Ubuntu 15.10: KVM vs. Xen vs. VirtualBox Virtualization Performance

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 22 October 2015 at 01:00 PM EDT.

Our latest benchmarks of Ubuntu 15.10 are looking at the performance of this latest Linux distribution release when comparing the performance of guests using KVM, Xen, and VirtualBox virtualization from the same system.

The tests were all done from an Intel Xeon E5-2687W v3 + MSI X99S SLI PLUS system with 16GB of DDR4 system memory, 80GB Intel M.2 SSD, and AMD FirePro V7900 graphics. Once running our disk and processor focused benchmarks on this Ubuntu 15.10 host system, the "bare metal" results were then compared to a KVM guest setup via virt-manager using the Ubuntu Wily packages, then using the Xen 4.5 packages present on Ubuntu 15.10 with again testing the same Ubuntu 15.10 guest with virt-manager, and then lastly testing the Ubuntu 15.10 guest under VirtualBox 5.0.4 as available via the package archive.

The host system and all guests were using Ubuntu 15.10 64-bit with the Linux 4.2.0-16-generic kernel, Unity desktop, X.Org Server 1.17.2, an EXT4 file-system, and GCC 5.2.1 as the code compiler. All system settings remained the same during the testing process.

When creating the KVM/Xen/VirtualBox guests, 38GB of virtual storage on the Intel SSD, 8GB of RAM and all 20 CPU threads (ten core CPU + HT) were made available to the virtual machine under test. As each platform has near endless tunable possibilities, the testing was done with the default settings. If there's enough interest and premium support from Phoronix readers, I can look at putting out some "tuned" VM comparisons.

All of the benchmarks for this article were carried out via the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.

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