[Samba] Small Files/Load Average Information

Noel Kelly nkelly at tarsus.co.uk
Thu Feb 14 03:24:05 GMT 2002


I have been noticing some serious load averages occurring when users are
browsing or using directories with a large number of files.

A case in point is our Sage users.  Sage is a nasty program and spits out
three small files into a spool directory every time something is printed and
does not clear them out.  This means that the spool directories rapidly fill
with tiny files and by the end of the month there might be upwards of 5,000
files in each spool directory.

Since we have around eight people using Sage and, via the program, accessing
these spool directories then the server goes berserk.  It got to the point
where we were looking at a load average of +8.0!  Needless to say the whole
server started creaking.

Once we had got the Sage users to clear out the spool directories (this is a
unfortunately a manual process) everything went back to the normal 0.01 -
0.20 load average. The only way around this is to kick the Sage people each
month to clear their stuff out.

We have a similar experience if the web developers start poking around in
directories with many small HTML files using Explorer.

Anyone else noticed this ?  Perhaps it occurs on all servers but I cannot
say we ever had an inkling of this behaviour using Novell or NT which is
what we have replaced.  Is it more a problem with the file system ?  The
block sizing on ext2 ?  Or is it Samba in the middle working overtime ?


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