KVM Smokes VirtualBox On Initial AMD EPYC Linux Tests

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 30 December 2017 at 10:11 AM EST.

I've been working on some AMD EPYC virtualization tests on and off the past few weeks. For your viewing before ending out the year are some initial VirtualBox vs. Linux KVM benchmarks for seeing how the guest VM performance compares.

This round of testing was done using Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.2.4 and KVM with virt-manager as made available on Ubuntu 17.10 x86_64. Both the host system and guests were using Ubuntu 17.10 with the Linux 4.13 kernel and GCC 7.2.0 atop an EXT4 file-system.

With VirtualBox being limited to 16 virtual CPUs, the tests for this article were done with 16 vCPUs even though the AMD EPYC 7601 CPU used for testing has 32 cores / 64 threads. Each VM was tested consecutively and had 16 virtual cores, 98GB of the host system's 128GB of DDR4 memory available, and a 115GB virtual disk backed using the server's Intel Optane 900P SSD. This EPYC server was built around the TYAN Transport SX TN70A-B8026 platform.

All of these Linux virtualization benchmarks were carried out in a fully-automated manner using the Phoronix Test Suite.

To quickly sum up things, the results are even more profound than our past KVM vs. VirtualBox tests... KVM simply smokes VirtualBox in performance capabilities for the stock Ubuntu Linux guest.

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