Chosing filesystem

  • Some years ago, there was a forum moderator that was pushing BTRFS on Linux newbies largely because it was integrated into the kernel. I never understood his reasoning or the "unfounded trust". Since most newb's don't have backup, I saw recommending BTRFS as a potential disaster from a forum support perspective. Thankfully, it wasn't widely adopted.

    Is it that catastrophic? It's not recommended to be used in RAID5, but it's the default filesystem for both Fedora and Suse (openSUSE and SLES) and has been for years. I'm not aware of reports that large parts of Fedora and Suse users are losing their data.


    I can't speak from my own experience though, I have only ever used ext filesystems.

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    Is it that catastrophic? It's not recommended to be used in RAID5, but it's the default filesystem for both Fedora and Suse (openSUSE and SLES) and has been for years

    Workstation / client use of a filesystem (Suse / Fedora) is a bit different. Much as it is with Windows, client problems are frequently written off to the user and the idea that client hardware is often bottom on the barrel. Given the complexity of client software, viruses, etc., clients need to be rebuilt from time to time. (Sometimes as often as just two or three years.) Rebuilding a client is a broadly accepted solution to client problems.

    Servers are another matter. Servers tend to concentrate irreplaceable data in one place. Accordingly, long term stability is ranked much higher. Two additional factors of significance, when it comes to Linux noobs, is there's this attraction to RAID5 (without a good understanding of what it is) AND, rather than giving thought to backup, a noob will invest their money in a single platform with large drives. Since large drives are still relatively expensive, noobs tend to shy away from spending additional money on drives, for the needed data backup / redundancy, because of their perception of the safety they have in RAID5.

    With all of that noted, whether it's a client or a server, hard drive issues are inevitable. Since server OS's are far more stable, when compared to a client, there's a good chance that the first issues users will experience might be with data drives.

    Now, throw BTRFS RAID5 problems and BTRFS filesystem recoveries (difficult to nearly impossible) into the mix, along with users that have no backup. Yeah, from a forum support perspective, that would be a freaking disaster. It's already bad enough, as it is, with home users insisting on using mdadm RAID without backup and SBC users setting up RAID over USB connections. If even 1 in 100 to 250 users had a problem with BTRFS, the forum would be overrun. The last thing this forum needs, from a support perspective, is the wide adoption of unstable filesystem being used on data drives.

  • Is it that catastrophic? It's not recommended to be used in RAID5, but it's the default filesystem for both Fedora and Suse (openSUSE and SLES) and has been for years. I'm not aware of reports that large parts of Fedora and Suse users are losing their data.


    I can't speak from my own experience though, I have only ever used ext filesystems.

    It's already been said that BTRFS profiles other than RAID56 are and have been stable for some time. But SUSE, and more recently Fedora, are not primarily advocating BRTFS for bulk data use. They picked BRTFS as the default for the "root partition" of installs with snapshots managed by "snapper". The same thing has been adopted by smaller distros like "Spiral Linux". With pre & post snapshots taken after each apt upgrade a BTRFS aware version of GRUB allows booting into the various OS snapshots.


    The OP raised the question of BTRFS RAID5 or ZFS RAIDZ1/2 for bulk data, which has mostly been the focus of this thread.


    By all means use BTRFS RAID1 with multiple drives , but there are caveats users ought to be aware of. There's even one thing that BTRFS offers which ZFS currently does not, namely "server side copy" both within and between subvolumes.

  • Now, throw BTRFS RAID5 problems and BTRFS filesystem recoveries (difficult to nearly impossible) into the mix, along with users that have no backup. Yeah, from a forum support perspective, that would be a freaking disaster. It's already bad enough, as it is, with home users insisting on using mdadm RAID without backup and SBC users setting up RAID over USB connections. If even 1 in 100 to 250 users had a problem with BTRFS, the forum would be overrun. The last thing this forum needs, from a support perspective, is the wide adoption of unstable filesystem being used on data drives.

    Fair enough. I can understand that!

    It's already been said that BTRFS profiles other than RAID56 are and have been stable for some time. But SUSE, and more recently Fedora, are not primarily advocating BRTFS for bulk data use. They picked BRTFS as the default for the "root partition" of installs with snapshots managed by "snapper". The same thing has been adopted by smaller distros like "Spiral Linux". With pre & post snapshots taken after each apt upgrade a BTRFS aware version of GRUB allows booting into the various OS snapshots.


    The OP raised the question of BTRFS RAID5 or ZFS RAIDZ1/2 for bulk data, which has mostly been the focus of this thread.


    By all means use BTRFS RAID1 with multiple drives , but there are caveats users ought to be aware of. There's even one thing that BTRFS offers which ZFS currently does not, namely "server side copy" both within and between subvolumes.

    Thanks for your answer and sorry for hijacking this thread. I was just curious. I have no plans on setting up a RAID on my server but I have been playing with the thought of using btrfs on my laptop..

  • Fair enough. I can understand that!

    Thanks for your answer and sorry for hijacking this thread. I was just curious. I have no plans on setting up a RAID on my server but I have been playing with the thought of using btrfs on my laptop..

    BTRFS on a laptop could be a good choice depending on the distro you use. Tools like snapper, timeshift give you snapshot management, while btrbk can be used for incremental snapshot backups to another device. The are plenty of web articles/posts explaining how to handle encryption alongside BTRFS.

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