A new filesystem is in development: SpaceFS


Tony Kerr, Reporter

Built around saving space, as the name implies, SpaceFS has redesigned the wheel of how we can store information on our computers. But is it worth switching from existing implementations?

SpaceFS saves at max 4095 bytes per file on your disk. This saved space is determined from the sector size that your disk is formatted with, which on most recent operating systems defaults to 4096 bytes, but in some unique circumstances can be much larger. These savings come from sectors being rounded up in all modern file systems that are currently released and publicly available. This was used as a simplification to avoid doing many seek operations since disks are only accessible in block sized amounts, normally 512 bytes.

However with Solid State Drives (which do not have a seek penalty) becoming much more popular, this precaution is no longer necessary. In the current version of SpaceFS V1.6.4 this has some costs. Mainly features that have yet to  be implemented. Such as transactional operations. A transactional operation makes sure all new data is written to a new location before removing and replacing the old location on the disk. This is mainly used when installing updates and features in Windows to prevent breaking system files resulting in a unusable system. Other features such as being bootable are also missing. It is planned to implement these missing features though. Currently SpaceFS is compatible with Windows, Linux, and MacOS.

A good example of how this would look on a disk can be seen below. On the left is how a standard file system fills the disk. On the right is how SpaceFS utilizes the disk.






Both disks were running SpaceFS and are storing the same files. Those being 252 files with 1024 bytes each. So with a sector size of 4096, 3072 bytes per file are wasted and unusable by the file system. This can be seen on the left as the extra efficiency is disabled. So while the left drive is 100% full, the right drive is only at 25% capacity. This varies greatly depending on the files stored… If you used all files whose size matched the sector size there would be no gain or loss in capacity.

As many as 973 files were able to be stored before the right disk became full. This varies though as mentioned before. If you had many 1 byte files, you could store as many as 21,532 files with in the same space. But this number goes back down to 252 with 4096 byte files. But in the end most filesystems end up with a near random mix of file sizes, which SpaceFS handles as it should, by saving as much space as possible.