AWS Z1D, M5A (AMD EPYC) Performance Comparison

This is the time-honoured Linux kernel benchmark.

In order to prepare a stock Amazon Linux 2 installation to compile the kernel, the following packages need to be installed:

sudo yum update
sudo yum install kernel-devel
sudo yum install ncurses-devel
sudo yum install bison
sudo yum install flex
sudo yum install openssl-devel

Preparation was simply unzipping the 4.20-rc3 tarball from, running "make menuconfig" and immediately saving the config (no changes) and then make -j 4.

This was on Amazon Linux 2, with a 40GB GP2 EBS block storage volume.

AMD EPYC m5a.xlarge:

time tar zxf linux-4.20-rc3.tar.gz

real 0m6.109s
user 0m5.928s
sys 0m2.838s

And the kernel build:

time make -j 4

real 18m31.421s
user 66m52.071s
sys 5m54.968s

Intel Xeon Platinum m5.xlarge:

time tar zxf linux-4.20-rc3.tar.gz 

real 0m4.693s
user 0m4.688s
sys 0m1.767s

the kernel build:

time make -j 4

real 14m4.332s
user 49m12.569s
sys 5m44.682s

So there we have it: on a kernel compilation, one run, the Intel instance completed the kernel compilation 25% faster.

Update 13-Dec-2018. The new Z1D instance is supposed to be significantly faster than M5/C5/R5 due to sustained 4 GHz Turbo Boost on all cores.

time tar zxf linux-4.20-rc3.tar.gz 

real 0m3.648s
user 0m3.623s

sys 0m1.438s

z1d.xlarge (also 4 vCPU) is 22% faster than m5.xlarge at uncompressing the kernel.

the kernel build:

time make -j 4

real 11m25.560s
user 39m35.242s

sys 5m2.343s

also 23% faster. So it looks like for general purpose workloads (that are probably I/O bound) the Z1D only provides a 20% performance uplift.

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