Earlier this week we delivered benchmarks of Ubuntu 9.04 versus Mac OS X 10.5.6 and found that the Leopard operating system had performed better than the Jaunty Jackalope in a majority of the tests, at least when it came to Ubuntu 32-bit. We are back with more operating system benchmarks today, but this time we are comparing the performance of the Linux and Sun OpenSolaris kernels. We had used the Nexenta Core Platform 2 operating system that combines the OpenSolaris kernel with a GNU/Ubuntu user-land to that of the same Ubuntu package set but with the Linux kernel. Testing was done with both 32-bit and 64-bit Ubuntu server installations.
For our testing we were using the RC2 build of Nexenta Core Platform 2 (NCP2), which is based upon OpenSolaris Build 104+ but with Debian and Ubuntu packages based upon the 8.04 LTS "Hardy Heron" distribution. For those that have never used the Nexenta OS, its tagline is the "Power of OpenSolaris with the usability of Linux!" This OpenSolaris distribution even uses Debian's apt-get for package management. The Nexenta Core Platform is equivalent to an Ubuntu server installation, but there is a StormOS project underway to create a Xfce4-based desktop version of the Nexenta Core Platform 2.
Nexenta Core Platform 2 is compatible with the latest Phoronix Test Suite 2.0 code for benchmarking. After we ran a set of tests on Nexenta Core Platform 2, we then turned to testing out Ubuntu on the same system. With Nexenta currently using Ubuntu packages from the 8.04 Hardy repository, we had carried out our testing under Ubuntu 8.04 LTS instead of Ubuntu 9.04 to minimize the number of differences besides the kernel. Nexenta OS CP2 is designed to run on both x86 and x86_64 architectures from the single CD image, but for our Ubuntu testing we had tested out both the i386 and x86_64 builds of the Ubuntu 8.04 server edition. Additionally, since the kernel in Ubuntu 8.04 is based upon Linux 2.6.24, we had also installed the latest Linux kernel in the 2.6.30 series at the time of testing, which was Linux 2.6.30-rc4 as found in the Ubuntu mainline kernel PPA. Therefore, all of the graphs will have the results from Nexenta Core Platform 2 RC2, Ubuntu 8.04 32-bit - Linux 2.6.24, Ubuntu 8.04 32-bit - Linux 2.6.30, Ubuntu 8.04 64-bit - Linux 2.6.24, and Ubuntu 8.04 64-bit - Linux 2.6.30.
Besides the kernel differences, both the Linux and OpenSolaris operating systems were quite similar with mostly the same set of packages like GCC 4.2, etc. One key difference though was the OpenSolaris distribution using the ZFS file-system where Ubuntu Linux was using the EXT3 file-system. No X Server or desktop environment was in use during testing. The hardware we had run the tests on were an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 clocked at 4.00GHz, an ASUS P5E64 WS Professional motherboard, 2GB of DDR2 memory, an ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics card, and a 160GB Western Digital WDC WD1600JS-00M SATA HDD.
With the Phoronix Test Suite we used the timed PHP compilation, LAME MP3 encoding, FLAC audio encoding, FFmpeg, GnuPG, Threaded I/O Tester, SQLite, PostgreSQL pgbench, C-ray, POV-Ray, timed MAFFT alignment, SciMark, CacheBench, LZMA compression, 7-Zip compression, and GraphicsMagick test profiles.