Clear Linux Offers Up Advantages For Ice Lake Xeon, CentOS Comes In Strong
Earlier this week when posting Ubuntu 20.04 LTS / 20.10 / 21.04 benchmarks on the new Intel Xeon Platinum 8380 "Ice Lake" server processors, one of the first questions that came up was about how well these new 10nm server CPUs perform with Intel's own Clear Linux distribution. While Clear Linux releases have become much less frequent and far less to communicate these days on new improvements/optimizations among other ongoing shifts with that Intel open-source project, it is still performing very strongly with 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable hardware. CentOS in these tests also had a strong showing with the increasing performance focus on that front.
The benchmarks today are looking at the out-of-the-box performance of Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS and Ubuntu 21.04 up against Fedora Server 34, Clear Linux 34630, CentOS Linux 8, and CentOS Stream 8.
All six of these Linux distributions were cleanly installed on the reference Ice Lake server and run in their default/out-of-the-box configuration for seeing the performance offered up by each of these distributions with their default packages and standard configuration, including CentOS and Clear Linux being the only distributions defaulting to P-State performance by default while Clear Linux continues to ship with optimized compiler flags and a variety of patches and other optimizations in the name of better performance. Clear Linux also defaults to MQ-Deadline for the NVMe SSD storage while the other distributions default to "none", among other changes. Both Clear Linux and CentOS also default to always transparent huge pages compared to madvise with Fedora and Ubuntu, as another example.
These Linux distribution benchmarks were carried out with dual Xeon Platinum 8380 processors, 16 x 32GB DDR4-3200 memory, and Intel 3D XPoint DCP 5800X 800GB storage on this reference server.