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Thread: The dangers of using btrfs and snapper

  1. #11
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    Default Re: The dangers of using btrfs and snapper

    Regarding drive space: My SSD (root partition) is 256 GB big. With the final packages installed, I'm using less than 80 GB. This should mean that almost 170 GB of free space were left. I don't know how the snapshot system uses that.

    As for version: I installed Leap 15 then upgraded it to Tumbleweed. The issue was noticed when I had already finished configuring my system thus switched all packages to TW.
    openSUSE Tumbleweed x64, KDE Framework 5

  2. #12
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    Default Re: The dangers of using btrfs and snapper

    Quote Originally Posted by MirceaKitsune View Post
    Regarding drive space: My SSD (root partition) is 256 GB big. With the final packages installed, I'm using less than 80 GB. This should mean that almost 170 GB of free space were left. I don't know how the snapshot system uses that.

    As for version: I installed Leap 15 then upgraded it to Tumbleweed. The issue was noticed when I had already finished configuring my system thus switched all packages to TW.
    Hi
    Ahh, I'm guessing the switch may have created large snapshots which probably needed a manual cleanup perhaps. Now that is not the filesystems fault, snapper and snapshots

    I have 60GB, 128GB and one 240GB SSD's here with /home on btrfs, separate data partition.... all my setups are 40GB for /.

    On one Tumbleweed system I see ~6.5GB allocated but this is a recent install. Other Tumbleweed system has 12.5GB allocated. This system is running SLES 15 with 10GB allocated. My openSUSE Leap 42.3 system has 9.3GB allocated. My SLED 12 SP3 system which has been through numerous upgrades and has snaper running has 24GB allocated. Have four other laptops here, not sure where they at... need to fire them up, plus four RPi3's with 16GB sd cards two running SLES 15 running btrfs...

    Anyway, probably all a moot point since you switched to ext4
    Cheers Malcolm °¿° SUSE Knowledge Partner (Linux Counter #276890)
    SUSE SLE, openSUSE Leap/Tumbleweed (x86_64) | GNOME DE
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  3. #13
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    Default Re: The dangers of using btrfs and snapper

    The first system freeze happened a few hours after the switch, but it finished after two hours or so... that one was likely calculating the large upgrade. The second one surpassing four hours started happening out of nowhere two days later, after I haven't upgraded anything again IIRC... that still puzzles me. But yes: I no longer have the install to test, as resetting my computer while snapper was busy broke the OS and it never booted again... ext4 is the only option that will feel safe for a long time.
    openSUSE Tumbleweed x64, KDE Framework 5

  4. #14
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    Default Re: The dangers of using btrfs and snapper

    Just as a general comment:

    I tried "btrfs" for a while, running Tumbleweed. I did not run into the problems that you describe. However, I decided that "btrfs" doesn't do anything for me, so I reinstalled with "ext4".
    openSUSE Leap 15.1; KDE Plasma 5;

  5. #15
    Jon_Freeman NNTP User

    Default Re: The dangers of using btrfs and snapper

    I had trouble with btrfs-transi using 100% cpu and locking everything up a couple of months ago. The disk was a Kingston 120GB ssd and I was running Leap 42.3. This was not a new installation and it started happening "out of the blue". As with the OP, I pressed reset after I couldn't get the PC to reboot on one occasion and the result was a corrupted disk. I reinstalled with Leap 15.0 and used ext4. (Although I'm pretty sure there it at least one other computer here using btrfs).

    Can't say much else except I'm pretty well convinced I would have checked disk space after the first or second of these occurrences.

