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Intel Open Source SuSE Ubuntu Linux

Clear Linux Beats CentOS, openSUSE, and Ubuntu in (Enterprise) Benchmark Tests (phoronix.com) 136

An anonymous reader writes: Recently completed Linux distro benchmarks by Phoronix show Intel's Clear Linux is the most powerful on x86 hardware. A six-way, enterprise-focused Linux distro comparison show Clear Linux being the fastest with a Core i9 and Xeon systems, easily beating CentOS, openSUSE, and Ubuntu in a majority of the tests.

When doing an 11-way Linux distro boot test they also found Clear Linux easily booted the fastest followed by the Clear-inspired Solus distribution. Clear Linux does work on AMD hardware and works on Intel CPUs back to Sandy Bridge but leverages its speed from optimized compiler settings, specially built libraries capable of AVX instructions on supported systems, a specially tuned kernel configuration, and other optimizations/patches.

Debian 9.2 and Fedora 27 "ended up being dropped from this article due to data overload," the article concludes, "and those distributions really not offering anything really different in terms of the performance."
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Clear Linux Beats CentOS, openSUSE, and Ubuntu in (Enterprise) Benchmark Tests

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  • Linux distro produced by Intel, tuned by Intel for latest Intel hardware, works fastest of any distro on latest Intel hardware. Shocking!

    • I bet itâ(TM)s really Gentoo but they futzed with the compiler optimizations then built it in a cluster so they could finish before the heat death of the universe.

    • by jmccue ( 834797 )

      and in other news, when I get out of bed tomorrow I will see this big bright yellow circle in the sky, seems it is always there, every day.

      (I had no mod points for you, so had to say something dumb)

      • You obviously don't live in the Pacific Northwestern US.

        • Correction: COASTAL Pacific Northwest.

          The other side of the Cascades is still the PNW. And a good part of it is semi-arid desert.
          • The other side of the Cascades is still the PNW. And a good part of it is semi-arid desert.

            Ha! There’s nothing east of the Cascades. Spokane and Omak are imaginary places - they’re make-believe, just like Narnia or Canada.

      • Lucky you, where I live it only becomes visible when I'm at work and stops being visible when I'm still at work.
    • It's Intel's optimized compiler but as a distro this time!
    • The general result isn't particularly surprising, but the scale is. In some of those tests, the 'conventional' distros are 3x slower.
    • Instead of CentOS, it would have made more sense to benchmark Oracle Linux, running both the UEK (Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel), and the RHCK (Red Hat-Compatible Kernel).

      I've never tried running the UEK on CentOS/RedHat/Scientific Linux. I'm assuming it's built with GCC and runs equally well on AMD vs. Intel.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 26, 2017 @09:46PM (#55627199)

    A hardware company that optimises software to run on its chipsets. No voodoo here. Whilst I dislike Intel for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the recent Minix debacle, this is nothing to ponder over.

    I'll stick with FreeBSD and Red Hat/CentOS.

  • Boots faster ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drnb ( 2434720 ) on Sunday November 26, 2017 @10:05PM (#55627265)
    Boots faster ... ok, how often do we reboot linux ? :-)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 26, 2017 @10:21PM (#55627307)

      Every time systemd crashes.

    • Exactly; Boot time dick measuring is a waste of time and leads to abominations like SystemD.

      • Great way to show that you have literally no clue about systemd, what it does, or why.
        • SystemD is either a SysV init replacement or it's not. If it's not then it shouldn't be PID 1; If it IS then it shouldn't be doing all the crap that it currently does.

    • Re:Boots faster ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Sunday November 26, 2017 @10:56PM (#55627381)
      Every time I start a new VM on Amazon EC2. Since you're paying by a second now, boot time matters if you're launching hundreds of instances.
      • by drnb ( 2434720 )

        Every time I start a new VM on Amazon EC2. Since you're paying by a second now, boot time matters if you're launching hundreds of instances.

        If boot time is not a trivial inconsequential amount of time, you are doing VMs wrong.

      • If after running up hundreds of instances boot time is anything but pocket change in the process you have completed fucked up your systems.
    • by keltor ( 99721 ) *
      In a horizontally scaled application, it can be important to how responsive the horizontal scaling is. A big enough issue that we're now using resumed images instead of actually booting them.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    is faster at cherry-picked benchmarks than its full-sized parent. how much did this ad cost?

