EC2 Cloud Linux Benchmarks: Amazon, Clear, Debian, Red Hat, SUSE, Ubuntu
Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 3 December 2018. Page 1 of 4. 5 Comments

Complementing our many recent bare-metal Linux distribution comparison benchmarks, here is a fresh look at how the various high profile Linux distributions are running on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). For this round of testing on their current-generation M5 instance type, Amazon Linux 2, Clear Linux 26600, Debian 9.6, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15, and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS were benchmarked.

For providing some fresh Linux cloud benchmarks, these six Linux distributions were tested over the weekend using an Amazon m5.4xlarge as a medium-tier, general purpose instance with 16 vCPUs, 64GB of memory, and EBS storage. The m5.4xlarge instance types are currently running on Intel Xeon Platinum 8175M processors with KVM. All of the distributions were tested out-of-the-box with their standard Spectre/Meltdown mitigations, default compiler toolchains, etc. Below are the prominent details for these Amazon, Clear Linux, Debian, Red Hat, SUSE, and Ubuntu releases benchmarked for this EOY2018 comparison.

All of the benchmarks were carried out using the fully-automated and open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.

While SQLite is more common on desktops than in the cloud, it was included as an I/O test. Amazon Linux 2 ended up being noticeably faster than the other tested Linux distributions while Debian 9.6 Stretch came in as the slowest. Even with Clear Linux's by-default compiler optimizations, it was running in the middle of the six tested platforms.

In the case of CompileBench, Clear Linux won one of them by a large margin but lost significantly during the compile test. For the I/O workloads it is worth noting that Clear chooses to use the mq-deadline schedule while the other distributions tested default to "none" for their I/O scheduler choice. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 and Amazon Linux 2 were leading in the compile test while the results in the more I/O heavy initial create test were a wash aside from RHEL 7.6 coming in last and Clear having a strong first place finish.

Clear Linux performed particularly well with the OpenMP LavaMD benchmark compared to the others. (Note that OpenMP was used throughout, the OpenCL flags just appear on some of the distributions where the OpenCL library and header files were present, with the automated reporting of compiler flags.)

But with Rodinia's computational fluid dynamics solver, Debian 9.6 and Ubuntu 18.04 scored wins ahead of the Intel-optimized Linux distribution.

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