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Date:   Fri, 17 Jun 2022 12:38:20 -0400
From:   Santosh S <>
Subject: Overwrite faster than fallocate

Dear ext4 developers,

This is my test - preallocate a large file (2G) and then do sequential
4K direct-io writes to that file, with fdatasync after every write.
I am preallocating using fallocate mode 0. I noticed that if the 2G
file is pre-written rather than fallocate'd I get more than twice the
throughput. I could reproduce this with fio. The storage is nvme.
Kernel version is 5.3.18 on Suse.

1. Clear the location
# rm -rf /mnt/nvme1n1/*

2. Run fio using fallocate
# taskset -c 0 ./fio -directory=/mnt/nvme1n1 -ioengine=io_uring
-fdatasync=1 -direct=1 -rw=write -iodepth=128 -iodepth_batch=64
-iodepth_batch_complete=64 -fallocate=native -bs=4k -size=2G -thread=1
-time_based=0 -numjobs=1 -group_reporting -output=fio.out

3. Results
write: IOPS=188k, BW=732MiB/s (768MB/s)(2048MiB/2796msec)

4. Run the same test again, this time the file already exists from the
previous run.
write: IOPS=420k, BW=1640MiB/s (1719MB/s)(2048MiB/1249msec)

It doesn't matter if I pass -fallocate to fio or not in step 4.

When I run ftrace (and if I am understanding the o/p correctly) I see
that in the first run ext4_convert_unwritten_extents() seems to be
taking a lot of time. This call is not present in the second run.

 110)  <...>-11449   | # 1102.026 us |      } /*
ext4_convert_unwritten_extents [ext4] */
 110)  <...>-11449   |   0.117 us    |      ext4_release_io_end [ext4]();
 110)  <...>-11449   | # 1102.421 us |    } /* ext4_put_io_end [ext4] */
 110)  <...>-11449   | # 1102.599 us |  } /* ext4_end_io_dio [ext4] */

Am I doing something wrong or is this difference expected? Any
suggestion to get a better throughput without actually pre-writing the

Thank you for your time,

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