  • sounds to me someone doesn't know what the meaning of the word enterprise is if the highlighted comparison in the summary is it "booted fastest"
  • The car analogy would be a fast motorcycle versus mainstream, general purpose sedans. Yes, Clear Linux is faster. I could possibly make a Linux distro which is faster than RHEL, and other mainstream distros as well, especially if I tossed the initial RAMdisk image, and booted to some sort of init at once.

    I appreciate Intel making Clear Linux available, and for IoT devices, a fast boot time is a must... but other than Clear Containers, I'd like to see more security features. IoT is where a focus in securi

  • by knorthern knight ( 513660 ) on Monday November 27, 2017 @12:00AM (#55627543)

    > but leverages its speed from optimized compiler settings, specially
    > built libraries capable of AVX instructions on supported systems,
    > a specially tuned kernel configuration, and other optimizations/patches.

    I see your "Clear Linux" and raise you Gentoo with

    CFLAGS="-O2 -march=native -mfpmath=sse -fopenmp -fomit-frame-pointer -pipe -fno-unwind-tables -fno-asynchronous-unwind-tables"
    CXXFLAGS="${CFLAGS}

    and also appropriate CPU_FLAGS_X86 for the CPU, as well as the same kernel tuning used for Clear Linux. I dare Phoronix to try that. It should be a much closer horse race.

    • I love Gentoo and have used it frequently but if you're a sysadmin managing hundreds or thousands of servers on hardware that's not homogenous (different CPUs, different NICs, etc) it's a non starter. Building, testing and distributing multiple builds is a drain on company resources that has to be offset by performance gains. That's a hard sell. There are plenty of companies that use Gentoo but it's generally for very specific functions and not company wide. ClearLinux lets companies get the benefits of

  • Strange that the two benchmarks mentioned are "enterprise performance" and "boot speed". If you care about the former you probably don't care about the latter, and vice versa.
  • Stupid benchmarks

    Some of the benchmarks run seem pretty stupid, for the goal of evaluating Linux for the enterprise. Whether your Perl script compiles in 0.001 or 0.002 seconds? Really? On others, it had more to do with packages, for example, PHP/5 was slower than PHP/7. That's not really relevant: If you need PHP/7, you'll install it.

    That said, Clear Linux does come in ahead on virtually all of the benchmarks listed. Clear Linux is by Intel, and these tests are all running on Intel processors. I suspect th

    • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

      I doubt anything is being kept back by Intel, it's just that Intel target a higher common denominator...
      Binaries in centos or rhel are compiled for a generic amd64 cpu, and therefore can't take advantage of features present in newer processors. A gentoo install targeting the specific hardware being used to test would probably beat both of them.

  • We've know for a LONG time that Intel's compiler can do tricks with x86 that the GCC guys could only dream of.
    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      We've know for a LONG time that Intel's compiler can do tricks with x86 that the GCC guys could only dream of.

      The major trick is disabling optimizations when the CPU does not report GENUINEINTEL.

  • by whitroth ( 9367 ) <whitroth@@@5-cent...us> on Monday November 27, 2017 @12:40PM (#55630711) Homepage

    Who, other than someone running it on a laptop, gives a flying fart how fast it boots?

    I've got an older (580 G5) that takes SEVENTY SECONDS before the POST logo appears. I've got HBS (honkin' big servers) that take minutes before it gets to the grub boot. And the servers, we're working on a once-a-month maintenance window, to reboot to new kernels, etc.

    Show me how it outperforms other distros running, say, a very large R job, or modeling protein folding. Then I'll be interested....

    • I've never seen a VM instance take more than a split second to post. Who* uses servers these days? Throw them off a cliff and into the clouds.

      I'm only being partially facetious here. Spinning up an entire OS instance for a short activity is rapidly becoming a thing that we are interested in doing these days, and shaving that boot time counts when you're paying by the second.

  • Red Hat's "tuned" package will set the CPU frequency governor to a high-performance governor if the word "server" or the word "computenode" appear in the system's CPE identifier. CentOS's CPE contains neither, so a low-performance profile is selected by default.

    Details are available here: http://jperrin.org/centos/boos... [jperrin.org]

    The short version is that CentOS "out of the box" will always benchmark poorly, and you must run "tuned-adm profile throughput-performance" to get a high performance profile.

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