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Last week, Red Hat announced the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4, which provided updates to the leading open source operating platform to enable optimal performance and scalability across physical and virtual environments. In addition to several performance enhancements and the inclusion of new performance tools such as tuna and numad that are used to adjust internal operating system settings, the latest minor release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux has also achieved performance records on industry-standard benchmarks and scalability tests.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 with its Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor on an IBM x3650-M4 server running DB2 posted the first and only official TPC-C benchmark result conducted to date entirely in an x86 virtualized environment(1). This industry-leading achievement showcases to customers the potential of running their entire IT infrastructure virtualized and the strength of KVM technology. Previously reserved for bare-metal deployments only, databases have represented one of the last strongholds within a datacenter to be virtualized.

With this result, Red Hat and IBM’s Linux Technology Center demonstrate the virtualization capabilities of Red Hat Enterprise Linux with KVM running on top of System x hardware with a DB2 database. For the first time a fully audited and official benchmark result demonstrates that customers can run their mission-critical OLTP databases in highly scalable virtualized environments while passing the atomicity, consistency, isolation and durability requirements inherent in TPC-C benchmarks.

Benchmark results show that the powerful combination of industry-standard x86 hardware from IBM and Red Hat Enterprise Linux with KVM are capable of delivering over 1M transactions per minute or to be specific, 1,320,082 tpmC, with a low cost per transaction (USD$0.51/tpmC). When compared to a TPC-C benchmark done in non-virtualized environment(2) on a similarly configured hardware platform, this result delivers 88% of bare metal performance and demonstrates the outstanding scalability of the virtualized infrastructure featured in this very resource-demanding solution.

As an additional proof point to KVM leadership, IBM's Linux Technology Center Performance organization and Red Hat's KVM Development team delivered an outstanding performance result that captures the virtualization performance of KVM in the area of input/output operations (I/O) that are required by enterprise workloads, such as databases, ERP systems and low-latency financial trading applications. The teams have collaboratively conducted a series of tests using IBM® System x3850 X5 server with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 to demonstrate that KVM is ready to handle demanding enterprise workloads using the new I/O virtualization technology called virtio-blk-data-plane introduced in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 as a Technology Preview.

The tests have found that a single KVM guest can handle more than 1.5 million I/O operations per second (IOPS) – the highest storage I/O performance reported in a virtualized environment. These results supersede the most recent claims by VMware’s competing hypervisor technology by nearly 50 percent(3) and demonstrate that Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 with KVM is able to sustain very high I/O rates required for successful migration of enterprise workloads into the virtualized environment.

Simply put, the combination of IBM and Red Hat technologies allows you to do more in a virtualized datacenter than alternatives as evidenced by these first-time reported virtualized TPC-C results. Stay tuned for more good news from Red Hat and IBM.

(1) As of 02/25/13. Source: Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC), IBM System x3650 M4, running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 with KVM, and IBM DB2 9.7, 1,320,082 tpmC, $0.51/tpmC, available 02/25/13.
(2) As of 02/25/13. Source: Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC), IBM Flex System x240, running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 and IBM DB2 9.7, 1,503,544 tpmC, $0.53/tpmC, available 08/16/12.

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