Vmware vs Virtualbox vs KVM vs XEN: virtual machines performance comparison

Written by Gionatan Danti on . Posted in Virtualization

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File compression / decompression test

Last but not least, I run some file compression and decompression benchmarks. To this purpose, I used the integrated 7-Zip benchmark and another little benchmark that is really a .bat script with the sole purpose of compress and decompress a small zip file (about 6 MB) containing thousands of smaller icon files.

First, let see the 7-Zip results:

7-Zip benchmark

Apart Xen, which is slower, VMware, VirtualBox and KVM are quite paired each other. Please consider that the 7-Zip benchmark run entirely in RAM and do not use the disk storage.

What about a more real world, commonly faced situation as compressing and decompressing a .zip file?

Zip compressing and decompressing

This time the primary disk is heavily loaded by the decompress operations. Quite surprisingly, KVM (with its apparently slow disk access time) is very fast to both compressing and decompressing. VirtualBox is also very fast at compressing but not so great at decompressing, while VMware and Xen behave in the exactly opposite manner and are overall the slowest machine.

What can be at play here? It is difficult to give us a very precise interpretation but it seems to me that in the compression test, which is more CPU intensive, KVM and VirtualBox both have a quite strong advantage. In the decompression test, which is generally disk bound, we see that KVM lost the crown probably as a result of its no-so-quick disk subsystem, while Xen and VMware are slightly better. The bad VirtualBox performance surprise me, as in theoretical disk tests it show excellent results.

UPDATE: a recent article comparing KVM vs VirtualBox can be found here: http://www.ilsistemista.net/index.php/virtualization/12-kvm-vs-virtualbox-40-on-rhel-6.html

Comments   

 
#1 Nathan 2012-09-12 03:12
This is a terrible review, to install the VMware paravirtual drivers but not the KVM Windows paravirtual drivers. All results from VMware must be discarded for comparison purposes.
 
 
#2 Marcelo 2015-11-15 03:16
A quick comparison I made between VMware Workstation Player and VirtualBox, with XP as guest, shows a ridiculous I/O advantage of VB, while VMware has a big advantage on 3D graphics.
 
 
#3 Gionatan Danti 2015-11-15 09:32
Quoting Marcelo:
A quick comparison I made between VMware Workstation Player and VirtualBox, with XP as guest, shows a ridiculous I/O advantage of VB, while VMware has a big advantage on 3D graphics.


Hi Marcelo,
VBox higher I/O speed probably is an artifact of VBox not honoring write barrier (synchronized writes) by default. While this give much higher speed, storage consistency is somewhat reduced and I do not suggest to disable write barriers on production host/machines.
 

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