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Date:   Wed, 28 Jul 2021 11:36:27 +0200
From:   Mikhail Morfikov <>
To:     Theodore Ts'o <>
Subject: Re: Is it safe to use the bigalloc feature in the case of ext4

Thanks for the answer.

I have one question. Basically there's the /etc/mke2fs.conf file and 
I've created the following stanza in it:

bigdata = {
                errors = remount-ro
                features = has_journal,extent,huge_file,flex_bg,metadata_csum,64bit,dir_nlink,extra_isize,bigalloc,^uninit_bg,sparse_super2
                inode_size = 256
                inode_ratio = 4194304
                cluster_size = 4M
                reserved_ratio = 0
                lazy_itable_init = 0
                lazy_journal_init = 0

It looks like the cluster_size parameter is ignored in such case (I've 
tried both 4M and 4194304 values), and the filesystem was created with 
64K cluster size (via mkfs -t bigdata -L bigdata /dev/sdb1 ), which is 
the default when the bigalloc feature is set. 

So it looks like the cluster_size doesn't do anything when set in 
/etc/mke2fs.conf . When I used the -C 4M flag (i.e. 
mkfs -t bigdata -L bigdata -C 4M /dev/sdb1), the cluster size was set to 
4M as it should.

Is something wrong with the cluster_size parameter set in the 
/etc/mke2fs.conf file?

# mkfs -V
mkfs from util-linux 2.36.1

On 28/07/2021 01.01, Theodore Ts'o wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 23, 2021 at 05:30:13PM +0200, Mikhail Morfikov wrote:
>> In the man ext4(5) we can read the following:
>>     Warning: The bigalloc feature is still under development, 
>>     and may not be fully supported with your kernel or may 
>>     have various bugs. Please see the web page 
>> for details. 
>>     May clash with delayed allocation (see nodelalloc mount 
>>     option).
>> According to the link above, the info is dated back to 2013, 
>> which is a little bit ancient.
>> What's the current status of the feature? Is it safe to use 
>> bigalloc on several TiB hard disks where only big files will be 
>> stored?
> Yes; the places where bigalloc is perhaps not as well tested is
> FALLOC_FL_PUNCH_HOLE.  Bigalloc is also not very efficient for large
> directories (where we allocate a full cluster for each directory
> block).  Older kernels did not handle ENOSPC errors when delayed
> allocation was enabled, but that has since been fixed, and bigalloc is
> passing file system regression tests, so it should safe to use as
> you've described.
> Cheers,
> 					- Ted

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