Performance Blog

OpenSolaris beats Linux on Memcached !

Posted on: May 21, 2009

Following on the heels of our memcached performance tests
on SunFire X2270 ( Sun’s Nehalem-based server) running OpenSolaris, we
ran the same tests on the same server but this time on RHEL5. As
mentioned in the post presenting the first memcached results,
a 10GBE Intel Oplin card was used in order to achieve the high
throughput rates possible with these servers. It turned out that using
this card on linux involved a bit of work resulting in driver and kernel

  • With the default ixgbe driver from the RedHat
    distribution (version 1.3.30-k2 on kernel 2.6.18)), the interface
    simply hung during the benchmark test.
  • This led to downloading the driver from the Intel site ( and re-compiling it. This version does work and we got a maximum throughput of 232K operations/sec on the same linux kernel (2.6.18). However, this version of the kernel does not have support for multiple rings.
  • The kernel version 2.6.29 includes support for multiple rings but still doesn’t have the latest ixgbe driver which is 1.3.56-2-NAPI. So we downloaded, built and installed these versions of the kernel and driver. This worked well giving a maximum throughput of 280K with some

Results Comparison

The system running OpenSolaris and memcached 1.3.2 gave us a maximum throughput of 350Kops/sec as previously reported. The same system running RHEL5 (with kernel 2.6.29) and the same version of memcached resulted in 280K ops/sec. OpenSolaris outperforms Linux by 25% !

Linux Tuning

The following Linux tunables were changed to try and get the best performance:

net.ipv4.tcp_timestamps = 0
net.core.wmem_default = 67108864
net.core.wmem_max = 67108864
net.core.optmem_max = 67108864
net.ipv4.tcp_dsack = 0
net.ipv4.tcp_sack = 0
net.ipv4.tcp_window_scaling = 0
net.core.netdev_max_backlog = 300000
net.ipv4.tcp_max_syn_backlog = 200000

Here are the ixgbe specific settings that were used (2 transmit, 2 receive rings): 
RSS=2,2 InterruptThrottleRate =1600,1600

OpenSolaris Tuning

The following settings in /etc/system were used to set the number of MSIX:
set ddi_msix_alloc_limit=4
set pcplusmp:apic_intr_policy=1

For the ixgbe interface, 4 transmit and 4 receive rings gave the best performance :

tx_queue_number=4, rx_queue_number=4

Finally, we bound the crossbow threads:

dladm set-linkprop -p cpus=12,13,14,15 ixgbe0


3 Responses to "OpenSolaris beats Linux on Memcached !"

Once again another reason to choose OpenSolaris for your webservers!

Why not implement niche features of Solaris in Linux?

Is this test possible with any of the BSD’s? If so it would be a nice comparison too.

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