Linux Troubleshooting Make Easy.

Linux Learning & Troubleshooting Make Easy.

EXT4 File System



Compatibility

Ext4 was released as a functionally complete and stable filesystem in Linux 2.6.28, and it's getting included in all the modern distros (in some cases as the default fs), so if you are using a modern distro, it's possible that you already have Ext4 support and you don't need to modify your system to run Ext4.




Any existing Ext3 filesystem can be mounted as Ext4 without requiring any on-disk format changes. However, it is possible to upgrade an Ext3 filesystem to take advantage of some Ext4 features by running a couple of commands in read-only mode (described in the next section). If you need the advantages of Ext4 on a production system, you can upgrade the filesystem. The procedure is safe and doesn't risk your data (obviously, backup of critical data is recommended, even if you aren't updating your filesystem :). Ext4 will use the new data structures only on new data, the old structures will remain untouched and it will be possible to read/modify them when needed. This means that if you convert your filesystem to Ext4 you won't be able to go back to Ext3 again.

Bigger File System and File Sizes

Currently, Ext3 support 16 TiB of maximum file system size and 2 TiB of maximum file size. Ext4 adds 48-bit block addressing, so it will have 1 EiB1 of maximum file system size and 16 TiB of maximum file size. 


Running RHEL/CentOS

Ext4 is currently included as a Technology Preview in RHEL 5.3. To use it, update to 5.3 or later, boot into 2.6.18-128.el5 or higher.
You need below package to support EXT4 file system..

    yum install e4fsprogs     

Running openSuSE

Ext4 ext4 is the default filesystem for openSuSE 11.2. Converting to ext4 from earlier versions should be done just like on any other initrd-based system:

 Run tune2fs -O extents,uninit_bg /dev/ROOT   

 Change ext3 to ext4 in /etc/fstab  

 Add "ext4" to INITRD_MODULES in /etc/sysconfig/kernel
  Run sudo mkinitrd (takes about 2 min here, dunno why)

 Run e2fsck on the ROOT fs. As this is currently mounted, you might want to change  into single user mode (init 1) and remount read-only (mount -o remount,ro /) or  just reboot and the bootprocess will complain a bit and run e2fsck anyway - don't  know if this is The Right Thing To Do though.

Running Debian

In Debian Lenny (Stable), the following current packages provide ext4 support:

 ext4dev module in the linux-image package (2.6.26-19lenny2)    

 e2fsprogs (1.41.3-1)     

It should be noted that the stock 2.6.26 ext4 has problems with delayed allocation and with filesystems with non-extent based files. So until Debian starts shipping a 2.6.27 based kernel or a 2.6.26 kernel with at least the 2.6.26-ext4-7 patchset, you should mount ext4dev filesystems using -o nodelalloc and only use freshly created filesystems using "mke2fs -t ext4dev".

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