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owncloud on the Raspberry B+/2B: a 10x performance boost

Since more than two years now I was using my Raspberry Pi B+ as an owncloud-Server. Triggered by the various spy scandals and fascinated by the possibilities of this small and efficient computer, I wanted to see if it is possible to use comfortable cloud services while also having control over my data (it is). I enjoy my private owncloud for keeping notes up-to-date across my devices, but also for sharing pictures and files with family and friends. The client connection was always pretty fast and since I recently upgraded my home internet connection to V-DSL with 100 MBit/s (upload 10 MBit/s), upload speed is no longer a big issue. However, the PHP web interface was always relatively slow on my old Raspy model B+ and so I invested in a new Raspy 2 to see if that would improve the speed. This new Raspy features a four-core ARM Cortex–A7 processor @ 900 MHz with 1 GB of fast RAM: Quite an improvement over my Raspy B+ with a single-core 700 MHz processor with 512 MB of RAM. I was hoping for a significant boost for the owncloud performance since the Apache server forks into many processes even for a single connection and should thus be able to make use of the new Raspyb’s multi-core CPU. And I was not disappointed!

So here is my real-world test with some page load times. I am comparing my old Raspberry Pi B+ running owncloud 7.1 with my new Raspberry Pi 2 Model B running owncloud 8.2.2. I measured access times multiple times from my home network (so the speed of the internet connection should not play a role). There was no other load on the Raspbys at the time. For reference, I also measured the access times for the owncloud installation at my research institute. This installation uses owncloud (8.0.8) on professional server hardware.

Here are my benchmarks:

  • Loading the login page: 20s -> 6s (2s)
  • Clicking on “Log in” to finishing loading apps/files: 64s -> 12s (3s)
  • Opening a directory with five entries: 4s -> 1s (<1s)
  • Logout: 19s -> 2s (1s)
  • Open a public link with 55 pictures (140 MiB in total) as a list: 39s -> 1s (1s)
  • Display this directory in Gallery (pictures had not been in buffer): >5 min -> 2:30 min (35 s) [Repeat using buffer: < 1s, <1s]

In conclusion, I was very positively surprised by the performance boost of my new Raspberry Pi 2 Model B compared to the old Raspberry Pi Model B+. The overall performance boost (average over these six actions) was about 10x! While I also changed owncloud versions (7.1 -> 8) with this upgrade, I presume that most of the boost is due to the improved hardware. Of course there is still room for improvement with professional hardware, but the new Raspy definitely has a sweet spot given how inexpensive the Raspy is both in terms of purchasing and running costs (low electrical power consumption).

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