I have a btrfs RAID1 array (two 891GiB partitions on two HDDs) on my laptop. When I run btrfs balance it takes a huge amount of time to complete.

I know if I would like to balance the whole filesystem it would take forever, that's why I'm using the -usage filter like this; I've put this in the for loop because I don't always know with which number to start.

for i in {1..100}; do sudo btrfs balance start -dusage=$i /my/mount/path/; done

In this loop, sudo only asks my password the first time, or if the balance took a lot of time. This prints about 20 times

Done, had to relocate 0 out of 868 chunks

And then after taking a huge amount of time it prints

Done, had to relocate 1 out of 868 chunks

So it means it has only moved 1GB (or 200MB) of data. It just shouldn't take that much time to move just 1GB of data, I can copy much more data to this filesystem in a tenth of the time.

This is the entry on my fstab:

UUID=<the uuid>  /my/mount/path/  btrfs  defaults,noatime,compress=lzo  0  0

I also have to mention that I usually make and also delete snapshots just in case I make something wrong.

sudo btrfs subvolume list /my/mount/path/
ID 5238 gen 178224 top level 5 path SNAP/snap-2017-04-15
ID 5270 gen 178229 top level 5 path SNAP/snap-2017-04-17
ID 5272 gen 178228 top level 5 path SNAP/snap-2017-04-21
ID 5276 gen 178230 top level 5 path SNAP/snap-2017-04-25
ID 5284 gen 178232 top level 5 path SNAP/snap-2017-05-04
ID 5290 gen 178231 top level 5 path SNAP/snap-2017-05-10
ID 5291 gen 178229 top level 5 path SNAP/snap-2017-05-11
ID 5309 gen 178225 top level 5 path SNAP/snap-2017-05-11-22-52-30
ID 5310 gen 178226 top level 5 path SNAP/snap-2017-05-13
ID 5311 gen 178232 top level 5 path SNAP/snap-2017-05-15
ID 5312 gen 178227 top level 5 path SNAP/snap-2017-05-17
ID 5313 gen 178227 top level 5 path SNAP/snap-2017-05-18

I also have quotas enabled to help me see how much has been modified between snapshots.

sudo btrfs qgroup show /my/mount/path/
qgroupid         rfer         excl
--------         ----         ----
0/5         774.25GiB    910.87MiB
0/3098      142.21GiB        0.00B
0/3119       39.38GiB     16.00EiB
0/5226          0.00B     16.00EiB
0/5228          0.00B     16.00EiB
0/5233       48.00KiB     16.00EiB
0/5236       96.00KiB     16.00EiB
0/5238      785.18GiB     46.57GiB
0/5270      768.99GiB      1.22MiB
0/5272      768.73GiB      1.36MiB
0/5276      766.70GiB     12.70MiB
0/5284      768.55GiB      3.33MiB
0/5290      772.23GiB    964.00KiB
0/5291      772.23GiB    912.00KiB
0/5309      773.77GiB    608.00KiB
0/5310      773.78GiB      1.09MiB
0/5311      773.56GiB      1.66MiB
0/5312      773.55GiB      2.16MiB
0/5313      774.32GiB    147.49MiB

The 16.00EiB must be some kind of mistake, Who has such a HDD?

Why does balance take that long to complete? I really like the btrfs features, so I prefer to stay with it.

1 Answer 1


I finally figured it out. The reason why it was taking so much time was because of the quota.

I disabled it running:

sudo btrfs quota disable /my/mount/path/

Now it balances my fs in just a few minutes.

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