Does Red Hat Enterprise Linux perform any better (or worse) than the various "Enterprise Linux" distributions that are derived from RHEL? Now that Scientific Linux 6.2 was released, here is a performance comparison of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Oracle Linux, CentOS, and Scientific Linux across three different systems.
Using the x86_64 6.2 releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Oracle Linux, CentOS, and Scientific Linux a set of benchmarks were ran across all four enterprise-class Linux distributions on three distinct systems. While all four distributions are derived from the same upstream base (RHEL 6.2), this testing is seeking out a common question of whether Red Hat Enterprise Linux or others have any significant performance benefit. Of course, all of the testing is being done in the stock configuration on each platform with the stock packages, which are all effectively the same.
Of these three RHEL offspring, Oracle Linux is the one attempting to differentiate itself the most from Red Hat for commercial gain with their plans to use Btrfs, bringing DTrace to Linux, their acquisition of KSplice, etc. As you will see on the next page, there is also other areas where the Oracle Linux kernel differs from RHEL.
The Enterprise Linux 6.2 distributions are using a heavily-patched Linux 2.6.32 kernel, GNOME 2.28.2 desktop, X.Org Server 1.10.4, GCC 4.4.6, an EXT4 file-system, xf86-video-intel 2.16.0, xf86-video-nouveau 0.0.16, xf86-video-radeon 6.14.2, and Mesa 7.11.
The three systems used were based around an Intel Core i7 3960X Sandy Bridge Extreme Edition, dual AMD Opteron 2384 quad-core Shanghai, and Intel Core i5 2520M CPUs. The Core i7 3960X system with its 12 threads had 16GB of RAM and a 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 SATA 3.0 SSD. The aging dual AMD Opteron 2384 with its eight total cores had 4GB of RAM and a Western Digital SATA HDD. For as a last obscure test system to differentiate from the two other systems being tested was an HP EliteBook with its Core i5 2520M Sandy Bridge CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 160GB Intel SSD. Other system details are available from the OpenBenchmarking.org-powered table.
This is a straightforward comparison so let us jump to the results...