Ext3 file count limits

Michael Cronenworth mike at cchtml.com
Tue Oct 18 14:05:44 UTC 2011

Shelby, James wrote:
> 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.

Ext3 has a 32k sub-directory limit. The number of files in a directory 
is limited to.. a really big number (1.3 x 10^20). Total files/folders 
for the whole file system is limited to the number of inodes available.

> 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.

I would bet my money on that your file system change and the drive 
failures stopping was just a coincidence.

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