Coffeehouse Thread

28 posts

Forum Read Only

This forum has been made read only by the site admins. No new threads or comments can be added.

Will MS ever replace NTFS? Can NTFS be improved?

Back to Forum: Coffeehouse
  • User profile image
    cescotto

    After seeing how much my machines NTFS partitions get fragmented I always wonder if MS will ever replace NTFS.

    From the defragmenters interfaces I could see that most of the times all the files are on NTFS partitions are written contiguously: why doesn't MS improve the way files are saved so that they aren't stored contiguously but instead they're scattered among all the DISK in some smart ways in order to reduce fragmentation?

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    cescotto wrote:
    
    After seeing how much my machines NTFS partitions get fragmented I always wonder if MS will ever replace NTFS.

    From the defragmenters interfaces I could see that most of the times all the files are on NTFS partitions are written contiguously: why doesn't MS improve the way files are saved so that they aren't stored contiguously but instead they're scattered among all the DISK in some smart ways in order to reduce fragmentation?


    Wait, what?  Are you suggesting that they pre-fragment the files?

  • User profile image
    Cornelius Ellsonpeter

    I always thought the point was to have files in continuous blocks...from my understanding, it improves access times. I'm not sure how the science of hard drive access times has changed as media has gotten bigger in storage size (yet smaller in physical size).

  • User profile image
    cescotto

    ScanIAm wrote:
    
    cescotto wrote: 
    After seeing how much my machines NTFS partitions get fragmented I always wonder if MS will ever replace NTFS.

    From the defragmenters interfaces I could see that most of the times all the files are on NTFS partitions are written contiguously: why doesn't MS improve the way files are saved so that they aren't stored contiguously but instead they're scattered among all the DISK in some smart ways in order to reduce fragmentation?


    Wait, what?  Are you suggesting that they pre-fragment the files?


    No, that they save them contiguously (no file fragments) but in different locations of the disk.

  • User profile image
    julianbenja​min

    cescotto wrote:
    
    After seeing how much my machines NTFS partitions get fragmented I always wonder if MS will ever replace NTFS.

    From the defragmenters interfaces I could see that most of the times all the files are on NTFS partitions are written contiguously: why doesn't MS improve the way files are saved so that they aren't stored contiguously but instead they're scattered among all the DISK in some smart ways in order to reduce fragmentation?


    Because the EU will force them to remove it as it stifles competition. 

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    julianbenjamin wrote:
    Because the EU will force them to remove it as it stifles competition. 


    You jest, but seriously, Windows is practically hardcoded to only support NTFS or FAT32 for the system volume.

    But I'd love to ext3 support on Windows anyway.

  • User profile image
    cescotto

    julianbenjamin wrote:
    Because the EU will force them to remove it as it stifles competition. 


    It's a natural evolution of the filesystem so I don't see why the EU should complain. They can release a nice "Windows M" with the old writing strategies for NTFS Tongue Out

  • User profile image
    cescotto

    sirhomer wrote:
    


    ?

    When I am talking about scattered files I don't mean FRAGMENTED files, fragmentation happens only when parts of the SAME file are not saved contiguously on the disk.

    If NTFS instead of saving one file next to the other one would leave for example 10mb of space between each file saved (this space should depend on the amount of free available space on disk) there will be a decent amount of spaces for files changes.

    What happens now:

    FILE1-FILE2_part1-FILE3-FILE2_part2-FILE4-FILE2_part3-FILE5

    What should happen:

    FILE1-free_space-FILE2-free_space-FILE3-free_space-etc so that if one of those files is modified and increased size there will still be enough space to save the rest of the file without having to create fragments.

    The windows defragger could then optimize the system files by finding patterns in the way the files are loaded (for example tracking down the sequential access for the boot files and for the files loaded when each application runs) and move those files next to the other.

  • User profile image
    cescotto

    sirhomer wrote:
    If Windows was to get a more modern file system, they should use one that already exists like Reiser4, ZFS, ext4, I think. ext4 would be the best since most Linux and many UNIX operating systems use the ext* FS and they are mostly backwards compatable.


    The problem is not the filesystem structure, it's how windows saves the data.

  • User profile image
    megame

    NTFS already saves files in defragmented, if there's enogh defragmented free space, and file size is known in advance.

    Problem is that if file gets created and then appended into FS does not know how big file will be and moving file while writting (do that it remains defragmented) would be very slow.

    Placing File - free space - File is what already is used (clusters) - just increase the cluster size (up to 64K) - but the larger the cluster more overhead you'll have... If you space files more (like 1 MB or more or with more than one cluster) what will happen when there's no enough defragmented free space for new files? (Remember files get deleted as well and free space gets fragmented as well). Also, not all files get modified - for executables and dlls this would be waste of space.

    At least with defragment tools you can defragment the FS (or most of the files) and defragment free space at the point in time when you choose.

