Ubuntu File System Benchmarking

UPDATE: The URLs below are dead. I no longer work at Canonical, and don’t know if file system benchmarking is still part of their kernel testing process.



I’ve been working to implement file system benchmarking as part of the test process that the kernel team applies to every kernel update. These are intended to help us spot performance issues. The following announcement I just sent to the Ubuntu kernel mailing list covers the specifics:

[EDIT] Fixed tags to enable the copied email text to flow.


The Ubuntu kernel team has implemented the first of what we hope will be
a growing set of benchmarks which are run against Ubuntu kernel
releases. The first two benchmarks to be included are iozone file system
tests, with and without fsync enabled. These are being run as part of
the testing applied to all kernel releases.

== Disclaimers ==


1. These benchmarks are not intended to indicate any performance metrics
in any real world or end user situations. They are intended to expose
possible performance differences between releases, and not to reflect
any particular use case.

2. Fixes for file system bugs reduce performance in some cases.
Performance decreases between releases may be a side effect of fixing
bugs, and not a bug in themselves.

3. While assessments of performance are valuable, they are not the only
criteria that should be used to select a file system. In addition to
benchmarks, file systems must be tested for a variety of use cases and
verified for correctness under a variety of conditions.

== General Information ==

1. The top level benchmarking results page is located here:
This page is linked from the top level index at kernel.ubuntu.com

2. The tests are run on the same bare-metal hardware for each release,
on spinning magnetic media.

3. Test partitions are sized at twice system memory size to prevent the
entire test data set from being cached.

4. File systems tested are ext2, ext3, ext4, xfs, and btrfs

5. For each release, each test is run on each file system five times,
and then the results are averaged.

== Types of results ==

There are three types of results. To find performance regressions, we
(the Ubuntu kernel team) are primarily interested in the second and
third types.

1. The Iozone test generates charts of the data for each individual file
system type. To navigate to these, select the links under the “Ran” or
“Passed” columns in the list of results for each benchmark, then select
the test name (“iozone”, for example) from that page. The graphs for
each run for each file system type will be available from that page in
the “Graphs” column.

The second and third result sets are generated by the
iozone-results-comparator tool, located here:


2. Charts comparing performance among all tested file systems for each
individual release. To navigate to these, select the links under the
“Ran” or “Passed” columns in the list of results, then select the
“charts” link at the top of that page.

3. Charts comparing different releases to each other. These comparisons
are generated for each file system type, and are linked at the bottom of
the index page for each benchmark. These comparisons include:

3A. Comparison between the latest kernel for each Ubuntu series (i.e.
raring, saucy, etc).

3B. Comparison between the latest kernel for each LTS release.

3C. comparison of successive versions within each series.

About Steve

I'm Steve Conklin, AI4QR I'm employed by Salesforce, on the SRE team for Heroku. Interests include Linux, open source software and hardware, electronics and music, and amateur radio.
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5 Responses to Ubuntu File System Benchmarking

  1. bryanquigley says:

    Why not extend the phoronix-test-suite.com suite for this? What was it missing?

    The graphs do look a bit cleaner..

    • Steve says:

      The main reason is that our test infrastructure is geared to use the autotest framework, and it’s really easy for us to integrate individual tests and benchmarks this way. We’re able to directly integrate the individual tests (like iozone) from their upstreams, and add tools like the results grapher which generates the most interesting charts.

      The second is that this also gives us the flexibility to be more rigorous in our testing, and do things like average multiple runs.

  2. Wilson says:

    Why not to add a SSD benchmark too?

  3. Pingback: Ubuntu File System Benchmarking « LinuxLife Blog

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