Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (RHEL6.1) vs Debian 6 - A performance comparison

Written by Gionatan Danti on . Posted in Linux & Unix

User Rating:  / 17

Today a plethora of Linux distributions and spins are available for desktop usage, each of them with some peculiar features that enable it to gain a sometime big, other times small, user base.

However in the server landscape things are considerably more rigid: the vast majority of the installed base is shared by 3 or 4 “big names”. Two of these “big names” surely are Red Hat and Debian, two Linux distributions with quite different targets – and background philosophy. These differences are often so great that you have little doubt in the choice between the two; however, sometime you are in a position where you simply want to pick the best-performing Linux distribution, regardless of other parameters as cost, management, ect.

AMD LLANO A8-3850 and A8-3500M APU benchmarks analysis

Written by Gionatan Danti on . Posted in Hardware analysis

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Just some days ago AMD unleashed their new APU, codenamed Llano, and send some samples to selected hardware sites. This new, interesting APU brings an improved Stars (K10.5) CPU architecture and an integrated, mid-class Radeon core. At the moment, the only officially released APU versions are the mobile ones, while for the desktop ones we had to wait some more days.

To recap, the remarkable things about this new APU are:

  • the integrated, reasonable-performer Radeon core (up to 400sp, 20 TMU and 8 ROPS)

  • up to four improved Stars (K10.5) class cores

  • the promised Turbo core technology (to speed up cores based on their utilization and estimated thermal room), called “Core Performance Boost” of CPB in AMD BIOS documentation

  • the very low power consumption

EXT4 vs XFS: large volumes with high-end RAID controller

Written by Gionatan Danti on . Posted in Linux & Unix

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Some weeks ago, I run a complete set of filesystem benchmarks on a DELL R510 server equipped with 12x 2 TB SATA disk and a low-end PERC H200 controller ( you can read more here: ).

Now I am able to replicate the same set of benchmarks against a much more powerful PERC H700 storage controller, equipped with 1024 MB of non-volatile cache memory (it use DRAM memory backed up by a battery unit).

EXT4 vs XFS: large volumes with low-end RAID controller

Written by Gionatan Danti on . Posted in Linux & Unix

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Some months ago, I wrote an article comparing EXT3, EXT4, XFS and BTRFS filesystem performances with a Fedora 14 x86_64 installation done on a Dell Latitude D620 laptop. While the results were quite interesting (especially to evaluate BTRFS performance), they were collected on a consumer machine (a laptop), with consumer-grade processor and HDD. So, the results do not necessarily translate to server world in a linear manner – a very good filesystem for a single 2.5'' HDD can be inadequate for a multi-disk server machine, and vice-versa.

Today, thank to the “Center for Research Computing” at University of Notre Dame, and especially to Paul Brenner, Serguei Fedorov and Rich Sudlow, I am able to present you some filesystem benchmark results collected on a quite powerful Dell R510 server, loaded with 12 x 2 TB SATA disk connected to a low-end, inexpensive PERC H200 controller. The article will focus on EXT4 vs XFS performance, as EXT3 can not grow bigger than 2 TB and BTRFS is way too young (and unproven) to be considered in the server world. I hope that these data can help you to chose the right filesystem for your workload.

KVM vs Virtualbox 4.0 performance comparison on RHEL 6

Written by Gionatan Danti on . Posted in Virtualization

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Over one year ago, I tested the then-current versions of KVM, Virtualbox, Xen and VMWare Server in an attempt to identify the best-performing hypervisor (you can find the article here). That tests demonstrated that VMWare Server and Virtualbox where the highest performing softwares, with KVM slightly behind due to slow I/O speed and Xen severely lagging in CPU and memory speed. While the results were surely interesting, I tested the various virtualizer with one guest system only, and I never found the time to run the (desired) multi-guests test.

Now, the free virtualizers landscape is considerably changed: VMWare Server has not been updated since the end of 2009 and now it has some serious problems with the current libc version, while Xen seems a bit “forgotten” by the Linux community. At the same time, KVM and Virtualbox gained considerably traction, and they emerged as the favorite virtualizers in the Linux world.