  • User profile image
    Alkaline​Prodigy

    When longhorn was announched it was rumered to have a file system called winfs but it went to the wayside because of time contrants.

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    AlkalineProdigy wrote:
    When longhorn was announched it was rumered to have a file system called winfs but it went to the wayside because of time contrants.

    Not exactly. WinFS was never designed to be a replacement for NTFS.

  • User profile image
    cescotto

    megame wrote:
    

    NTFS already saves files in defragmented, if there's enogh defragmented free space, and file size is known in advance.



    Unfortunately not many applications specify the file size when saving the files. However even if the file is specified there will still be the problem when the file is edited and the size increases

    megame wrote:
    
    Problem is that if file gets created and then appended into FS does not know how big file will be and moving file while writting (do that it remains defragmented) would be very slow.


    I'm not saying that it should be moved while writing, I'm just saying that it should be saved in other places and not just after the first free block space is found.

    megame wrote:
    
    Placing File - free space - File is what already is used (clusters) - just increase the cluster size (up to 64K) - but the larger the cluster more overhead you'll have... If you space files more (like 1 MB or more or with more than one cluster) what will happen when there's no enough defragmented free space for new files? (Remember files get deleted as well and free space gets fragmented as well). Also, not all files get modified - for executables and dlls this would be waste of space.


    When there wouldn't be any more contiguous space fragmentation would start, but with newer HDs that are becoming enormous it will take time before all the space on the HD is filled.

    megame wrote:
    
    At least with defragment tools you can defragment the FS (or most of the files) and defragment free space at the point in time when you choose.


    Real defragmentation can be done later (with a background service that can also optimize system files on disk sorting them to make programs load faster) what I'm just talking about is not saving the files starting exactly where the first free space cluster is located because that way partitions usually get fragmented a lot faster.

    BTW I don't think that if the free space gets "fragmented" (I don't think we can really talk about free space fragmentation however) there would be any performance decrease.

  • User profile image
    Larry​Osterman

    cescotto wrote:
    
    After seeing how much my machines NTFS partitions get fragmented I always wonder if MS will ever replace NTFS.

    From the defragmenters interfaces I could see that most of the times all the files are on NTFS partitions are written contiguously: why doesn't MS improve the way files are saved so that they aren't stored contiguously but instead they're scattered among all the DISK in some smart ways in order to reduce fragmentation?


    NTFS does that, if it can.  But once your disk gets full, there's a limit to how much it can do.

    In general, you should keep between 10% and 20% of the disk free at all times to get the best results.

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    cescotto wrote:
    

    BTW I don't think that if the free space gets "fragmented" (I don't think we can really talk about free space fragmentation however) there would be any performance decrease.


    lf you make the holes too small or too large you'd cause file fragmentation to occur much earlier. FWIW, space allocation for arbitrary sized objects is N-P complete, there isn't an easy solution to solve the problem.

  • User profile image
    Secret​Software

    hard drive fragmentation is a problem and it needs to be solved.

  • User profile image
    jolson88

    PaoloM wrote:
    
    AlkalineProdigy wrote: When longhorn was announched it was rumered to have a file system called winfs but it went to the wayside because of time contrants.

    Not exactly. WinFS was never designed to be a replacement for NTFS.


    QFT. WinFS was never meant to replace NTFS. It was simply bundled functionality on top of NTFS.

    Plus, there _have_ been improvements to NTFS.

    In Vista and Longhorn Server, we now have "Self-Healing" NTFS. "Self-Healing" is perhaps not the best title, but think of it as inline defrag. It will prevent your files from being as fragmented as they were in the past while accessing them (it's not too invasive though so the performance impact is minimal).

    Not to mention Transactional NTFS, either. NTFS now is the first fully transactional file system in a major OS that has full ACID semantics with an API that developers can leverage to incorporate with other transaction-aware applications like SQL. Not only that, but SMB2 is getting transaction semantics also with Vista/Longhorn Server. So, you can now have distributed file operations across the network that will plug into Transactional NTFS features. This enables you to start a transaction, copy/delete/move many files to many different machines, and if any of them fail, they will all rollback automatically. Not only that, but since they are fully ACID, they will all be isolated so no application (including Windows Explorer) will see the new files/versions until the transaction is committed.

    Think about XCopy website deployment with TxF (Transactional NTFS). With Vista/Longhorn Server, I can start a transaction, deploy my website to all my servers in my web farm, and then committ the transaction. If any servers are down or the file deployment fails for any reason, none of them will be deployed. The impact to your customers? If doing this, you won't have to bring your website down and do offline deployment to prevent different servers or directories from having different versions of different files. Since IIS won't see any of the file changes until commit, all servers, all directories, all files show up at the exact same time to IIS across your entire web farm.

  • User profile image
    DigitalDud

    NTFS is a really nice file system, why bother replacing it? It's got so many features as it is, and its one of the few that do Unicode file names.

Conversation locked

This conversation has been locked by the site admins. No new comments can be made.