Amazon, Clear, Debian, Gentoo, Red Hat, SUSE & Ubuntu Performance On The EC2 Cloud

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 28 November 2017. Page 1 of 5. 10 Comments

It's been a few months since last running a Linux distribution / operating system comparison on Amazon's EC2 public cloud, but given the ever-advancing state of Linux, here are some fresh benchmarks when testing the Amazon Linux AMI, Clear Linux, Debian 9.2, Gentoo, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4, SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP3, and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

For this round of testing the c4.4xlarge instance type was used. The c4.4xlarge instance type has 16 virtual CPUs yielding 62 ECUs of compute power. This instance type has 30GB of system memory and in the US data centers generally costs around $0.8 USD per hour for on-demand pricing. In all of our testing of this instance type over the past few days, the c4.4xlarge is currently backed by Intel Xeon E5-2666 v3 CPUs: the Haswell server processors that have 10 cores / 20 threads, 2.6GHz base frequency, 3.3GHz turbo frequency, 25MB smart cache. All of the instances were using Xen HVM configuration for testing.

The Linux operating systems tested this time around in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) included:

Amazon Linux AMI 2017.09 - The latest version of Amazon's default cloud Linux OS and currently relies upon the Linux 4.9 kernel, GCC 6.4.1, and an EXT4 file-system.

Clear Linux 19270 - Intel's own performance-optimized Linux distribution that at least with bare metal hardware we tend to find it performing at the forefront. This Intel rolling-release OS currently has Linux 4.13.12, GCC 7.2.1, and an EXT4 file-system. It will be interesting to see how it performs well in the virtualized/cloud environment due to less control over the hardware (e.g. no P-State/CPUfreq differences compared to other OSes, etc).

Debian 9.2 - The current stable release of Debian Stretch with Linux 4.9, GCC 6.3.0, and EXT4.

Gentoo - The Gentoo images on EC2 provided by Pygoscelis Papua. This Gentoo EC2 image has the Linux 4.12 kernel, GCC 5.4, and EXT4.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 - The latest RHEL7 release with the Linux 3.10 kernel, GCC 4.8.5 by default, and an XFS file-system.

SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP3 - The latest SLES release with Linux 4.4 LTS, GCC 4.8.5, and is using EXT4 in the cloud.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS - The long-term support release of Ubuntu with the Linux 4.4 kernel, GCC 5.4, and EXT4.

All of these Amazon EC2 Linux cloud benchmarks were carried out in a fully-automated and reproducible manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.

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