Reducing disk I/O with profile-sync-daemon

by rgrunber

A little while ago, I finally got a new laptop! After 8 years with a Dell Inspiron 6400 (that has served admirably), I decided on a Dell XPS 13 9333. Fedora 20 worked without any major tweaking. I basically just needed nomodeset on the livecd to get the display working properly, but after a full update, even that wasn’t necessary. Did I mention the touch screen works as well ?

With 8 GB of memory and a 256 GB SSD, it’s already a pretty fast machine, but I’m still trying to optimize performance, and improve battery life, making compromises where necessary. Aside from tuning some kernel parameters, and filesystem options, I’ve come across profile-sync-daemon . It’s a nice tool specifically designed to reduce the disk I/O on a web browser’s profile by ensuring all changes are mainly done in memory (tmpfs) and written back to disk at a later time. It’s also quite easy to set up.

$ yum -y install profile-sync-daemon

Next, simply edit ‘/etc/psd.conf’ and set USERS to contain the list of users the daemon should act upon, along with the list of BROWSERS to manage.

You can even parse the configuration to confirm you’ve set it correctly :

$ profile-sync-daemon parse
Profile-sync-daemon v5.45.1 on Fedora release 20 (Heisenbug).

 Systemd service is currently inactive.
 Systemd resync service is currently inactive.

Psd will manage the following per /etc/psd.conf settings:

 browser/psname:  firefox/firefox
 owner/group id:  user/1000
 sync target:     /home/user/.mozilla/firefox/w74lprxm.default-1408456117113
 tmpfs dir:       /tmp/user-firefox-w74lprxm.default-1408456117113
 profile size:    22M

Now just make sure you’ve temporarily closed any browsers that will be affected by the daemon in order to call :

$ systemctl start psd.service
$ systemctl enable psd.service

and you’re good to go.

As it turns out profile-sync-daemon mainly exists to handle some special cases that are specific to browser profiles. However there’s also anything-sync-daemon that may be used for .. everything else. I have Eclipse open quite often so having things like the $HOME/.eclipse folder or even certain workspace metadata locations (workspace/.metadata/.mylyn) moved into tmpfs might prove useful.

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