xfs(5)xfs(5)NAMExfs - layout of the XFS filesystem
An XFS filesystem can reside on a regular disk partition or on a logi‐
cal volume. An XFS filesystem has up to three parts: a data section, a
log section, and a realtime section. Using the default mkfs.xfs(8)
options, the realtime section is absent, and the log area is contained
within the data section. The log section can be either separate from
the data section or contained within it. The filesystem sections are
divided into a certain number of blocks, whose size is specified at
mkfs.xfs(8) time with the -b option.
The data section contains all the filesystem metadata (inodes, directo‐
ries, indirect blocks) as well as the user file data for ordinary (non-
realtime) files and the log area if the log is internal to the data
section. The data section is divided into a number of allocation
groups. The number and size of the allocation groups are chosen by
mkfs.xfs(8) so that there is normally a small number of equal-sized
groups. The number of allocation groups controls the amount of paral‐
lelism available in file and block allocation. It should be increased
from the default if there is sufficient memory and a lot of allocation
activity. The number of allocation groups should not be set very high,
since this can cause large amounts of CPU time to be used by the
filesystem, especially when the filesystem is nearly full. More allo‐
cation groups are added (of the original size) when xfs_growfs(8) is
The log section (or area, if it is internal to the data section) is
used to store changes to filesystem metadata while the filesystem is
running until those changes are made to the data section. It is writ‐
ten sequentially during normal operation and read only during mount.
When mounting a filesystem after a crash, the log is read to complete
operations that were in progress at the time of the crash.
The realtime section is used to store the data of realtime files.
These files had an attribute bit set through xfsctl(3) after file cre‐
ation, before any data was written to the file. The realtime section
is divided into a number of extents of fixed size (specified at
mkfs.xfs(8) time). Each file in the realtime section has an extent
size that is a multiple of the realtime section extent size.
Each allocation group contains several data structures. The first sec‐
tor contains the superblock. For allocation groups after the first,
the superblock is just a copy and is not updated after mkfs.xfs(8).
The next three sectors contain information for block and inode alloca‐
tion within the allocation group. Also contained within each alloca‐
tion group are data structures to locate free blocks and inodes; these
are located through the header structures.
Each XFS filesystem is labeled with a Universal Unique Identifier
(UUID). The UUID is stored in every allocation group header and is
used to help distinguish one XFS filesystem from another, therefore you
should avoid using dd(1) or other block-by-block copying programs to
copy XFS filesystems. If two XFS filesystems on the same machine have
the same UUID, xfsdump(8) may become confused when doing incremental
and resumed dumps. xfsdump(8) and xfsrestore(8) are recommended for
making copies of XFS filesystems.
Some functionality specific to the XFS filesystem is accessible to
applications through the xfsctl(3) and by-handle (see open_by_han‐
Refer to the mount(8) manual entry for descriptions of the individual
XFS mount options.
SEE ALSOxfsctl(3), mount(8), mkfs.xfs(8), xfs_info(8), xfs_admin(8), xfs‐