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Thread: Linux KVM vs. VirtualBox 4.0 Virtualization Benchmarks

  1. #11
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    I think other solutions should have been compared like VMWare, Hyper-V and Xen. Oracle will try to sell Virtualbox as a server grade virtualization solution. I think we need to know good Virtualbox fare compared to others.

  2. #12
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    I for one would also like to see Xen in action, both 3.x and 4.x.

    I also think that Xen and KVM are more server virtualization whereas vbox and vmware are more destop virtualization.

  3. #13
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    I, for one, am interested in the "desktop" oriented virtualization performance. That's what I use it for, after all.
    VBox makes it almost trivial to set up a desktop guest, but I have noticed this weird bug in the 3.2 version that keeps 2D games from working properly. Apparently keyboard input doesn't work right, I'm thinking it's an SDL issue. This is on a Windows 7 host with an Ubuntu 10.10 guest, so I'm not sure if it shows up in other configurations.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheels View Post
    I, for one, am interested in the "desktop" oriented virtualization performance. That's what I use it for, after all.
    VBox makes it almost trivial to set up a desktop guest, but I have noticed this weird bug in the 3.2 version that keeps 2D games from working properly. Apparently keyboard input doesn't work right, I'm thinking it's an SDL issue. This is on a Windows 7 host with an Ubuntu 10.10 guest, so I'm not sure if it shows up in other configurations.
    Try disabling "mouse pointer integration" (it's the little mouse icon at the bottom right of the window). It seems to be causing issues in some games...

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoronix View Post
    Phoronix: Linux KVM vs. VirtualBox 4.0 Virtualization Benchmarks

    Oracle's been vigorously working on their VM VirtualBox 4.0 software and in just the past week they have delivered two public betas that bring a number of new features. Among the changes there is support for Intel HD audio / ICH9 to guest VMs, the concept of extension packs, user-interface improvements, support for limiting a virtual machine's CPU time and I/O bandwidth, 3D acceleration fixes for guests, and a great number of bug-fixes. How though is this updated Oracle/Sun virtualization platform comparing to the older VirtualBox 3.2 release and that of the upstream Linux KVM (the Kernel-based Virtual Machine) that most Linux distributions rely upon? Here are a number of benchmarks that seek to answer this very question.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=15549
    What, no SPICE? I know that you only use "default" configuration but you really should take advantage of Virtio. The previous mentioned items would give you near native nic and 2d accel (3d is coming).

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by liam View Post
    What, no SPICE? I know that you only use "default" configuration but you really should take advantage of Virtio. The previous mentioned items would give you near native nic and 2d accel (3d is coming).
    SPICE != virtio.
    Plus, as far as I could see, there were no graphical benchmarks (2D or 3D) so SPICE is irrelevant.

    ... Never the less, I do agree that virtio should have been added to the mix.

    As the OP's post about disabling HT, I couldn't disagree more.
    With 4 VM's, each with 2 till 8 vCPU's and 2-4GB RAM (Total vCPU's: 16, total memory: 10GB), I've seen noticeable performance increase on my Xeon 5530 workstation (8 cores, 16 threads, 12GB).
    While I didn't bother to benchmark the setup, subjectively, w/ HT disabled, the machine would literally crawl to halt, while on the other hand, w/ HT enabled, I could continue working more-or-less as usual on the host.

    Intel's Core7 / Xeon x5/x6xx HT implementation is -far- better than the P4 implementation.

    - Gilboa
    DEV: Intel S2600C0, 2xE52658V2, 32GB, 4x2TB, GTX680, F20/x86_64, Dell U2711.
    SRV: Intel S5520SC, 2xX5680, 36GB, 4x2TB, GTX550, F20/x86_64, Dell U2412..
    BACK: Tyan Tempest i5400XT, 2xE5335, 8GB, 3x1.5TB, 9800GTX, F20/x86-64.
    LAP: ASUS N56VJ, i7-3630QM, 16GB, 1TB, 635M, F20/x86_64.

  7. #17
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    I use KVM heavily and have spent a lot of time learning how to get the best performance.

    Quote Originally Posted by gilboa View Post
    SPICE != virtio.
    Plus, as far as I could see, there were no graphical benchmarks (2D or 3D) so SPICE is irrelevant.

    Well SPICE is virtio, more or less. In the way that virtio is paravirtualized drivers. That's just the linux kernel brand name for it. It depends on paravirtualized graphics drivers so it's certainly along the same vein.

    From the point of view of the Guest OS the Spice video stuff happens in the 'hardware' of the VM. It's one of the things that makes it special.

    For my personal use I just use RDesktop for Windows, and X over SSH for Linux. With newer versions of GDM you can have 'secure log in' which you launch your session remotely over SSH.

    You have to configure SSH to use arcfour encryption (low overhead, high performance) and disable compression (reduces latency and overhead) to get the best performance.

    But with things like AIGLX and whatnot you can easily get 2D and 3D acceleration that way for Linux VM session. Use the 'switch user' function to have multiple GDM logins.

    ... Never the less, I do agree that virtio should have been added to the mix.
    Virtio is critical to performance for networks. Other Virtio drivers like balloon driver is important for things like memory management.

    Blk driver _can_ help some with I/O.

    But with disk I/O your will see much improved performance with different cache settings.

    For example if you are using Windows on file-back storage you will get best results with 'cache=writeback' option for your disk drives.

    If your using Linux with Virtio drivers and are using LVM logical volumes, dedicated driver, or other raw dedicated block device for your virtual drive then you will want to use 'cache=none'.

    The default for KVM is 'cache=writethrough' which is a decent all around compromise between performance and data security.

    Also new Linux features like KSM will merge memory between multiple VM instances of hte same OS so you can run more VMs then your system's memory can otherwise support. However KSM does add CPU overhead so unless you have multiple OSes of the same type running you'll want to disable it.


    For Linux users there really is no comparison.

    Virtualbox is friendlier (and this matters) for the desktop and will offer better graphical performance. However KVM is worlds and away more sophisticated, better performance, and much more complete VM solution. It requires more expertise to use properly though.

    For regular users on the desktop VirtualBox is probably the way to go, but if your using something for serious work then KVM is the answer.

    Your going to see it start to displace Vmware ESX more and more for enterprise solutions for companies that are heavily invested in Linux.

  8. #18
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    Configuring your network is important. There are a lot of solutions and using bridge is fairly fast, but it is not the fastest. Macvlan will usually offer better performance.

  9. #19
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    Default Read that EULA!

    Quote Originally Posted by birdie View Post
    Besides it's kinda sad you haven't included VMWare WorkStation/Player 7.1.3.
    What's sad is that you did not read the EULAs that you agreed to:

    VMware Player and Workstation EULA:

    "You may use the Software to conduct internal performance testing and benchmarking studies, the results of which you (and not unauthorized third parties) may publish or publicly disseminate; provided that VMware has reviewed and approved of the methodology, assumptions and other parameters of the study."

  10. #20
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    I would like to know more about the loopback test. Where did the data come from and where did it go to? Reason for asking is that the same thing that caused virtualbox to cheat sqlite and other disk tests could have been affecting the loopback test depending on the way the test worked.

    In other words, the only place where virtualbox had a commanding lead over kvm that was not NECESSARILY a result of cheating, may not be trustworthy.

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