FreeBSD 7.0 boosts performance and scalability

By   |  February 28, 2008

Version 7.0 of the open source operating system FreeBSD was released early this morning with a host of features that promise significant improvements in performance and SMP scalability. FreeBSD 7.0-release is available for the amd64, i386, ia64, pc98, and powerpc architectures. The version for the sparc64 architecture will become available in a few days.

FreeBSD 7.0 can be installed from bootable ISO images or over the network. The required files can be downloaded via FTP or BitTorrent as described in the sections below. While some of the smaller FTP mirrors may not carry all architectures, they will all generally contain the more common ones, such as i386 and amd64.

The development team says that in benchmark tests FreeBSD 7.0 showed performance increases of as much as 350 percent at normal loads over FreeBSD 6. At high loads that performance increased by as much as 1500 percent.

Among changes in this release are: the 1:1 libthr threading model is now the default; there is finer-grained IPC, networking, and scheduler locking; and an optimised SMP architecture.

Some benchmarks show linear scaling up to 8 CPUs. Many workloads see a significant performance improvement with multicore systems.

-The ULE scheduler is vastly improved, providing improved performance and interactive response (the 4BSD scheduler is still the default for 7.0 but ULE may become the default for 7.1).
– Experimental support for Sun’s ZFS filesystem.
– gjournal can be used to set up journaled filesystems, gvirstor can be used as a virtualized storage provider.
– Read-only support for the XFS filesystem.
– The unionfs filesystem has been fixed.
– iSCSI initiator.
– TSO and LRO support for some network drivers.
– Experimental SCTP (Stream Control Transmission Protocol) support (FreeBSD’s being the reference implementation).
– Much improved wireless (802.11) support.
– Network link aggregation/trunking (lagg(4)) imported from OpenBSD.
– JIT compilation to turn BPF into native code, improving packet capture performance.
– Much improved support for embedded system development for boards based on the ARM architecture.
– jemalloc, a new and highly scalable user-level memory allocator.
– freebsd-update(8) provides officially supported binary upgrades to new releases in addition to security fixes and errata patches.
– X.Org 7.3, KDE 3.5.8, GNOME 2.20.2.
– GNU C compiler 4.2.1.
– BIND 9.4.2.

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