Opened 12 years ago

Last modified 8 years ago

#10157 new defect

Adding vCPUs degrades network performance.

Reported by: james little Owned by:
Component: network Version: VirtualBox 4.1.8
Keywords: Cc:
Guest type: other Host type: Linux

Description (last modified by Frank Mehnert)

Observed on both Ubuntu 11.04 (2.6 kernel) and Mac OS X 10.6 hosts, both with quad core Intel i7 CPUs. Below is pasted from my forum post:

I decided to run some network throughput benchmarks (mainly interested in max packets per second), and have noticed a large discrepancy when assigning one CPU to a VM vs 2 or more CPUs. My setup (all 64-bit): Host: Ubuntu 11.04 2.6.38-13-generic #53-Ubuntu SMP, 3 GHz Intel i7 950 (4 phys cores + HT), 12GB RAM, Ethernet: Intel 82574L Gigabit Guest: Ubuntu 11.10 3.0.0-12-server kernel, 1GB Ram assigned VirtualBox version: 4.1.8

Following are the results of the basic testing I performed using netserver/netperf against a bridged network interface (bridged to above Intel device). The following commands were run on the Guest against its local interface (not the loopback): netserver -4 (starts an ipv4 tcp/udp server). netperf -H <IP_address_of_eth0> -t TCP_CRR (runs a TCP connect/request/response transaction benchmark)

Single-CPU VM ~17-18k transactions per second

2-CPU VM ~5k TPS

2-CPU VM with eth0 interrupts and netserver/netperf all pinned to the same core ~7k TPS Confirmed v. low scheduling interrupts during benchmark (watching /proc/interrupts)

2-CPU VM with 2nd core disabled via hotplugging Disabled the second cpu with: echo '0' > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu1/online and confirmed via /proc/interrupts and other system tools. ~8.5k TPS

Also worth noting that on the host system, the same test yields around 26k TPS. netfilter/conntrack is disabled on both host and guest.

So even with the second cpu disabled I'm seeing around a 50% performance degradation vs the single-cpu VM. The results with more than 2 CPUs were very similar to the 2-CPU scenario.

I would like to understand why this is the case (I'm certainly no virtualization expert); are additional extensions/emulations loaded when starting a multicore guest?

Update I repeated the same test on an OS X 10.6 host on similar architecture (quad core intel i7) and the results were the same, also on VBox 4.1.8.

I decided to extend the test to something CPU bound and ran a Linpack benchmark (single thread), but the results are unaffected by number of vCPUs (which is good). And so I also ran a a disk read benchmark using hdparm, and this was also unaffected, so this seems to be confined to network performance for now.

Attachments (1) (50.2 KB ) - added by james little 12 years ago.
vbox log w/ 2 vCPUs configured.

Download all attachments as: .zip

Change History (6)

by james little, 12 years ago

Attachment: added

vbox log w/ 2 vCPUs configured.

comment:1 by Frank Mehnert, 11 years ago

Description: modified (diff)

We do also experience a performance degradation with more than 1 guest CPU under certain conditions. We have some ideas how to improve this performance but this will take time.

comment:2 by Gevatter Gaul, 11 years ago

I got similar results, see bug #11154, which is now marked a duplicate of this one. I also attached my performance measurements there.

I only experienced this with Intel NICs and virtio configured. The PCnet NICs have been fine. My tests focus primarily on the network latency, as throughput measurements are unreliable with such highly variable latencies.

There is also a discussion thread in the forum:

comment:3 by camojiet, 11 years ago

What is the way out? Intel and Virtio Drivers work with big latency, and there are no windows drivers for pcnet fast iii 64 bit. One way is a reduce count of cores? Who found out workaround?

Last edited 11 years ago by camojiet (previous) (diff)

comment:4 by agios, 11 years ago

I also have the same issue, but as far as windows guests go the problem is not present (at least with Intel NICs, just tested), so you need no workaround there.

comment:5 by Ozzard, 8 years ago

Duplicated on VirtualBox 5.0.4, Windows 8.1 host, CentOS 7 minimal guest, virtio virtual NIC. Confirmed that changing VM settings from 2 to 1 vCPUs works round the issue.

Last edited 8 years ago by Ozzard (previous) (diff)
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