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Linux 2000 UK Linux Developers' Conference
Linux for the Enterprise
7 - 9 July 2000, Hammersmith (West London)

Hans Reiser


Reiserfs is a journaling file system using a variant on classical balanced tree algorithms. We store not just filenames but the files themselves in a balanced tree. Balanced tree algorithms are generally speaking fast and robust in their performance without the special case poor performance that can be seen in traditional file system algorithms (which perform poorly for large directories and small files).

Compared to the ext2fs conventional block-allocation-based file system running under the same operating system and employing the same buffering code the results suggest that these algorithms are overall more efficient, and are becoming more so every passing month. Loosely speaking, every month we find another performance cranny that needs work, and we fix it, and every month we find some way of improving our overall general usage performance.

The improvement in small file space and time performance suggests that we may now revisit a common OS design assumption that one should aggregate small objects using layers above the file system layer. Being more effective at small files DOES NOT make us less effective for other files. This is a general purpose FS, and in fact we claim it is more general purpose than traditional architectures.

Reiserfs has a commitment to opening up the FS design to contributions, and we are now now adding plug-ins so that you can create your own types of directories and files. A variety of projects to add features to reiserfs are underway, including squid cache optimization, HSM, user space transactions distributed Reiserfs, plugins, and object oriented filesystem features.

Hans Reiser started Namesys in 1993, and currently employs 12 programmers. Sponsors for ReiserFS include SuSE.com, mp3.com, integratedlinux.com, and bigstorage.com.

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