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 5 of 5. 10 Comments

Here's a look at the performance data overall from the tests run... As can be easily seen, Intel's Clear Linux easily won in a majority of the benchmarks across the seven Linux distributions tested on the Amazon EC2 cloud with the c4.4xlarge instance type. While we often see Clear Linux performing strongly when tested on bare metal x86 hardware, this was our first time testing the distribution in the Amazon EC2 cloud with it only becoming available last month via the AMI marketplace.

Given the interest out of our recent 11-way Linux distribution boot benchmarks and boot speed being semi-important for EC2, I also did some tests there... Amazon now does per-second billing for Amazon EC2 instances, but more importantly, if looking to scale up in the cloud under heavy (and unexpected) workloads, it's important to be able to deploy new instances very quickly.

It was very surprising to see the wide spread in these boot results between these systemd-using Linux distributions on EC2. Clear Linux was booted within a half-second while the next fastest distribution was Ubuntu at eight seconds, Debian 9.2 much slower at 29 seconds, RHEL 7.4 at 36 seconds, and taking nearly two minutes for the complete boot process was SLES 12 SP3.

Of Clear's half-second boot time, 239 ms was spent booting its kernel.

While user-space components took 324 ms, much faster than the other EC2 Linux operating systems tested.

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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via