Here are benchmarks of Ubuntu Linux in a virtualized environment using KVM virtualization and testing every release from Ubuntu 11.10 all the way back to Ubuntu 8.04 LTS.
Earlier this month there were benchmarks of Sabayon 7 against Ubuntu 11.10. This came after already having compared Ubuntu 11.04 to Ubuntu 11.10 and also looking at the boot performance and power consumption. There are various other Ubuntu 11.10 benchmarks I have conducted since the release of the "Oneiric Ocelot" earlier this month, but due to the AMD Bulldozer Linux coverage and other articles, they have been slow to be published.
In this article are benchmarks of Ubuntu 8.04.4 LTS, 8.10, 9.04, 9.10, 10.04.3 LTS, 10.10, 11.04, and 11.10 when running in a KVM virtualized instance. The 32-bit and 64-bit KVM performance of the guests were each tested. The host was a Lenovo ThinkPad W510 notebook with an Intel Core i7 720Q processor, 4GB of RAM, 160GB Intel SSD, and NVIDIA Quadro FX880M graphics. Ubuntu 11.04 with KVM was running on the host. Each time the KVM guest had allocated 2GB of RAM and four CPU cores. No other host or virtual machine settings had changed between operating system installs.
Each Ubuntu release was tested in its stock configuration and packages. This article is namely to satisfy a reader question about providing an historical look at the Ubuntu KVM virtualization performance as guests. If there is enough interest, the host performance may also be compared in a future article.