Filesystems (jfs, xfs, ext3) comparison on Debian

File system is a method for storing and organizing computer files and the data they contain to make it easy to find and access them and there are a lot of type of file systems : shared file systems, database file systems, network file systems, disk file systems …
In Linux there are many disk file systems available, i felt the need to know more about some file systems performance on my old box, so i decided to do a benchmark essay.
In this studies we will look at the disk file systems and specially JFS (The IBM Journaled File System), XFS and ext3 (Third Extended File system).
This benchmark essay is based on some real-world tasks appropriate for a file server with older generation hardware (Pentium 4, IDE hard-drive).
I used an advanced automated tool named Bonnie++, a benchmark suite that is aimed at performing a number of simple tests of hard drive and file system performance. you can find more information about it at

Description of Hardware used at tests:

processor : Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 2xCPU 3.00GHz
RAM : 1287404 kB
Controller : 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) IDE Controller
Hard drive:
$ sudo /usr/sbin/smartctl -i /dev/hdb

Model Family: Seagate Maxtor DiamondMax 20
Device Model: MAXTOR STM3802110A
Serial Number: 9LR4B9T3
Firmware Version: 3.AAJ
User Capacity: 80 026 361 856 bytes
Device is: In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is: 7
ATA Standard is: Exact ATA specification draft version not indicated
Local Time is: Sat Aug 8 19:10:53 2009 UTC
SMART support is: Available – device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

$ cat /etc/issue; uname -a
Debian GNU/Linux squeeze/sid
Linux aldebaran 2.6.29 #2 SMP Thu Apr 2 20:37:46 UTC 2009 i686 GNU/Linux

All optional daemons killed (crond,sshd,httpd,…)
In this essay i used 3 partitions with 26GB for each one, the first partitions contains the jfs file systems the second contains the xfs file systems and the third contains ext3 file systems.

$ sudo parted /dev/hdb
GNU Parted 1.8.8
Using /dev/hdb
Welcome to GNU Parted! Type ‘help’ to view a list of commands.
(parted) p
Model: MAXTOR STM3802110A (ide)
Disk /dev/hdb: 80,0GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: gpt

Number Start End Size File system Name Flags
1 17,4kB 26,0GB 26,0GB jfs jfs
2 26,0GB 52,0GB 26,0GB xfs xfs
3 52,0GB 78,0GB 26,0GB ext3 ext3

I install the file systems on each partition :

$ sudo jfs_mkfs /dev/hdb1
$ sudo mkfs.xfs /dev/hdb2
$ sudo mkfs.ext3 /dev/hdb3

I make directories and i mount them :
$ mkdir jfs xfs ext3
$ sudo mount /dev/hdb1 jfs/
$ sudo mount /dev/hdb2 xfs/
$ sudo mount /dev/hdb3 ext3/

Later i rund bonnie++ this :
$ for i in *; do sudo /usr/sbin/bonnie++ -u 1000:1000 -d `pwd`/$i -q > $i.csv ; sleep 20; done
sleeping time is for freeing the busy resources, thanks bortzemyer for the tips 🙂
And i get this great result detailed


We can see that there are not big difference between these filesystem, even JFS is useless of cpu and XFS and ext3 have better output/intput usage.
Well XFS and ext3 filesystems still a solid choice in the long list of quality Linux filesystems.


Author: Ali MEZGANI

My name is MEZGANI Ali. I was born back in 1978 in Rabat Morocco. My interests are Debian Linux , programming , science and music.

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