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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    Default Xen vs ESX [performance]

    Which one of these virtualization technologies offers the best performance? I'm not concerned about cost, or how much configuration is involved - just raw performance.

    I'm also not trying to start a O.S. or vendor flame thread, only interested in benchmarks! Thanks guys for your input
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  3. Senior Member
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    #2
    http://www.vmware.com/pdf/hypervisor_performance.pdf

    Benchmark charts begin on page 9. Guess who they found to have the better hypervisor across the board?

    I'm still looking for trustworthy results from a neutral source.
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  4. Uber l33t. forkvoid's Avatar
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by ehnde View Post
    http://www.vmware.com/pdf/hypervisor_performance.pdf

    Benchmark charts begin on page 9. Guess who they found to have the better hypervisor across the board?

    I'm still looking for trustworthy results from a neutral source.
    My answer is more speculation mixed with personal anecdotal experience...

    I've been using ESX/ESXi in my day job for a few years now, on a range of Dell hardware from 2650s to R710s. Always runs fantastic, is easy to set up and maintain, etc.

    I've also been using Xen/HyperVM for a few years with a web hosting company I am technical consultant for. It runs fine and I've never had issues with it. Xen is much less picky about hardware.

    Both Xen and ESX use Linux as their base. ESX, it's not normally noticeable, because of how clean the whole setup is. With Xen, you have to build a standard Linux setup then load a Xen-capable kernel. With HyperVM, you can manage your VMs via a web-based interface. ESX has all this rolled into one. I can build an ESX box and load VMs within half an hour. Xen takes me a bit longer, because the initial setup is more involved.

    Personally, I prefer ESX for server virtualization over Xen. It's cleaner, in my mind, and has larger community support. You see Xen in the web hosting reseller business much more often, though.

    I hope that helps somehow.
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  5. Senior Member darkerosxx's Avatar
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    #4
    I understand you're not wanting anything other than benchmarks, but knowing that Xen is on its way to the graveyard may have an impact on whatever conversation you're having.
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  6. Uber l33t. forkvoid's Avatar
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by darkerosxx View Post
    I understand you're not wanting anything other than benchmarks, but knowing that Xen is on its way to the graveyard may have an impact on whatever conversation you're having.
    As Citrix XenServer, perhaps... As the FOSS(Free Open Source Software) Xen, it's still a very strong choice for hosting virtual private servers(VPSs), and looks to be here to stay for quite some time.
    The beginning of knowledge is understanding how little you actually know.
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  7. Senior Member Zaits's Avatar
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    #6
    If you are looking for benchmarks it's never a good idea to review the vendor's website. It's always biased and the testing is setup in such a way the vendor will always be on top. VMware used to have a EULA that wouldn't allow 3rd party companies to publish benchmarks and eventually they lightened up, but still refuse to recognize any benchmarks other than their own.

    I found an article that was published March of 2009

    Lab Experiment: Hypervisors -- Virtualization Review

    This is probably quite out dated, but gives you an insight where the hypervisors once were. I really feel that the big 3 (VMware, Microsoft and Citrix) are fairly comparable when it comes to performance, but it's the additional features that separate them.

    Hypervisors and hardware have gotten to a point you can have several hundreds of VM's running on a single host, but you have to ask yourself to you really want that many servers in one basket? I also think it's important to note if you are looking for high performance than virtualization isn't what you should be looking at. Virtualization is better when you have under utilized servers that can be consolidated.

    So with all that rambling my choice if money was no object...

    1) ESXi
    2) XenServer
    3) Hyper-V
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    #7
    Thanks for all of the input. I've done alot of reading on this subject in the past day, and it looks like VMware is more mature than xen and consequently easier to manage and arguably better performance.

    However, I'm not sure that the statement that Citrix Xenserver is on it's way to the graveyard is true. Could you please explain why you believe this? I'm new to virtualization and thus ignorant.

    My Aunt is a Nurse informatician. Her organization uses Citrix Xenserver, and many of the applications they use are dependent on this platform. This is in Indiana. Where I live, 200 miles away, there is a citrix admin job right here in town. No jobs working with ESX

    On the certification side of things, Exam A18 (Basic Administration for Citrix XenApp 6)
    is $150.

    VMWare certification is around $4800 (required course + exam).

    I could not find a certification for Citrix Xenserver, so I'm not certain that Exam A18 would be an acceptable alternative.....like I said before, I'm an ignorant noob

    Sorry for going so far off topic, but I really am curious why VMWare ESX/ESXi experience could be a more marketable skill than Citrix Xenserver.
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  9. Uber l33t. forkvoid's Avatar
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by ehnde View Post
    Sorry for going so far off topic, but I really am curious why VMWare ESX/ESXi experience could be a more marketable skill than Citrix Xenserver.
    vmWare has larger marketshare, that's why it's more marketable. More demand.
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  10. Senior Member Zaits's Avatar
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by ehnde View Post

    Citrix Xenserver is on it's way to the graveyard C
    I wasn't going to say something originally, but since you asked. I think this statement is completely false and I actually think its the complete opposite.

    According to this site Citrix Anticipates Server Virtualization Market Share Gains As It Unveils Latest XenServer Release | WHIR Web Hosting Industry News

    which was posted on May 17,2010 by David Hamilton

    "XenServer has been activated for production use in more than 45,000 enterprise data centers worldwide to date, including 45 percent of the Fortune 500, and Citrix anticipates XenServer market share (which more than doubled in 2009) will increase to 18 percent by the end of 2010, according to analyst estimates and current download and activation numbers."
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  11. Senior Member darkerosxx's Avatar
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    #10
    Didn't mean to spark such a debate. I thought it was obvious. If not, then by all means, continue using it.
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  12. Senior Member MentholMoose's Avatar
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by ehnde View Post
    Thanks for all of the input. I've done alot of reading on this subject in the past day, and it looks like VMware is more mature than xen and consequently easier to manage and arguably better performance.

