Scaling Compression Performance
By Thierry Manfe on May 10, 2010
As already illustrated in this entry, the SPARC CMT servers have a real ability to scale under CPU load. The parallel bzip2 utility - a.k.a. pbzip2 - provides another good example of what such a server can achieve.
Following is a screen-shot taken with the perfbar utility. The green part of the columns shows, for each hardware thread, the percentage of time spent in user mode, running pbzip2. The red part represents the time spent executing the Solaris kernel instructions while and the blue shows the time spent idle, waiting for something to do.
The server comes with a single CMT processor with 8 cores, each core being able to run 4 threads for a total of 36 hardware threads.
Now some performance numbers: on this CMT server pbzip2 compresses a 5.5GB file 20X faster than bzip2 (6min versus 120min) for a similar compression ratio (2.62 versus 2.75). As per gzip, it compresses the file in 45min with a compression ratio of 2.39.