While recent testing has shown how Ubuntu 12.04 LTS KVM/Xen/VirtualBox virtualization compares between Intel's Sandy Bridge and AMD's Bulldozer platforms, in this article is a different look at the KVM virtualization performance of the forthcoming Ubuntu 12.04 LTS operating system. In this review is a look at the KVM virtualization performance of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS compared to the earlier Ubuntu 10.04.4 and Ubuntu 8.04.4 Long-Term Support releases.
This article is meant to provide some reference figures how Ubuntu's KVM virtualization performance has matured over the past four years when it comes to using the Ubuntu LTS releases -- the versions most commonly adopted for enterprise use. From a quad-core AMD Opteron setup, with the Ubuntu Hardy Heron (8.04.4), Lucid Lynx (10.04.4), and Precise Pangolin (12.04; latest daily image at the time of testing) the performance was compared when running bare metal (on the host without any form of virtualization), when running KVM virtualization with a KVM Ubuntu 8.04.4 guest, and when running KVM virtualization with a matching guest (i.e. Ubuntu 10.04 running with an Ubuntu 10.04 KVM guest, Ubuntu 12.04 running with an Ubuntu 12.04 KVM guest, etc.)
This provides a look at how Ubuntu's performance has changed in general outside of virtualization and then the benefits (or regressions) from just upgrading the host but not the virtualized guest machine or what happens if upgrading both for every LTS cycle.
Each OS was left in its stock configuration. The stock virt-manager settings were used when performing the VM installation on each release. As well, the hardware was maintained the same throughout testing; a quad-core AMD Opteron 2384, 4GB of RAM, and a 64GB OCZ Agility EX SATA SSD. All of this bare metal and virtualization Linux benchmarking was done via the Phoronix Test Suite and analyzed on OpenBenchmarking.org.