[ubuntu] A filesystem question that is too difficult to sumarize in a title

[ubuntu] A filesystem question that is too difficult to sumarize in a title

I have a Raspberry Pi 4 running Ubuntu Server 18.04. In fact, I have four of them in a cluster but presently only one is doing any kind of work for me and I configured that one as a Minecraft server. It had moderate, and at times, severe performance issues that are attributed to filesystem read/writes.

I discovered something interesting. If I created a tmpfs in RAM and launched the server from there, I had incredibly strong performance since read/writes at flash memory speeds were no longer a constraint. The caveat is that the size of this filesystem is limited by the amount of RAM storage which, in this example, is just under 8GiB. Power supply interruption is not considered a constraint.

There may be the occasion that game data would be hosted that would exceed 8GiB in size and there would be no RAM remaining for server or OS purposes.

I can visualize two scenarios as solutions:

  • Hybrid approach where the most recently accessed files are cached in a specific RAM disk filesystem and this data is only stored to non-volatile storage either on command or as the oldest file is purged off to create space for a more recent file in the RAM disk.
  • A distributed, networked filesystem of RAM disks that optimizes the data storage location based on where it’s accessed most frequently. For example, three Pi devices that are always turned on could each host a 4GiB partition which would be collectively hosting a 12GiB partition.

The server software is proprietary and therefore infeasible to modify, so these transactions would need to be invisible to it’s environment. Do open-source solutions for such problems even exist or is this still too new of an idea?

Note: I also looked for USB-plugable RAM, or at minimum a USB-to-DDR socket adapter. Apparently, nobody has asked China to make these. All I could find on this topic were goofball types wanting to turn thumb drives into swap volumes. In a world where I can buy SD-to-ATAPI adapters and USB mug warmers – how can these not exist?


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