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SubjectPerformance tests 2.4.7 SuSE / Red Hat vs. 2.4.14 (pre8)
Hi,

on LKML there were many discussions about the performance
of recent kernels. We did some test, too, and perhaps their
outcome is interesting to someone:

we tested in long time runs the performance of distributor
provide kernels based on 2.4.7 vs. the new stock 2.4.14 (pre 8).


1) Test description:
The test suite we use for our QA and stress tests consists of a
so-called "standard SAP SD benchmark". This benchmark tries to emulate a
typical user load on a SAP system. It consists of a benchmark driver
which simulates multiple users logging into the system and starting
transactions which consist of several dialog steps. The relevant
performance quantity is therefore based on the throughput, i.e. dialog
steps per second. More technically speaking the typical work load this
benchmark generates is dominated by m[map, copy], string operations and
integer operations. It has a huge memory footprint / working set
(approx. 2 GB). It tests mainly the CPU performance and the VM
behaviour. Network performance and disk IO (for the database) are
much less important.

Test hardware:
4 way Dell, 4 GB physical RAM, SCSI/RAID subsystem,
DB runs on FS.

Test setting:
we configured the SAP system for 4GB and measured the dialog steps per
second for a situation where only 1 GB was activated at boot time.
This led to heavy swapping load over several hours to days.
The results were checked several times.

2) Main result:
Dialog steps per second of a typical test series:

2.4.7 2.4.14
-----------------------------------------
8.59 15.47
4.40 14.76
2.67 11.61
2.30 14.63
1.87 14.42
1.65 15.30
1.26 15.02
1.68 14.53
1.17 15.23
1.80 12.82
1.10 14.59
1.20 16.09
1.26 14.38
1.34 15.41


Two aspects seem to be reproduceable:
1) whereas 2.4.7 shows a significant degradation over time
2.4.14 remains stable.

2) the asymptotic behaviour of the 2.4.14 based kernel is faster
than 2.4.7 by a _factor_ of around _10_. Compared to
our previous experiences with 2.2 ad 2.4 based this is
incredible... (OK, I don't want to become enthusiastic :-))



3) Details of typical runs:

2.4.7:
------

a)
vmstat 5:

procs memory swap io system
cpu
r b w swpd free buff cache si so bi bo in
cs us
sy id
0 18 0 1718772 4692 380 9404 56 45 60 48 43 71
1 0 98
0 15 1 1725360 5824 384 9384 5102 692 5109 713 410 1155
2 1 96
0 13 0 1723960 4824 372 9308 3316 467 3316 478 390 925
2 2 96
0 21 1 1719720 5576 368 9320 3973 1162 3978 1197 494
887
3 2 95
0 21 1 1727092 4732 368 9316 1539 1187 1539 1191 419
399
1 1 98
0 16 1 1726992 4752 368 9268 4510 951 4517 982 432 956
4 3 94


b)
Top 10 of /proc/profile:
5785008 default_idle 90390.7500
10132 blk_get_queue 126.6500
6744 swap_out_pmd 22.1842
5839 refill_inactive_scan 19.2072
3451 __wake_up 17.9740
9004 __get_swap_page 13.7256
402 __free_pages 12.5625
1143 __remove_inode_page 10.2054
469 add_wait_queue_exclusive 9.7708
3398 bounce_end_io_read 9.2337


c)
meminfo during run:
total: used: free: shared: buffers: cached:
Mem: 1051394048 1047044096 4349952 443473920 1052672 294608896
Swap: 4294934528 1314680832 2980253696
MemTotal: 1026752 kB
MemFree: 4248 kB
MemShared: 433080 kB
Buffers: 1028 kB
Cached: 20900 kB
SwapCached: 266804 kB
Active: 694700 kB
Inact_dirty: 19296 kB
Inact_clean: 7816 kB
Inact_target: 12836 kB
HighTotal: 131072 kB
HighFree: 1460 kB
LowTotal: 895680 kB
LowFree: 2788 kB
SwapTotal: 4194272 kB
SwapFree: 2910404 kB
NrSwapPages: 727602 pages


###################################################################

2.4.14:
--------

a) vmstat 5:
procs memory swap io system
cpu
r b w swpd free buff cache si so bi bo in
cs us
sy id
22 0 3 898668 6248 472 682160 273 108 298 187 67 391 55
3 42
11 1 5 898696 2676 836 684692 2661 489 2813 1576 564 2570 91
9 0
21 3 4 899164 5824 512 684520 2863 666 2947 2096 595 2517 77
9 14
15 2 2 899628 5212 440 683816 3134 658 3260 2023 647 2631 89
4 7
23 5 4 899796 5284 452 684860 2726 824 2842 2297 641 2552 81
5 14
16 7 4 899700 6056 400 683916 3250 788 3346 2079 656 2527 89
5 6



b) /proc/profile:
219002 default_idle 3421.9062
604 fget 9.4375
452 system_call 8.0714
354 sock_poll 7.3750
488 wake_up_process 5.0833
2123 scsi_dispatch_cmd 4.9144
230 add_wait_queue_exclusive 4.7917
269 mark_page_accessed 4.2031
55 RDOUTDOOR 3.4375
197 __generic_copy_to_user 3.0781

Despite a comparable swapping rate the 2.4.14 runs much more smooth.
One reason could be that the VM has stepped almost completely out of the
way...


c)
meminfo during run:
total: used: free: shared: buffers: cached:
Mem: 1052712960 1046528000 6184960 0 319488 856850432
Swap: 4294934528 1313320960 2981613568
MemTotal: 1028040 kB
MemFree: 6040 kB
MemShared: 0 kB
Buffers: 312 kB
Cached: 714576 kB
SwapCached: 122192 kB
Active: 851084 kB
Inactive: 113592 kB
HighTotal: 131072 kB
HighFree: 2044 kB
LowTotal: 896968 kB
LowFree: 3996 kB
SwapTotal: 4194272 kB
SwapFree: 2911732 kB


###########################################################################

4) Our conclusion:

Although we still see some problems with the 2.4.14 based kernel it
looks really promising for us. A _stable_ increase of a factor of
10 in memory critical situations is impressive. Especially since our
customer tend to steer every system finally into this load region ;-)

Great work!


Best regards
Willi Nuesser
SAP LinuxLab

PS:
Please CC me, since I'm not on LKML

PPS:
In case you need any further info please mail me. We can put more
detailed data on our ftp server.










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