FACEBOOK WILL SOON BEGIN stress testing the Linux Btrfs filesystem in its production data centres.

Linux kernel block maintainer, Btrfs lead developer and new Facebook employee Chris Mason revealed the news at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in Napa Valley on Thursday, Phoronix reported. Mason said that Facebook will trial Btrfs in its “web tier” servers, explaining that’s the easiest tier to recover if necessary, though we imagine Facebook might ask the NSA for its backup copy in the event of disaster.

The acronym Btrfs stands for B-tree file system. It is an advanced, experimental copy-on-write Linux filesystem that is licensed under the GPL and addresses some functional and scaling gaps in existing Linux filesystems like EXT2 through EXT4 such as pooling, snapshots, checksums and multi-device spanning, all of which involve rather complex filesystem magic, and it uses some of the same design concepts as Reiser3/4.

As the principal author of Btrfs, Mason said its goal is “to let Linux scale for the storage that will be available”. He added, “Scaling is not just about addressing the storage but also means being able to administer and to manage it with a clean interface that lets people see what’s being used and makes it more reliable.”

Facebook will attempt the first large-scale production deployment of the Btrfs filesystem, although openSUSE 13.2 plans to use Btrfs as its default filesystem, and the Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora and other Linux distributions also list Btrfs as an installation alternative.

Chris Mason began developing Btrfs at Oracle in 2007. Facebook hired Mason and several other Btrfs filesystem developers a few months ago, and they are continuing to work on Btrfs development there.

Btrfs is still under heavy development and therefore is not yet considered stable. µ