6-Way Enterprise Focused Linux Distribution Comparison With An Intel Core i9, Dual Xeon Gold Systems

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 20 November 2017. Page 1 of 7. 20 Comments

Here's our latest Linux distribution comparison with this time looking at the out-of-the-box performance of six Linux distributions while running a range of enterprise/workstation-focused benchmarks while using two systems. One system is a high-end Core i9 7980XE desktop system and the other a Tyan 1U Xeon Scalable server with dual Xeon Gold 6138 processors.

Intel Core i9 7980XE: The i9-7980XE Extreme Edition is an 18 core / 36 thread processor with 2.6GHz base frequency and 4.2GHz turbo frequency with a 4.4GHz Turbo Boost Max 3.0 frequency. This system was built around an ASUS PRIME X299A with 4 x 4GB DDR4-3200 memory and using a Corsair Force MP500 120GB NVMe SSD for storage.

2 x Xeon Gold: two Xeon Gold 6138 processors, which each are 20 core / 40 threads with a 2.0GHz base frequency and 3.7GHz turbo. These processors were running within the Tyan GT24E-B7106 1U server and for storage this round was a Samsung 850 PRO 256GB SSD and using 12 x 8GB DDR4-2666 RDIMM memory.

On these two high-end Intel workstation/server systems, six Linux distributions were tested:

CentOS 7 - The newest CentOS 7 derived from the latest Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 sources. This includes the Linux 3.10 kernel with its many EL7 back-ports, GCC 4.8.5, and XFS as the default file-system and uses the CFQ I/O scheduler with non-NVMe storage.

Clear Linux 19110 - Intel's latest rolling-release Clear Linux distribution. Clear Linux is currently making use of the Linux 4.13 kernel, GCC 7.2.1 as the default system compiler, EXT4 file-system, no I/O scheduler set, and its various other performance optimizations we have covered in our many Linux OS benchmarks over the years.

openSUSE 42.3 - The latest openSUSE 42.3 Leap release that is built off SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP3. SUSE Linux Enterprise itself couldn't be tested for this article due to SUSE's user agreement for it of "disclose the results of any performance, functional or other evaluation or benchmarking of the Software to any third party without the prior written permission of Licensor." OpenSUSE 42.3 / SLE 12 SP3 makes use of the Linux 4.4 LTS kernel, GCC 4.8.5, and an XFS file-system with the deadline I/O scheduler for non-NVMe storage.

openSUSE Tumbleweed - For getting an idea of the direction openSUSE / SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 is heading in the future, their rolling-release Tumbleweed was also included. Tumbleweed is currently on Linux 4.13, GCC 7.2.1, and an XFS file-system and also using the deadline I/O scheduler for the SATA SSD.

Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS - The latest Ubuntu Long-Term Support release right now. Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS with its hardware enablement stack has the Linux 4.10 kernel, GCC 5.4.0, and an EXT4 file-system using the CFQ I/O scheduler on the SATA 3 SSD.

Ubuntu 18.04 Daily - With it being just a few months until the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS release, a early development snapshot of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS was also benchmarked. Ubuntu 18.04 right now has the Linux 4.13 kernel, GCC 7.2.0, and an EXT4 file-system using the CFQ I/O scheduler on the SATA storage. Ubuntu 18.04 final should still be using the GCC 7.2.0 release due to GCC 8 not being vetted in time and their kernel should be Linux 4.15.

Each of these six Linux distributions were tested on the two machines in their stock configuration. All of these benchmarks were automated in a fully standardized and reproducible manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.

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