Open-Source Web Servers: Performance on a Carrier-Class Linux Platform

Ibrahim tests the performance of three open-source webservers on a typical Ericsson Research Linux clusterplatform.

ARIES started as a proof-of-concept project to study if we could build an internet server that has near telecom-grade characteristics using Linux and open-source software as the base technology. We have experimented with the various Linux distributions, web and streaming servers, traffic distribution and load-balancing schemes, distributed and journaling filesystems suitable for HA Linux clusters and redundancy solutions (NFS, Ethernet, Software RAID).

For the future, the work in ARIES will be directed toward augmenting the clustering capabilities of Linux to enable the system to accommodate more types of mobile internet services in addition to the already deployed web server applications looked at thus far. The focus will be to enable the system to reach the optimal utilization of the cluster's resources and to enhance the security aspects required within a mobile internet server. In addition, the project will augment the capabilities of the existing systems by supporting IPv6 technology.

We are keeping all three web servers on our experimental Linux cluster platform. The tested web servers did not scale linearly as we added more CPUs. However, they demonstrated very good performance and near-linear scalability (testing was limited to 12 CPUs). We are currently deploying the latest versions of Apache (2.0.15a), Jigsaw (2.2.0) and Tomcat (3.2).

Based on our tests, we believe that Apache has shown to be considerably faster and more stable than other web servers. We are looking forward to testing and experimenting with the 2.0 release version, which promises a clean code, a well-structured I/O layering and a much-enhanced scalability.


The author would like to acknowledge the Open Architecture Research Department at Ericsson Research for approving the publication of this article, as well as Marc Chatel and Evangeline Paquin, Ericsson Research Canada, for their help and contributions to the benchmarking activities.



Ibrahim F. Haddad ( works for Ericsson Research, the Open Architecture Lab in Montréal, researching carrier-class server nodes in real-time all IP networks. He is currently a DSc candidate in Computer Science at Concordia University.



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This great work needs updating

Pierreg's picture

There's a FREE Web Server which is faster than all others, up to:

25x faster than Apache
20x faster than nginx and Rock (webspec's 2008/2009 winner)
400x faster than PHP, 200x faster than Python

With TrustLeap G-WAN, organizations can use much less computers
(and electricity) to achieve the same works:

Re: Open-Source Web Servers: Performance on a Carrier-Class...

Anonymous's picture

Very useful article - however, comparing Tomcat and Apache is like comparing apples and oranges: Apache is designed to serve static content, while Tomcat is primarily a JSP/Servlet engine, and contains a standalone web server as a convenience.

Apache 2.0 threading

Anonymous's picture

Good article. Would like to know if Apache 2.0 was set up in this test to run threaded, or multi-process. The
similarity in performance makes me think both Apache 2.0 and 1.3 versions were running multiple Apache processes, with
resulting overhead from spawing new processes. Under Linux this isn't huge, but other unices have problems with
this model.

I'm also interested in Apache 2.0's multithreded performance when running as an app server - mod_perl, mod_php or
mod_python for example. Does threading allow sharing of persistent database connections, and what effect does that
have on memory usage, speed, and behaviour under heavy loads?

Re: Open-Source Web Servers: Performance on a Carrier-Class...

fyl's picture

I'm very pleased we got to run an article like this. This is our best defense against FUD from vendors of "less capable" web servers. When I got into Linux I never expected to see IBM running TV ads about Linux but what we see here shows me that IBM (and the rest of us) are on the right team.

Re: Open-Source Web Servers: Performance on a Carrier-Class Linu

Anonymous's picture

a very useful article.