Ext3 file count limits

Shelby, James James.Shelby at nrel.gov
Tue Oct 18 13:23:32 UTC 2011

Can anyone tell me what the actual limit is for an ext3 filesystem?  I've done some google searching and according to the wiki it seems 32k directories and 32k files however I have seen that people have reported 3 million+ files which doesn't seem there is a real limit in the code.

I'm trying to find out what happens which you exceed that 32k as we previously had 200k files in multiple directories which on those drives we had a 70%+ failure rate.  Those drives were Western Digital 2TB RE4 which seemed to have an excess high failure rate.  After finding this limitation we migrated the data to XFS and in the past four months have not seen a single reallocated sector in the SMART data.  I'm wondering if it is possible this could be related or if it was just a bad group of drives.  Note that we had several drives warranty replaced and even those drives were failing within two months until the filesystem type change.


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