KVM vs Virtualbox 4.0 performance comparison on RHEL 6

Written by Gionatan Danti on . Posted in Virtualization

User Rating:  / 60

Over one year ago, I tested the then-current versions of KVM, Virtualbox, Xen and VMWare Server in an attempt to identify the best-performing hypervisor (you can find the article here). That tests demonstrated that VMWare Server and Virtualbox where the highest performing softwares, with KVM slightly behind due to slow I/O speed and Xen severely lagging in CPU and memory speed. While the results were surely interesting, I tested the various virtualizer with one guest system only, and I never found the time to run the (desired) multi-guests test.

Now, the free virtualizers landscape is considerably changed: VMWare Server has not been updated since the end of 2009 and now it has some serious problems with the current libc version, while Xen seems a bit “forgotten” by the Linux community. At the same time, KVM and Virtualbox gained considerably traction, and they emerged as the favorite virtualizers in the Linux world.

So, its the time to refresh the current performance status of these two free and open-source virtualizers – in a true, multi-guests environment.


#1 Firmansyah 2012-06-15 10:48
This is an amazing article. Information on this article is very clear and imaginable. I currently need to decide which virtualization technology should be adopt in my company. I was previously prefer to Virtualbox, consider to both easiness and performance.
#2 Ben 2012-07-20 20:26
Thank you for this great article.
No matter how the two hypervisors perform, unfortunately they're still far away for the use in larger enviroments like terminal server farms etc. But for me, however, Virtualbox is still ahead.
#3 Erik Brakkee 2012-11-18 11:21
It would have been interesting to also see results for using raw storage instead of filesystem based storage. Raw storage can provide more performance and robustness and can also support guests running databases with mission critical data (with the correct settings). The idea is that every sync from the database to the filesystem in the guest would be directly synced to raw storage.

Raw storage is also very easy to manage on linux with logical volume management.

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