmount /dev/sdb1 encpen
Enter passphrase:

you can then mount /dev/mapper/encpen as a block device, while /dev/sdb1 (my original pendrive path) are encrpyted. of course it's necessary to create an XFS filesystem on top of the newly created block device (/dev/mapper/encpen), and the original block device content (/dev/sdb1 in this case) gets shredded during doing so.

be sure you execute these commands before you pull out pendrive:

umount /dev/mapper/encpen
dmsetup remove encpen

Your other option is to use ext2/ext3, as there's Ext2 IFS For Windows to let Windows read/write your filesystem as ext2, but in this case you lost the performance gain on XFS large file handling and will not be able to encrypt the drive.

Always backup your data, for example, I always keep 2 backups of my data in 2 different place, neither of them is close to the site of the backup subject. Backups shall be encrypted also.

Best regards

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.