Re: File System conversion -- ideas

From: Svein Ove Aas (
Date: Sun Jul 06 2003 - 14:30:23 EST

Hash: SHA1

mandag 30. juni 2003, 15:26, skrev Jesse Pollard:

> You are ASSUMING that the new filesystem requires lessthan or equal amount
> of metadata. This is NOT always true. A conversion of a full EXT2 to
> Riserfs would fail simply because there is no free space to expand the
> needed additional overhead.
> Going in the other direction usually is possible (again, depending on the
> filesystem) but there are exceptions... Try converting an EXT2 to DosFS.
> In place. And maintain a recoverable state when aborted.
> Not gonna happen.
> Too much depends on what the target filesystem is, and what it may require.
> Consider another - switching to an extent filesystem... If the datablocks
> don't move, then you need MORE extents than the current indirect pointers.
> And each extent is LARGER than the indirect pointers.
> Then you have to compress/condense the extents (requiring shuffling data
> blocks around to reduce the number of extents). Each requires free space
> to do it's work, and the amount of free blocks is not the same.
> Faster to do a copy. more reliable too. and recoverable.

What this boils down to is, "there may not be enough space".
Personally I prefer incrementally resizing LVM partitions for conversion
anyway, but I'll take a stab at this.

Simple solution: In your conversion routines, allocate a chunk of another
filesystem (just another file), and use that for scratch space. Journalling
and the like won't get much harder, so why not?
And you can easily expand the file if you need to.

Problem: You might wind up with a 99%-converted filesystem and not have enough
space to do without the scratch file. This could be bad.
If you can mount the filesystem as-is, then simply deleting a few large files
would allow the conversion to complete. Otherwise you'll have to resize the
underlying partition and the partial FS - difficult, but doable.

I'm think this idea ranks under "cool, but difficult and not quite necessary".
Union mounts coupled with LVM and online resizing (which both Reiser3.6 and
Reiser4 support, I presume) would render it irrelevant anyway; even without
them, it can still be done with just LVM if taking the filesystem offline for
a few hours is okay.

And if it isn't then you can likely afford some backup tape.

- - Svein Ove Aas
Version: GnuPG v1.2.2 (GNU/Linux)


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