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Date:	Wed, 14 Mar 2012 08:50:02 -0400
From:	Ted Ts'o <>
To:	Lukas Czerner <>
Cc:	Phillip Susi <>,
	Andreas Dilger <>,
	Jacek Luczak <>,
	"" <>,
	linux-fsdevel <>,
	LKML <>,
	"" <>
Subject: Re: getdents - ext4 vs btrfs performance

On Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 09:12:02AM +0100, Lukas Czerner wrote:
> I kind of like the idea about having the separate btree with inode
> numbers for the directory reading, just because it does not affect
> allocation policy nor the write performance which is a good thing. Also
> it has been done before in btrfs and it works very well for them. The
> only downside (aside from format change) is the extra step when removing
> the directory entry, but the positives outperform the negatives.

Well, there will be extra (journaled!) block reads and writes involved
when adding or removing directory entries.  So the performance on
workloads that do a large number of directory adds and removed will
have to be impacted.  By how much is not obvious, but it will be
something which is measurable.

> Maybe this might be even done in a way which does not require format
> change. We can have new inode flag (say EXT4_INUM_INDEX_FL) which will
> tell us that there is a inode number btree to use on directory reads.
> Then the pointer to the root of that tree would be stored at the end of
> the root block of the hree (of course if there is still some space for
> it) and the rest is easy.

You can make it be a RO_COMPAT change instead of an INCOMPAT change,

And if you want to do it as simply as possible, we could just recycle
the current htree approach for the second tree, and simply store the
root in another set of directory blocks.  But by putting the index
nodes in the directory blocks, masquerading as deleted directories, it
means that readdir() has to cycle through them and ignore the index

The alternate approach is to use physical block numbers instead of
logical block numbers for the index blocks, and to store it separately
from the blocks containing actual directory entries.  But if we do
that for the inumber tree, the next question that arise is maybe we
should do that for the hash tree as well --- and then once you upon
that can of worms, it gets a lot more complicated.

So the question that really arises here is how wide open do we want to
leave the design space, and whether we are optimizing for the best
possible layout change ignoring the amount of implementation work it
might require, or whether we keep things as simple as possible from a
code change perspective.

There are good arguments that can be made either way, and a lot
depends on the quality of the students you can recruit, the amount of
time they have, and how much review time it will take out of the core
team during the design and implementation phase.


						- Ted
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