Virtualization Performance: Linux VMs on ESXi

We introduced our new vApus FOS (For Open Source) server workloads in our review of the Facebook "Open Compute" servers. In a nutshell, it a mix of four VMs with open source workloads: two PhpBB websites (Apache2, MySQL), one OLAP MySQL "Community server 5.1.37" database, and one VM with VMware's open source groupware Zimbra 7.1.0. Zimbra is quite a complex application as it contains the following components:

  • Jetty, the web application server
  • Postfix, an open source mail transfer agent
  • OpenLDAP software, user authentication
  • MySQL is the database
  • Lucene full-featured text and search engine
  • ClamAV, an anti-virus scanner
  • SpamAssassin, a mail filter
  • James/Sieve filtering (mail)

All VMs are based on a minimal CentOS 6 setup with VMware Tools installed. All our current virtualization testing is on top of the hypervisor which we know best: ESXi (5.0). We have changed two things in our vApusMark FOS setup: we upgradeded the guestOS from 5.6 to 6.0 and increased the number of vCPUs of the OLAP VM from 2 to 4. This small upgrade means that our latest results should not be compared to the results in our older articles.

We (Tijl Deneut and myself) tested with four tiles (one tile = four VMs). Each tile needs nine vCPUs, so the test requires 36 vCPUs.

vApusMark FOS

The benchmark above measures throughput. As for response times, let's take a look at the table below, which gives you the average response time per VM:

vApus FOS Average Response Times (ms), lower is better!
CPU PhpBB1 PHPBB2 MySQL OLAP Zimbra
AMD Opteron 6276 2.3 671 514 1410 758
AMD Opteron 6174 2.2 674 524 1210 861
Intel Xeon E5-2660 2.2 645 394 160 631
Intel Xeon E5-2690 2.9 362 288 40 483
Intel Xeon X5650 2.66 745 569 821 866

Considering that we may assume that the Xeon E5-2690 consumes considerably more than the E5-2660, it looks like the Xeon E5-2660 is the new virtualization champ. Let us check out the power consumption numbers under a realistic load.

Benchmarking Configuration ESXi Performance per Watt
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  • dilidolo - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    Link not working on first page - THE SPECS AND THE SKUS Reply
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  • yvizel - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    For some reason I cannot go beyond the first page... Reply
  • yvizel - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    Second page, in the Intel table, the 2630 is listed as an eight core CPU.
    But then: "...Based on the paper specs, AMD's 6276, 6274 and Intel's 2640 and 2630 are in a neck-and-neck race. AMD offers 16 smaller integer clusters, while Intel offers 6 heavy, slightly higher clocked cores with SMT..."
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    Fixed, thanks for letting me know!

    -Johan
    Reply
  • Assimilator87 - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    Ah man, the 2630L error totally got my hopes up. 8 cores for $662 would be very reasonable. Reply
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  • Kjella - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    ...just got bulldozed. And this isn't even on the 22nm 3D transistors they're launching next month, it's like they just got a dizzying punch and know the KO punch is coming. Reply
  • A5 - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    It'll probably be awhile before the Ivy Bridge Xeons are out. Reply
  • Kjella - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    Of course, I'm guessing Q1 2013 before we'll see those but we already know from all the leaked SB -> IB details roughly what SB-Xeon to IB-Xeon will be like. All AMD has on their roadmap for 2013 is the "Abu Dhabi" with the "Piledriver" core promising 10-15% performance boost but still on 32nm. So you can see the punch coming a year away, but I don't think AMD has the capability to do anything about it. Reply

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