KVM Virtualization Performance With Linux 2.6.31

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 21 September 2009. Page 1 of 6. 28 Comments

Earlier this month at the Red Hat Summit where Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 was released with support for the Kernel-based Virtual Machine. At this Red Hat event, virtualization -- particularly KVM -- and cloud computing were the most talked about topics. But how is KVM performing these days? With new virtualization refinements going into almost every new Linux kernel release, we have published a new set of KVM benchmarks using the Linux 2.6.31 kernel, to provide updated numbers against our KVM benchmarks from last year and our Core i7 virtualization numbers. This time around, we are also using a Phenom II processor for testing out the AMD-V technology.

Our test system consisted of a tri-core AMD Phenom II X3 710 CPU clocked at 2.60GHz, an ASRock M3A780GXH/128M motherboard, 2GB of DDR3 memory, a 250GB Seagate ST3250310AS SATA HDD, and a NVIDIA GeForce 9800GTX graphics card. The host OS (as well as the guest OS when testing under KVM) was running an Ubuntu 9.10 daily snapshot with the Linux 2.6.31 (final) kernel, GNOME 2.27.92, X Server 1.6.3, xf86-video-nv 2.1.14, Mesa 7.6-devel, GCC 4.4.1, and an EXT4 file-system by default.

For this quick round of KVM virtualization tests we ran a set of benchmarks on the host operating system and then again under a virtual machine using KVM with the same set of software components found on the host operating system. The virtual machine had access to all three of the processor's cores as well as 1.8GB of system RAM. Thanks to the Phoronix Test Suite our tests included AIO-Stress, IOzone, PostMark, SQLite, Apache benchmark, timed Apache compilation, Crafty, dcraw, LAME MP3 encoding, GraphicsMagick, John The Ripper, timmed MAFFT alignment, NAS Parallel Benchmarks, OpenSSL, and Tachyon. These test results are designed to give just a basic overview of the level of KVM virtualization performance in different areas. Eventually we will run a larger set of tests across different virtualization infrastructures.

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