    However, I'm not sure that the statement that Citrix Xenserver is on it's way to the graveyard is true. Could you please explain why you believe this? I'm new to virtualization and thus ignorant.

    My Aunt is a Nurse informatician. Her organization uses Citrix Xenserver, and many of the applications they use are dependent on this platform. This is in Indiana. Where I live, 200 miles away, there is a citrix admin job right here in town. No jobs working with ESX
    Is it a "Citrix XenServer" job, or just "Citrix"? If the latter it is most likely for XenApp, the flagship product of Citrix, and not XenServer. There are tons of jobs for XenApp, but very few for XenServer. These two products are completely unrelated; you can use them together, or not. If a company (such as your Aunt's employer) is using XenApp, it may be running on VMs in VMware vSphere, or it may be on physical servers and not virtualized at all.

    I don't necessary agree that XenServer is dying. It is still being actively developed. XenServer 5.6 FP1 is coming out soon and will have significant enhancements, such as a distributed virtual switch. Even though this is a big improvement, I'm skeptical that it will be on par with what's in VMware vSphere. I work with XenServer and am certified on it, and I think networking in particular is really lacking. It's missing features and flexibility that VMware has had for years.

    Quote Originally Posted by ehnde View Post
    On the certification side of things, Exam A18 (Basic Administration for Citrix XenApp 6)
    is $150.

    VMWare certification is around $4800 (required course + exam).

    I could not find a certification for Citrix Xenserver, so I'm not certain that Exam A18 would be an acceptable alternative.....like I said before, I'm an ignorant noob
    Go to Citrix Certification, select XenServer and click search and you will find the XenServer-related certs. As previously stated, XenServer and XenApp are different products. I think the exams indeed are all $150. One major issue, however, is that there is basically no cheap training materials. Very few study guides have been published, and mostly for XenApp exams. You can do Citrix eLearning, but at $1200 each it is not cheap. So basically you are on your own, with Citrix documentation, which is not fun to go through.

    Regarding the VCP, I don't know where you got $4800. The most you would have to spend on the training through VMware is $3000, and the exam is $175. If no training provider is near you, you can take it online. You can also find the training much cheaper. For example you can take it online at UCSC Extension for about $1000, and it includes 70% off the voucher (so about another $50 for the exam). This is self-paced so you wouldn't have to miss any work. Other schools are also offering it through the VMware Academy program. I took it at a community college for about $200.


    Quote Originally Posted by ehnde View Post
    Sorry for going so far off topic, but I really am curious why VMWare ESX/ESXi experience could be a more marketable skill than Citrix Xenserver.
    One big reason is that VMware Infrastructure and vSphere have a significant market share lead over the competition, such as Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer.
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    #12
    Thanks MentholMoose, this is a goldmine of info!
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    #13

    Default Xen still around and I have performed benchmark testing.

    Quote Originally Posted by darkerosxx View Post
    but knowing that Xen is on its way to the graveyard
    Almost 3 years later and we still have XEN. Interesting..... hmmm
    Of course we all knew that ESX would still be around with VMWare owning half the planet.
    But I have of recent had to perform benchmark testing to complete a class for my MS.
    What I have found was surprising and it may be to you also.
    In the interest of full disclosure I have been using VMWare ESX since 2.5.
    I received my VCP under 3.5 and have been waiting to see when there is a lull in ESX versions coming out to get my updated VCP.
    I like the free stuff, but I do not appreciate the high licensing that VMWare imposes to capitalize on a common technology.
    Some say that the benefits out-weigh the drawbacks, I am not sure.
    I like XEN but have had very little exposure to it. I only knew that since it was free and available, the community has made it better.
    I used 2 2950's for my testing.
    I used the XCP 4.1.2 download for the XEN. (VERY easy to install). Almost exactly like XenServer.
    I used ESXi 5.0 623860
    I used CentOS 6.4 for the guest
    They were exactly the same except one had more RAM than the other. (In the process of purchasing more RAM to make both the same.)
    I used VM's that were pretty much the same and had the same applications running in both.
    I used sysbench and iperf for testing applications.
    I tested CPU performance, the mutex Scheduler performance, the sustained Mutex' performance, Memory performance, File IO Performance, OLTP performance (mysql), and Networking performance.

    Results;
    CPU = Xen
    Scheduler = ESX
    Sustained Mutex performance = Xen
    Memory Performance = Xen
    File IO Performance = Xen
    OLTP performance = ESX by far
    Networking = Xen by far

    My Conclusion:
    Use the hypervisor that fits your particular situation. DO NOT under any circumstances use Xen for MySQL in my opinion. The transactions per second were almost half of ESX. Do NOT use ESX if you are wanting to have a fast networked application, use Xen hyper-visor for that application. If your application uses a ton of CPU and it needs RAM throughput, use XEN for this application. If you have an application that needs the thread scheduler to be used alot, the use ESX.

    Here is what you need to do;
    1) benchmark your app
    2) Find the resources that the application hogs up
    3) Determine your hypervisor by what you find.
    4) Do NOT take these as final rules, you have to run your own tests to find what you need and what runs well in your situation on your hardware. What one person finds may work differently in your situation.
    5) As all good engineers know, adapt, change, and review.

    If you would like to get a copy of my report, please email me at lnxnut@gmail.com and I can PDF it and send to you. Just please reference it when giving to others.

    Rick
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  15. Senior Member MentholMoose's Avatar
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    #14
    There have been some interesting developments going on with Xen lately.

    Linux Foundation takes over Xen, enlists Amazon in war to rule the cloud | Ars Technica


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