Btrfs / Snapper: Amazing Stuff!

I gave btrfs a try when assembling a small desktop with a i3-4130 with 8 GB RAM and a WD20EZRX 2 TB ‘Green’ HDD. I did a LEAP 42.1 default install and gave it to a Linux newbie. Performance of btrfs was poor and it did not work out at all:

Now I gave btrfs another try on a i3-4130 with 16GB RAM and a SSD 850 EVO 250GB. Installing Tumbleweed on the machine with doubled RAM and SDD instead of HDD resulted in a totally different experience during the last year:

Current status after running some massive ‘zypper dup’, deleting all but the last snapshot and running btrfs-balance.service:

linux-udd7:~ # btrfs filesystem usage /|head -6
    Device size:                  40.00GiB
    Device allocated:              7.54GiB
    Device unallocated:           32.46GiB
    Device missing:                  0.00B
    Used:                          6.92GiB
linux-udd7:~ # 

Given this pleasant experience I decided to further maintain the system as a backup and gradually add the software installed on the primary system using ext4. When done I plan to use btrfs as the primary system and ext4 as a backup.

I was not an early adapter of btrfs, but since I have my current laptop I’ve used it without any issues. And I do use the rollback feature a lot: install software to help support others, when done, rollback and I have my own clean TW back.

That made me try ‘snapper rollback 2’. After rebooting changes made to network configuration were perfectly undone without any hassle whatsoever.

I will speed up my efforts to fully configure btrfs backup system and switch to using it as my primary system.:slight_smile:

  • 2016-08-16: first install on /dev/nvme0n1p2 ext4
  • 2019-11-08: new install on /dev/sdc5 btrfs, manually installed packages installed already on /dev/nvme0n1p2. Kept ext4 as backup system
  • 2020-05-17: replaced ext4 on /dev/nvme0n1p2 by new install using btrfs
  • 2020-10-26: rsynced /dev/sdc5 to /dev/nvme0n1p2 and reinstalled bootloader. /dev/nvme0n1p2 is now primary system and /dev/sdc5 backup.

Next time :wink:
Instead of manually building a duplicate system on BTRFS by hand,

You can instead
Clone your original system
Use the btrfs-convert utility to convert your ext4 to btrfs

Possible benefit of a new install vs cloning and converting is that you’ll get the latest recommended disk layout.


Being a newbie regarding btrfs I preferred the manual install to cloning in 2019-11-08. Doing it again I would go with new install plus cloning.