  6. #16
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    Default Re: The dangers of using btrfs and snapper

    Had a somewhat similar experience a few years ago with a relatively small and slow disk, then reverted back to EXT4 and no snapshots on all my home systems and have been happy since.
    Writing this from a laptop with a Samsung SSD with no glitch in years, so I would not blame the disk in the first instance, even if some old Samsung models had issues with outdated firmware in the past.
    Maybe there is something in the configuration of that troubled install that makes problems worse, maybe size or layout of disk, frequent reboots or updates or whatever.
    My understanding is the following:
    - expert admins (like Malcolm for sure) can avoid troublesome configs and have years of smooth operation even with btrfs and snapshots;
    - on systems that are frequently rebooted, like laptops, btrfs (with snapshots?) is likely to slow down the boot process and the first few minutes of desktop operation due to btrfs maintenance processes;
    - a relatively small / root partition (less than 40 GB these days) is likely to cause trouble with snapshots (the Forums are filled with such cases);
    - with servers or other 24/7 systems you have better to setup btrfs maintenance to trigger when system load is light;
    - you may be lucky enough that the default installer settings do not cause troubles as bad as those reported here and you just live with that.
    In a nutshell: you _can_ have btrfs and snapshots and smooth operation if you know what you are doing or if you are lucky, but I agree that the default installer config is a risk for first time users.
    Main: Leap 15 Gnome on i7 4720HQ + Geforce GTX960M
    Test: Leap 42.3 (& others) on Core2Duo + GM965

  7. #17
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    Default Re: The dangers of using btrfs and snapper

    Quote Originally Posted by OrsoBruno View Post
    <snip>
    In a nutshell: you _can_ have btrfs and snapshots and smooth operation if you know what you are doing or if you are lucky, but I agree that the default installer config is a risk for first time users.
    Hi
    I would also add if running an upgrade whether one release to another, some maintenance/backup etc is done if running snapper and probably temporarily disable during the upgrade process...

    And also to tune the /etc/snapper/configs/root number snapshots down (default) if enabled timeline ones tune that as well...
    Cheers Malcolm °¿° SUSE Knowledge Partner (Linux Counter #276890)
    SUSE SLE, openSUSE Leap/Tumbleweed (x86_64) | GNOME DE
    If you find this post helpful and are logged into the web interface,
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  8. #18
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    Default Re: The dangers of using btrfs and snapper

    Thanks for your input. I'm glad others could confirm similar experiences: It would have been odd if I was the only one seeing this, as I didn't do anything special in my installation that I can think of.

    Part of this thread was to ask whether you think it's a good idea to make future versions of the installer suggest ext4 by default and leave btrfs as an option for advanced users only. Many of us don't know about the dangers this poses, such as btrfs becoming corrupted if you reset the machine at the wrong time apart from the 100% CPU issues... I could say I'm experienced with Linux today as I've used openSUSE for over 6 years, yet even I had no idea about this and it just hit me in the head as it all started happening suddenly. I'd imagine that if a less experienced user decided to try openSUSE for the first time and this happened to them, they're going to assume it's a dangerous distribution and never touch it again, thus the OS might even lose users this way.
    openSUSE Tumbleweed x64, KDE Framework 5

  9. #19
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    Default Re: The dangers of using btrfs and snapper

    Quote Originally Posted by MirceaKitsune View Post
    Part of this thread was to ask whether you think it's a good idea to make future versions of the installer suggest ext4 by default and leave btrfs as an option for advanced users only.
    My understanding is that SUSE invested heavily in BTRFS since that probably makes sense in a corporate environment, so they are not likely to give up the BTRFS default in their SLE systems.
    Since we openSUSE users are sort of Guinea Pigs for SLE, maybe the BTRFS default is the price we must pay for the benefit of having a rock-solid distribution (at least when installed properly).
    Long story short, I think that changing the default to EXT4 is a good idea with a low likelihood of being accepted.
    Maybe we have better chances asking to tune the default along the lines Malcolm is suggesting, say snapshots off by default, lower number of snapshots configured and the like, so that the average install does not freeze for hours...
    Main: Leap 15 Gnome on i7 4720HQ + Geforce GTX960M
    Test: Leap 42.3 (& others) on Core2Duo + GM965

  10. #20
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    Default Re: The dangers of using btrfs and snapper

    Quote Originally Posted by MirceaKitsune View Post
    ... as I didn't do anything special in my installation that I can think of.
    Well, to be honest installing Leap and then dist-upgrading to TW with snapshots on _is_ something special, or at least not something every newcomer is expected to do...
    Main: Leap 15 Gnome on i7 4720HQ + Geforce GTX960M
    Test: Leap 42.3 (& others) on Core2Duo + GM965

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