What are the file and file system size limitations for Red Hat Enterprise Linux?

Solution Verified - Updated -


  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • Optional: Global File System version 2 (GFS2) (requires Red Hat Cluster Suite, not supported on a single server)
  • Optional: XFS
  • Filesystem limitation


  • What are the file and filesystem size limitations for Red Hat Enterprise Linux?
  • Are GFS2 filesystems over 25 TB supported?
  • Is it possible to use ext3 for filesystems 16TB and above on Red Hat Enterprise Linux?
  • I can't create a 20TB filesystem in ext4 or ext3.
  • Is it possible to use ext3 for a very large filesystems (16 TB and above)? If not, which filesystem is recommended for very large filesystems?
  • What is the maximum filesize supported within a filesystem?


This following information can be found in the 'File systems and storage limits' section in our Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions comparison chart at: Red Hat Enterprise Linux technology capabilities and limits

Certified and [Maximum] (individual) file size

Filesystem RHEL 3 RHEL 4 RHEL 5 RHEL 6 RHEL 7
EXT2/3 1TiB (3.0) 2TiB (3.5+) 2TiB 2TiB 2TiB 2TiB
EXT4 n/a n/a 16TiB (5.6+)2 16TiB 16TiB
GFS1 2TiB 16TiB [8EiB] 16TiB [8EiB] n/a n/a
GFS2 1 n/a n/a 100TiB (5.3+) [8EiB] 100TiB [8EiB] 100TiB [8EiB]
XFS 3 n/a n/a 100TiB [8EiB] 100TiB [8EiB] 500TiB [8EiB]

Certified and [Maximum] filesystem size

Filesystem RHEL 3 RHEL 4 RHEL 5 RHEL 6 RHEL 7
EXT2/3 1TiB (3.0) 2TiB(3.5+)[8TiB] 8TiB 8TiB (5.0), 16TiB (5.1+) 4 16TiB 16TiB
EXT4 n/a n/a 16TiB [1EiB] (5.6+)2 16TiB [1EiB] 50TiB [1EiB]
GFS 2TiB 16TiB [8EiB] 16TiB [8EiB] n/a n/a
GFS2 1 n/a n/a 100(5.3+)TiB [8EiB] 100TiB [8EiB] 100TiB [8EiB]
XFS 3 n/a n/a 100TiB [16EiB] 300TiB [16EiB]5 500TiB [16EiB]


Units are given in binary prefix.

TiB = Tebibyte = 2^40

EiB = Exbibyte = 2^60

Theoretical Limits

The difference between 'certified' and 'maximum' limit is that 'certified' indicates what the file system has been tested to versus what the theoretical maximums are within the code base. For example, GFS2 is a 64-bit based file system and has a theoretical limit of 8EiB, but only filesystems up to the size in the above table have actually been created and tested so that is what is certified. Red Hat will investigate, troubleshoot, and file bugs as needed on larger filesystems. Engineering will make a commercially reasonable effort to fix bugs stemming from usage of filesystems above supported limits. We may rely on customers for testing of patches and confirmation of fixes before rolling them into an official errata. If we cannot test patches which may provide solutions to issues, possible release of related fixes will be delayed.


[1] The GFS2 filesystem is based on a 64-bit architecture, which can theoretically accommodate an 8 EiB file system. However, the current supported maximum size of a GFS2 file system is 100 TiB. Though we can create large filesystems on GFS2, in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4, the use of the Global File System 2 (GFS2) as a single server file system (i.e. not in a clustered environment) is deprecated.

[2] EXT4 filesystem was a Technology Preview in RHEL 5.3, 5.4 & 5.5. RHEL 5.6 introduced full support for EXT4 as documented in the Release Notes.

[3] The solution for large filesystems is to use XFS. The XFS file system is specifically targeted at very large file systems (16 TiB and above). XFS userland is not be available in the base RHEL channel on RHN, it is provided as a layered product. Although GFS also supports very large file systems, its use is limited to Red Hat Cluster Suite environments. The maximum offset for sparse files of XFS is 8 EiB.

[4] The maximum capacity of the EXT3 is currently 16TiB. This enhancement was originally included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 as a Technology Preview, and fully supported from RHEL 5.1 onward. Prior to this change the maximum capacity available in RHEL 5.0 was 8TiB.

[5] Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.8 or newer is required for 300TB XFS filesystem support on RHEL 6.x. The previous maximum supported XFS filesystem size in RHEL 6.7 and earlier was 100TB.


To create filesystems greater than 8 TiB, you may have to invoke mkfs.ext3 with 4K blocks and the -F option:

# mkfs.ext3 -F -b 4096 /dev/BiggerGroup/biggervol

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> but increases to a certified max of 16TB and a theoretical max of 8EB

> for both Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and 5.

How do you mean by "theoretical" max?

I heard that RHEL6 can handle over 16TB but e2fsprogs can't do now in fact.

You means "If I implement XFS or other file sysmtems by myself" so I can hadle over 16TB file system?

And Can redhat support it technically?


Hi,  The difference between 'certified' and 'limit' is that 'certified' indicates what the file system has been tested to versus what the theoretical 'limits' are within the code base


We have ext3 file system & would like create 4TB partition , can we have single file more than 3TB that will be generated by application/program over the one month.

Look at: http://www.redhat.com/resourcelibrary/articles/articles-red-hat-enterprise-linux-6-technology-capabilities-and-limits

You will see that ext3 is limited to 2TB for a single file. You will need to move to ext4 or XFS.

Thnak for update , I confirm 2TB for single file ext3 limit , we have RHEL 5.7 installed & we have single drive 5.7TB can we create 4TB or 5TB file system by command


meaning to say does ext4 file system supported by RHEL 5.7 ant KB


Yes, mkfs.ext4 can be used on disks or partitions up to 16TB for RHEL 5.4 and later.

link broken http://www.redhat.com/rhel/compare/

Please correct the unit names to their correct names:

"TB = Terabyte = 2^40
EB = Exabyte = 2^60"

As per units(7) http://man7.org/linux/man-pages/man7/units.7.html

       Prefix   Name   Value
              Ki       kibi   2^10  = 1024
              Mi       mebi   2^20 = 1048576
              Gi       gibi   2^30 = 1073741824
              Ti       tebi   2^40 = 1099511627776
              Pi       pebi   2^50 = 1125899906842624
              Ei       exbi   2^60 = 1152921504606846976

I am currently using ext4 , is there any option for extending beyond 16 TB..., we are getting below error ..

resize2fs: New size too large to be expressed in 32 bits

XFS is supported up to 300 TB on RHEL 6.8 or above


Thanks for keeping this document updated. I last looked at it in 2014 and was happy to see it was updated at the end of 2017.

Note on the ext3 comments posted in 2014: ext3 was better than ext2 but with the advent of ext4 we found that converting filesystems from ext3 to ext4 made many operations quite a bit faster for large filesystems.. For large filesystems we had turned off automatic fsck because this could be excruciatingly slow booting a server relying on ext3. For ext4 even when running a "full" fsck it is much faster and allowed us to re-enable automatic check parameters.