Sunday, March 20, 2011

Performance of ASP.NET on Windows/IIS vs Linux/Apache


The rivalry between proponents of .NET and Java frameworks has always reminded me of rivalry between Red Sox and Yankees. Each framework has its ups and downs, but in the end is a solid framework for designing enterprise-level applications. One major drawback of .NET compared to Java is that it’s not really platform independent and is geared heavily towards the MS Windows Operating system. The Mono project is a cross platform, open source .NET framework implementation. Mono makes it possible to run .NET applications including ASP.NET under Linux using Apache, and not to be bound into any specific technologies with their associated licensing fees.

I’ve always anticipated Apache to be faster than IIS but never tested it. This weekend, I had some spare time on my hands, so I decided to compare the performance of a typical ASP.NET application running on Windows with IIS web server versus its performance under Linux with Apache. What I found out is that on average Apache was serving requests three times faster than IIS.

A word of caution is that this comparison wasn’t scientific, as different background processes may have affected the timing. We’re also comparing ‘apples’ to ‘oranges’ since the Mono framework doesn’t implement the full breadth of features available with Microsoft .NET CLR. However, for simple programs, I am still convinced that using Apache will yield better performance. Below are my notes on the performance evaluation.

Test Platform

I use an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU T6600 @ 2.20 Ghz Mhz, 2 core, 2 logical processors with 4GB RAM at home. It’s partitioned to dual boot into ether Windows Vista or Ubuntu Linux. So I could execute the tests onto two different stacks of technology under identical hardware.

Test Program

I’ve used a test program from the following CodeProject’s Mono article. It’s effectively a ‘hello world’ program on steroids, which prints your computer’s configuration along with details of the HTTP request.

using System;
using System.Web.UI.WebControls;
namespace SimpleWebApp
   public class SimplePage : System.Web.UI.Page
      protected Label operatingSystem;
      protected Label operatingSystemVersion;
      protected Label requestedPage;
      protected Label requestIP;
      protected Label requestUA;
      protected Label serverName;
      protected override void OnLoad(EventArgs e)
         base.OnLoad (e);
      private void DisplayServerDetails()
        serverName.Text = Environment.MachineName;
        operatingSystem.Text = Environment.OSVersion.Platform.ToString();
        operatingSystemVersion.Text = Environment.OSVersion.Version.ToString();
      private void DisplayRequestDetails()
         requestedPage.Text = Request.Url.AbsolutePath;
         requestIP.Text = Request.UserHostAddress;
         requestUA.Text = Request.UserAgent;


For benchmarking, I used Apache Benchmark tool, which fired off 8,000 requests to the webpage with a 100 thread concurrency. On average, the Apache with mod_mono module was able to serve requests three times faster than an IIS installation.

1. Apache with mod_mono under Ubuntu

$ ab -n 8000 -c 100 -g out.dat http://localhost/index.aspx
This is ApacheBench, Version 2.3 <$Revision: 655654 $>

Server Software: Apache/2.2.11
Server Hostname: localhost
Server Port: 80

Document Path: /index.aspx
Document Length: 1992 bytes

Concurrency Level: 100
Time taken for tests: 20.273 seconds
Complete requests: 8000
Failed requests: 6
(Connect: 0, Receive: 0, Length: 6, Exceptions: 0)
Write errors: 0
Non-2xx responses: 6
Total transferred: 18559720 bytes
HTML transferred: 15927990 bytes
Requests per second: 394.62 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request: 253.408 [ms] (mean)
Time per request: 2.534 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests)
Transfer rate: 894.05 [Kbytes/sec] received

Connection Times (ms)
min mean[+/-sd] median max
Connect: 0 0 2.3 0 24
Processing: 19 252 55.6 244 619
Waiting: 13 252 55.7 243 619
Total: 28 252 55.1 244 619

Percentage of the requests served within a certain time (ms)
50% 244
66% 258
75% 267
80% 273
90% 297
95% 340
98% 407
99% 560
100% 619 (longest request)

2. IIS under Windows Vista

C:\> ab.exe -n 8000 -c 100


This is ApacheBench, Version 2.3 <$Revision: 655654 $>

Server Software: Microsoft-IIS/7.0

Server Hostname: localhost

Server Port: 80

Document Path: /index.aspx

Document Length: 1964 bytes

Concurrency Level: 100

Time taken for tests: 63.468 seconds

Complete requests: 8000

Failed requests: 0

Write errors: 0

Total transferred: 17632000 bytes

HTML transferred: 15712000 bytes

Requests per second: 126.05 [#/sec] (mean)

Time per request: 793.347 [ms] (mean)

Time per request: 7.933 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests)

Transfer rate: 271.30 [Kbytes/sec] received

Connection Times (ms)

min mean[+/-sd] median max

Connect: 0 7 5.3 6 132

Processing: 162 780 189.1 710 1665

Waiting: 12 435 255.3 420 1576

Total: 167 787 190.4 716 1683

Percentage of the requests served within a certain time (ms)

50% 716

66% 751

75% 776

80% 805

90% 1021

95% 1272

98% 1453

99% 1527

100% 1683 (longest request)

3. A picture is worth a thousand words

Here is a comparison plot as the number of requests increase.



I've wondered about this before. Good to see some actual data supporting the gut feelings. So what you are telling me is I can move my (basic) .ASP apps over to ubuntu and say buhbye to my windows server and actualy get a performance increase. sweet.

which ubuntu are you running? I wonder how the same tests would go on Server 2008 vs. Ubuntu Server 10.04/05. Anybody have that configuration and want to test it?

Fun stuff. Nice work Aleksandr. Thank you!

This is great. I loved the explanation of each topic with an example .Thanks Aleksander.

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IIS on vista probably shouldn't be expected to run fast, given that Vista by default prioritizes apps over services, and probable IIS optimizations that aren't in the vista build of IIS. So I second Eric's wonderings.

We should plop this test on a box with IIS 7 (or heck, even 8).

But even still, I can't imagine IIS 7/8 performing much better on a server than Apache. Probably comporable or worse.

This is a terrible comparison. IIS on a consumer O/S (XP,Vista,7,8) is limited in many ways (including max concurrent connections). A proper test would be a server level OS.

In my personal testing I've found xsp to give the best performance in linux, faster than nginx with fastcgi over unix sockets. I've also found mod_mono to be much slower than IIS 7.5, many times slower. I was running the basic mvc3 and mvc4 internet application templates with some minor changes to get them running under mono. Tested it last week in fact with mono 3.0.7

I've benched with apache bench and gotten results much different than yours, but it was windows 7 pro. I'm pretty sure windows server would turn in better results. Also to take full advantage of in production you probably use some the page caching features built into the windows kernel.

Anyways, I work as a web developer and I really wanted to run as well in linux as it does in windows, but I don't think it does. Mono is very focused on mobile these days so I'm not hopeful that performance tuning will be a priority for them either.

This is a silly benchmark. You're measuring performance using a the consumer (not server) version of IIS which is throttled. Plus, you're accessing the Environment variables and assuming that it's the same speed on both machines. What if there's a lag on Windows accessing the Environment? Then that would throw off your whole benchmark.

very good comparison between IIS and Apache.

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IIS on a desktop OS to benchmark server comparison? Oh.. like comparing electric car performance by using a Tesla X vs Toyota Yaris and telling electric motor is always better for performance.
Give some chance to IIS by using Server OS instead and compare again with a normal page.

I bet to an equivalent speed or so.

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