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Ubuntu Linux Disk Encryption Benchmarks

Michael Larabel

Published on 16 March 2008
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 3 - 11 Comments

Introduced in Ubuntu 7.10 was install-time encryption support where using the alternate installer one can fully encrypt their disk in an LVM using dm-crypt. Unfortunately, the Ubiquity installer in Ubuntu 8.04 continues to lack LVM and encryption support, but using Ubuntu 8.04 Alpha 6 we have looked at the performance cost of this encrypted configuration on Ubuntu Linux. Rather than looking directly at the disk read/write overhead caused by the encryption process, we have provided some benchmarks to see how the real-world performance is impacted in both gaming and other desktop tasks.

For looking at the performance cost of Ubuntu Linux disk encryption, we had performed two clean installs of Ubuntu 8.04 Alpha 6 with the Linux 2.6.24 kernel using the alternate installer. In one installation, we had used the "Guided - use entire disk and set up LVM" method and then using "Guided - use entire disk and set up encrypted LVM." All settings in both installations were maintained the same and left at their respective default values.

Rather than just running Linux disk benchmarks, we had run a variety of our real-world tests. These Linux tests had included Enemy Territory, Doom 3, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, LAME encoding, Gzip compression, and measuring the time to copy 364 images (amounting to 1.3GB) from a USB flash drive over to the hard drive. The tests we did for this article are as simple as that, we had ran the benchmarks on a standard LVM and encrypted LVM. The test hardware consisted of an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ AM2 processor, 2GB of A-DATA DDR2-800 memory, 160GB Western Digital SATA hard drive, Abit NF-M2 nView motherboard, and a NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT 128MB graphics card with the 169.12 driver.

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