Ubuntu 19.10 Laptop Disk Encryption Benchmarks

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 20 December 2019 at 04:03 AM EST. 6 Comments
A Phoronix Premium reader recently inquired about the performance impact of LUKS LVM-based disk encryption that continues to be offered by Ubuntu's Ubiquity installer on new installations and if it's worthwhile. As I've said for many years, it's certainly recommended for production systems -- particularly laptops where there are greater chances of theft -- and the performance impact isn't generally all that bad with modern CPUs and the likes of AES-NI.

For that reader who was weighing his options for a holiday laptop upgrade, I ran some fresh tests of Ubuntu Linux installed with its default EXT4 setup without any encryption and then again employing the standard encrypted option for Ubuntu.
Ubuntu 19.10 Laptop Encryption

With this Dell XPS laptop, there was a minor performance hit -- much more pronounced for synthetic I/O workloads but much less for the real-world workloads.
Ubuntu 19.10 Laptop Encryption

SQLite took a pronounced hit from full-disk encryption on Ubuntu 19.10, but in this test it's relentless SQLite operations compared to most applications leveraging SQLite to non-continuous reads/writes (SELECT / UPDATE / INSERT operations). FIO also took some hits, but it's a synthetic disk test in this configuration.

In more of the real-world workloads, the Ubuntu 19.10 hit from full-disk encryption was quite limited as shown by all the results on this OpenBenchmarking.org result file. For those setting up new Linux installations this holiday, I continue to definitively recommend full-disk encryption over other options.
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About The Author
Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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