A Look At The Windows 10 October 2018 Update Performance With WSL

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 12 October 2018 at 10:55 AM EDT. Page 1 of 4. 9 Comments.

As the first of our Linux vs. Windows benchmarks coming around Microsoft's Windows 10 October 2018 Update, today we are exploring the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) performance to see if they have finally managed to improve the I/O performance for this Linux binary compatibility layer and how the WSL performs compared to Ubuntu and Clear Linux.

For those that have missed my previous rounds of Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) benchmarking, this Linux binary compatibility layer for Windows is surprisingly performant for most workloads... Microsoft all around has done a surprisingly good job on WSL with its support and performance. The big exception to the strong WSL performance though has been for I/O workloads struggling a great deal due to WSL needing to track the various meta-data separately, backing the I/O by their long-standing NTFS file-system, and other complications between Linux/Windows I/O handling. But they continue to express they are working on improving the I/O performance and as such I was anxious to see if there are any improvements with this October 2018 Update.

For some fresh benchmarks, I tested Windows 10 April 2018 Update against the latest Windows 10 October 2018 Update. The WSL image used was the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS stack available from the Windows Store in each case. Also, Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS was benchmarked when installed bare-metal on the system for seeing the true Ubuntu Linux performance on the same hardware. Additionally, benchmarks were also done on this same system with Intel's latest Clear Linux distribution as the gold standard for x86_64 Linux performance to push the hardware to its full potential.

The same system was used for the duration of tests in the same configuration and was an Intel Core i7 8086K on an ASUS PRIME Z370-A motherboard, 120GB Intel 760p Optane SSD, and Radeon RX 580 graphics card.

These WSL vs. Linux benchmarks were carried out using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite. Other non-WSL Windows 10 October 2018 Update versus Linux benchmarks will be coming up on Phoronix next week.

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