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Ubuntu 12.04 KVM/Xen Virtualization: Intel vs. AMD

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  • Ubuntu 12.04 KVM/Xen Virtualization: Intel vs. AMD

    Phoronix: Ubuntu 12.04 KVM/Xen Virtualization: Intel vs. AMD

    With the upcoming availability of Ubuntu 12.04 "Precise Pangolin" being a Long-Term Support (LTS) release that will be quickly making its way into many enterprise environments, here's a look at the virtualization performance of this popular Linux distribution. In particular, being looked at is the Linux virtualization performance of KVM, Xen, and Oracle VirtualBox compared to bare metal when using Intel Sandy Bridge Extreme and AMD Bulldozer hardware.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=17200

  • #2
    I've mostly used VirtualBox because it is easy-to-use.
    But from this benchmark it seems KVM is superior.

    Is KVM difficult to use?
    Does it provide any graphics acceleration?
    How should I use KVM in a easy way?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by uid313 View Post
      Is KVM difficult to use?
      Does it provide any graphics acceleration?
      How should I use KVM in a easy way?
      KVM is not very difficult to use. There are lots of HOWTO's out there that guide you through the process.

      But for occasional use, virtualbox is still easier.

      It might be interesting to include LXC Linux containers in the virtualization tests. It should be a lot lighter then KVM or Xen.

      Comment


      • #4
        How were the virtual machine disks configured?

        Thanks for very informative article.
        In my experience with KVM, there is a difference between running a guest VM from an image file on host OS file system and running it from a partition on a separate disk. Using a virtio drivers should further improve the performance as well.
        So I'd like to ask how were the disks configured for the virtual machines in the tests?

        Tomas

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        • #5
          cool article, too bad xen didn't work on amd. i was pretty surprised to see how well amd scaled, i guess it shows how their faster clock cycles and/or physical instead of multi-threaded cores makes a difference.

          i'm also shocked to see how poorly virtualbox performed and how good xen performed. i'd have used xen a long time ago if it were easier to use. i'm surprised nobody made a graphical tool for it yet. i'd gladly do it if i knew how to use it better.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
            i'm also shocked to see how poorly virtualbox performed and how good xen performed. i'd have used xen a long time ago if it were easier to use. i'm surprised nobody made a graphical tool for it yet. i'd gladly do it if i knew how to use it better.
            Xen works with virt-manager.
            Michael Larabel
            http://www.michaellarabel.com/

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tomaszbox View Post
              Thanks for very informative article.
              In my experience with KVM, there is a difference between running a guest VM from an image file on host OS file system and running it from a partition on a separate disk. Using a virtio drivers should further improve the performance as well.
              So I'd like to ask how were the disks configured for the virtual machines in the tests?

              Tomas
              Standard disk image on the host using virt-manager defaults.
              Michael Larabel
              http://www.michaellarabel.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                virtio

                are you sure you installed virtio for KVM. I find it hard to believe that KVM would perform so poorly on the Threaded IO benchmark

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                • #9
                  Perhaps this partially explains the poor Sandy Bridge E showing in VirtualBox, assuming you have a C1 stepping chip.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    opengl games tests at MS WOS with XEN VGA passthrought

                    I would like to read some opengl games tests
                    at MS WOS with XEN VGA passthrought

                    I think some day, and perhaps today it will be safer and faster to run MS WOS with Xen VGA passthrought at MS WOS desktops.

                    Even you can play directx or opengl games without antivirus and better 3dmarks at a SOHO computer.

                    But I never can read some tests for this tech - that allows to use native proprietary drivers for the GPU card. -.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
                      i'm also shocked to see how poorly virtualbox performed and how good xen performed. i'd have used xen a long time ago if it were easier to use. i'm surprised nobody made a graphical tool for it yet. i'd gladly do it if i knew how to use it better.
                      I'm kinda puzzled too but in general very satisfied I've been using KVM since the very beginning. At least this testing kicks (or seems to) Virtual box major performance arguments about their JIT (is that the right term?) compiler . I'm pretty happy to see the two major open source virtualization components be almost hand-in-hand. That is very good news indeed.

                      I too hope to see such a comparison between Intel and AMD soon, Michael. Thanks for this bench.

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                      • #12
                        What was the exact problem with the amd system?
                        I"m running Xen with the Asus M5A99X without any problems.

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                        • #13
                          GUI for KVM

                          Is there any GUI for KVM?

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                          • #14
                            Strange

                            I'm very surprised by the poor VirtualBox performance in computationally intensive tasks. They are the ones that shouldn't care much if they are running in a virtual machine or on the bare metal. The virtual machine overhead should only be apparent when a process calls into the kernel - it's the kernel that is being lied about the hardware. The user processes are always running in a sort of a virtual machine provided by the kernel. A computationally intensive task should mostly run in user space. It will call into the kernel mostly for IO (but that should be rare, otherwise it's IO intensive, not computationally intensive) and memory management. Perhaps it's the latter that causes the performance hit. The tester should make sure that VirtualBox is configured for using Nested Pages which should help with heavy memory management.

                            As far as IO is concerned, VirtualBox supports virtio-net devices but not virtio-block. So some penalty in IO-intensive tasks is to be expected. And at least in my experience it has shitty SATA virtualization. I get kernel error messages with an Ubuntu virtual machine running in VirtualBox on Win7 with AHCI enabled (on Windows that is). I had to revert to using a virtual IDE controler to get rid of the error messages and the unresponsiveness that they manifest themselves through.

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                            • #15
                              Vm gui

                              Originally posted by uid313 View Post
                              Is there any GUI for KVM?
                              "Virtual Machine Manager" (virt-manager.org) in Ubuntu requires libvirt-bin & qemu-kvm to work (on compatible processors only, which is most all nowadays).

                              This KVM newbie w/o docs fired-up an Ubuntu VM just as fast as I could with Virtualbox. It's fast & doesn't need driver installs to avoid the cursor lock concepts of Virtualbox, a plus! The internet connection (NAT default) worked just fine for my needs.

                              The menu options have no 3d video, but under "Filesystem" you can give it a physical path with "mapped", "passthru" and "squash" options.
                              Leaving twisties open messes up the view (bug). You've got all kinds of processor fine-grain control & even the bios options in the setup. You can start the VM on host boot or even boot a kernel directly to avoid BIOS & grub/lilo time.
                              Last edited by snadrus; 03-29-2012, 03:19 PM. Reason: more info

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