Leadership I/O performance with Red Hat Enterprise Linux KVM Hypervisor on an IBM x3850 X5


The Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor has earned a reputation as the highest-performing hypervisor in virtualization benchmarks, holding the top 7 results in SPECvirt_sc2010 and recently achieving a leadership spot among x86-virtualized results on SAP's 2-tier SD benchmark.

One of the key ingredients to this success is KVM hypervisor's ability to handle the high I/O rates required by enterprise workloads, such as databases, ERP systems, and low-latency financial trading applications that are running in virtual machines.

Test environment

This paper describes a test environment that included:

  • IBM System x3850 X5 host server with QLogic QLE 256x Host Bus Adapters (HBAs).
  • Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® 6.4 hypervisor with a new I/O virtualization technology called virtio-blk-data-plane.
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 guests.

Test results

It also details test results that demonstrate that a single KVM guest can handle more than 1.2 million I/O operations per second (IOPS) – the highest storage I/O performance ever reported in a virtualized environment.

 These results show that KVM is ready for the most demanding enterprise workloads.