Ubuntu 21.04 Server Performance Offering Nice Gains For AMD EPYC 7003 Series
Tomorrow's release of Ubuntu 21.04 is exciting on the desktop for Wayland by default in supported configurations and many other package updates and enhancements. But even for being a non-LTS release if you are interested in running Ubuntu Server there are some performance improvements to enjoy with newer platforms. Here is a look at the AMD EPYC 7003 "Milan" performance across Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, 20.10, and 21.04 with an AMD EPYC 7763 Supermicro server.
With newer hardware, generally the newer the Linux distribution means better performance and support. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise although doesn't always hold true when sometimes there are regressions and other changes that end up lowering the performance in the name of security or other factors. But in any case with Ubuntu 21.04 on AMD EPYC 7003 series hardware we are seeing some nice performance gains to enjoy with this latest Linux distribution release.
Ubuntu 21.04 is showing some very pronounced gains with the AMD EPYC 7763 1P server that I've been doing a lot of "Hirsute Hippo" testing on in recent days.
Off the same hardware (AMD EPYC 7763 1P with the Supermicro H12SSL motherboard, 8 x 16GB DDR4-3200 memory, and 3.8TB Micron 9300 NVMe SSD) Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Ubuntu 20.10, and Ubuntu 21.04 (in its near-final state) were all benchmarked with the same set of benchmarks.
In the Linux distribution comparisons and with many of our benchmarks being source-based, for building these benchmarks this time around we did stick to using the same compiler throughout -- GCC 11 as of earlier this month. That same compiler build was used throughout all distribution releases tested just to rule out compiler changes for the Ubuntu 21.04 gains, even though both Ubuntu 20.10 and 21.04 are using GCC 10 by default. It won't be until Ubuntu 21.10 in the autumn where GCC 11.1 (or 11.2) is the default system compiler. But in any case with runs I've done on the EPYC 7763 both when using the same (GCC 11) compiler or sticking to the default compilers (GCC 9 for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, GCC 10 for 20.10/21.04) there are nice gains to find with this imminent Ubuntu "Hirsute Hippo" release.
Some of the notable package upgrades that there are to find with Ubuntu 21.04 include switching to the Linux 5.11 kernel, Python 3.9 rather than Python 3.8 on the prior releases, and many other package updates. Also worth mentioning with the kernel upgrade is that CPUFreq Schedutil is now the default CPU frequency scaling governor for AMD systems on Ubuntu. Prior Ubuntu releases defaulted to the "ondemand" governor but following upstream changes, AMD Ubuntu users will now find Schedutil used by default. This in part is helping the AMD EPYC (and Ryzen, though still running more Ubuntu 21.04 benchmarks there) in delivering greater performance with this new distribution release. With Ubuntu 21.04 they have also begun building some packages with Link-Time Optimizations (LTO) enabled.
More Ubuntu 21.04 benchmarks on other systems/hardware will be coming up on Phoronix in the days ahead. Ubuntu 21.04 is due to be officially released tomorrow, 22 April.