In order for information to be stored on a data medium, the information must be contained in a file.
In order to find all important data again, file systems create a storage structure. But what exactly is a file system?
Peculiarities of a file system
File or file systems are storage structures on a storage medium. The task of the systems is to organize deletion, editing, searching, writing and reading processes on a memory.
The file systems are designed to identify files precisely and to be called up in a targeted manner if necessary.
Therefore, the software serves as an important interface between drives and the operating system. In order to load a file system onto a data carrier, the data carrier must be configured. It is irrelevant whether the data carriers are SSD or NVMe media or typical HDD hard drives. Compatibility with operating systems is a decisive factor in the choice of file systems.
As a rule, purchased storage media are delivered with a functioning file system. However, the systems can be individually adapted with the help of formatting.
Various file systems at a glance
Various solutions are available for data structuring. The advantages and disadvantages of different file systems vary, so that they are suitable in different ways for individual areas of application. In general, hosting experts should keep in mind that not every system is suitable for every operating system. A further complication is that the file systems are not compatible with one another. This fact is particularly important if regular data exchange is to be guaranteed between a Linux server and a Windows desktop PC.
Therefore, the file system also affects the choice between Linux and Windows web hosting.
What all systems have in common is that individual files on the memory result in a kind of tree structure. This classification offers the possibility of creating different folders and subdirectories from a root directory. The most important file systems are FAT32, NTFS and APFS.
FAT32 in portrait
This file system, developed by Microsoft in 1996, is designed as a file system for Windows. This file system supplements the previous variant FAT16. The FAT16 file system allows partitions up to a maximum of 512 MB. Both systems are suitable for a range from 512 MB to 2 GB. From 2 GB only FAT32 is available.
The file system was created for Windows. However, FAT32 is also compatible with operating systems such as Linux, FreeDOS and Mac OS.
A driver installation may be required for a Unix-like system. In practical everyday use, it may be a disadvantage that the maximum file size is 4 GB. One option is exFAT, which has been available since 2006 and is also suitable for larger files.
There is also the option of creating separate partitions under FAT32 with a maximum storage volume of 8 TB. The data system quickly reaches its limits because ISO images and video files are now also designed for data carriers with a larger capacity. If WordPress users also need backups of extensive web projects, dealing with FAT32 is also problematic in some cases.
Today, the file system is mainly used in mobile removable media such as USB sticks, memory cards or external hard drives. The file system is suitable for Windows 95, FreeDOS, Mac OS and numerous Linux distributions. The maximum file size is 4GB, but larger files are possible with exFAT. The maximum size for partitions is 8 GB.
What is the NTFS file system?
The abbreviation “NTFS” stands for New Technology File System. The file system introduced in 1993 for the Windows NT operating system has been the standard system for Windows PCs since the introduction of Windows Vista.
In direct comparison with the FAT file system, NTFS offers standard file sizes of up to 256 TB.
In addition, an option for data compression is integrated into the file system, so that ultimately more space is available on the memory. The most important benefit of the system relates to data security. This makes the file system suitable for providing options for data encryption and for managing access rights to files. For this reason, the system is particularly relevant for administrators who want to protect their servers from virtual risks.
The NTFS file system is a good choice for data carriers with high storage volumes. Editing of files with up to 256 TB is possible as well as data compression. A high level of data security is made possible by managing access rights and file encryption.
Data and facts about the APFS file system
The APFS file system, which was introduced for the first time in 2016, replaced its predecessor HFS+. Initially, the file system was only compatible with iOS version 10.3. But since the High Sierra feature, APFS also works with Mac OS. A strength of the file system is that it is optimized for flash storage such as SSDs. Use on HDD hard drives is possible, but not recommended. The so-called space sharing aims at an optimal use of the data medium. In this case, the partition of the complete physical disk space is available.
In addition, APFS offers the option of file encryption. APFS promises high data security through data encryption. The file system is compatible with iOS and Mac OS and is optimized for SSD and flash drives.