Benchmarking Amazon Linux 2 LTS Candidate 2

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 12 April 2018 at 07:31 PM EDT.

Back in December Amazon rolled out Amazon Linux 2 as a big upgrade to its Linux distribution intended for the EC2 compute cloud as well as on-site via VMware/VirtualBox/Hyper-V virtualization. Amazon Linux 2 rolled out an upgraded Linux kernel, compiler, and many other packages as well as switched to using systemd. Coming out this week was Amazon Linux 2 Candidate 2 as the next installment of this long-term support Linux platform.

With Amazon Linux 2 LTS Candidate 2 they have switched from Linux 4.9 to Linux 4.14 LTS as their kernel, upgraded to the GCC 7.3 point release that includes Retpolines support and other fixes, upgraded to Glibc 2.26 and Binutils 2.29.1, and pulled in other updated software packages.

Curious about any performance differences with Amazon Linux 2 LTS Candidate 2, I fired up some benchmarks of it. Unfortunately, Amazon no longer offers the previous Amazon Linux 2 release but at least do offer still the original Amazon Linux 2017.09 release that was powered by Linux 4.9 and GCC 4.8.5. Also for comparison were Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with its Linux 4.4 and GCC 5.4 stack and the newly-released Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5. While we normally include Intel's Clear Linux as in effect the gold standard for out-of-the-box Linux performance, unfortunately their Clear Linux EC2 image wasn't available for the instance type we happened to be benchmarking today.

The instance type used for benchmarking was the Amazon EC2 c5.4xlarge instance type backed by Intel Xeon Platinum 8124M hardware with 32GB of RAM, 16 vCPUs, and is rated for 62 ECUs.

All of this benchmarking on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud was done in a fully-automated manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite.

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