Effects of Spectre and Meltdown on BeeGFS performance


The names Meltdown and Spectre refer to security vulnerabilities caused by the way processors had speculative execution implemented. A good overview is given at this page. Therefore, in January 2018 Linux kernels received updates with patches to partially disable this technique of performance enhancement at the cost of decreased performance.

When patches to avoid Meltdown or Spectre attacks are active on a BeeGFS server or BeeGFS client, they affect the performance of BeeGFS, similar to every other file system or syscalls from applications in general (such syscalls include not only the commonly known file read() or write() operations, but also communication operations like send(), recv(), and others). On the public beegfs-user mailing list, reference results were shared by the Zuse Institute to compare performance of artificial benchmarks and real-world applications with and without attack prevention enabled: BeeGFS User Group - Spectre and Meltdown discussion

Depending on the environment, the patches to avoid the speculative execution on processors, can be disabled with peace of confidence:
For further reading about technical details and how to disable the attack prevention for improved performance on Red Hat systems and SUSE systems, please see here:
Red Hat
SUSE


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