Solaris 10 on x86 really performs

Someone pointed me to this article from George Colony, CEO, Forrester Research and the real story from Tom Adelstein. Both are pretty interesting articles but one of the feedbacks "Untrue... Learn the Facts first" to Tom kind of got me motivated to write this blog. "Solaris 10 on x86" can really match Linux in performance and better yet, linearly scale over large number of CPUs (remember that 8 CPUs x86 blades are here already and then we will start seeing 8 CPUs, dual core blades). The new network architecture (FireEngine) in S10 allows the same code to give a huge performance win on 1 and 2 CPU configurations and give linear scaling when more CPUs are added.

Take for instance web performance. We have improvemed 2 CPU performance by close to 50% (compared to Solaris 9) using a real web server like Apache, Sun One Web Server, Zeus, etc without any gimmicks like kernel caching etc. Its just plain webserver with TCP/IP and a dumb NIC. Some of our Solaris express customers are telling us that we are outperforming RHEL AS3 by almost 15-35% on the same hardware.

Interested in more numbers - On static and dynamic webbench, Solaris 10 is at par with RHEL AS3 on 2 CPU v20z while its ahead by 15% on webbench Ecommerce benchmark. On the same box, we can saturate a 1Gb NIC using only 8-9% on a 2.2Ghz Opteron processor but the real killer deal is that our 10Gb drivers are coming up and Alex Aizman fromS2io just informed me that we are pushing close to 7.3Gbps traffic on a v20z (with 2 x 1.6 Ghz Opterons) with more than 20% CPU to spare. We haven't even ported the driver to the high performance Nemo framework or enabled any hardware features as yet. So I am expecting a huge upside in next 2-3 months as the driver gets ported to Nemo (Paul and Yuzo should tell you more about Nemo sometime soon).

The improvements are not restricted to TCP only. We are doing a FireEngine followup for UDP which improves Tibco benchmark by 130% and Volano Mark benchmark by 30%. The customer tells us that we are outperforming RHEL AS3 by almost 15% on the same hardware. Adi et. al. can add some more details about UDP performance.

And the big killer features on Opterons, you can run 64bit Oracle or webserver on 64bit Solaris to take advantage of the bigger VM space but leave bulk of your apps to be 32bits which run unchanged.

I am not claiming the best performing OS title (atleast not yet!) for Solaris 10, but guys, we are still ramping up! Every new project going in Solaris is now delivering double digits performance improvements (FireEngine architecture has opened the door) and soon I will claim that title :) I must add that all these gains come on the same hardware without application needing to change at all. Just get the latest Solaris Express and see it for yourself.

And BTW, most of us at SUN are really pretty friendly towards Linux. Sure we compete in a good natured way. And Tom did hit the nail on the head regarding why people at SUN don't like Red Hat - Its really has to do with them having transformed free Linux into a not so free Linux.

Comments:

Is it the case that RHEL still runs on 2.4 kernel? I have seen a speed increase with 2.6 kernel on some systems. I would also point out that Sol9 is not slouch on x86 in any case - I installed it on a "low-end" dual PII-400 system and was VERY impressed. Also the Solaris virtual memory manager seems much better than the Linux one (no numbers, just a feeling).

Posted by PatrickG on October 11, 2004 at 11:55 PM PDT #

[Trackback] Let it rip is another useful post about Solaris 10 performance, this time focusing om Intel processors.

Posted by 42 on October 12, 2004 at 01:23 AM PDT #

I'm looking forward to putting Solaris 10 on the box next to my desk. I'm also looking forward to adding the knowledge base to JDShelp.org.

Posted by Tom Adelstein on October 12, 2004 at 03:17 AM PDT #

Thanks for the good word guys. I highly recommend trying Solaris 10 via Solaris express. Would love to hear the feedback. As for RHEL running on 2.4 kernel, I think that is still true. They have kind of forked the distro (someone correct me if I am wrong) by pulling in useful performance features from 2.6 into 2.4. This is what they call RHEL AS3.

Posted by Sunay on October 12, 2004 at 04:47 PM PDT #

How does it do against RHEL 4 betas ? By the time Solaris 10 is release that will be the competition. Alex

Posted by Alex Madden on October 12, 2004 at 05:46 PM PDT #

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Sunay Tripathi, Sun Distinguished Engineer, Solaris Core OS, writes a weblog on architecture for Solaris Networking Stack, GLDv3 (Nemo) framework, Crossbow Network Virtualization and related things

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