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On my server I have a setup with multiple KVMs managed with virsh on ubuntu. A vm for the apache, a vm for the database, mail server, etc. Everything works quite well, except bigger CMS systems run in performance issues. I narrowed it down to the database. But not the queries are slow per se. If I run them directly on the database server, they are as fast as expected. But not when I run them from the apache VM. If I install those application locally without VMs everything is fast as well.

I build a small tool to test a little bit around and found this pattern for 500 different SQL queries: statistic of query runtime So 34 from 500 querys are slower than the others. But all 34 are roughly similar slow. If I run the same script directly on the database server, all 500 queries run fast.

Every time I run this script I get a similar result. 30 - 40 queries are significantly slower than the rest, but those 30 - 40 are roughly at the same speed.

I access the database with local domain name. If I monitor the database during the runtime of the script, the CPU and also the memory load will roughly extend 10%.

My first guess was some issues in the network config, but I cannot find any issues there. Anybody an idea what's happening here? Or maybe a hint where I can look as well?

config xml of database server:

<domain type='kvm' id='4'>
  <name>sql1</name>
  <uuid>beb47f80-10a4-4687-891e-6195933d636d</uuid>
  <memory unit='KiB'>4194304</memory>
  <currentMemory unit='KiB'>4194304</currentMemory>
  <vcpu placement='static'>2</vcpu>
  <resource>
    <partition>/machine</partition>
  </resource>
  <os>
    <type arch='x86_64' machine='pc-i440fx-2.1'>hvm</type>
    <boot dev='hd'/>
  </os>
  <features>
    <acpi/>
    <apic/>
    <pae/>
  </features>
  <cpu mode='custom' match='exact'>
    <model fallback='forbid'>SandyBridge</model>
  </cpu>
  <clock offset='utc'>
    <timer name='rtc' tickpolicy='catchup'/>
    <timer name='pit' tickpolicy='delay'/>
    <timer name='hpet' present='no'/>
  </clock>
  <on_poweroff>destroy</on_poweroff>
  <on_reboot>restart</on_reboot>
  <on_crash>restart</on_crash>
  <devices>
    <emulator>/usr/bin/kvm</emulator>
    <disk type='file' device='disk'>
      <driver name='qemu' type='raw'/>
      <source file='/vm/sql1.img'/>
      <backingStore/>
      <target dev='hda' bus='ide'/>
      <alias name='ide0-0-0'/>
      <address type='drive' controller='0' bus='0' target='0' unit='0'/>
    </disk>
    <disk type='file' device='disk'>
      <driver name='qemu' type='raw' cache='writeback'/>
      <source file='/vm/sql1_data.img'/>
      <backingStore/>
      <target dev='hdb' bus='ide'/>
      <alias name='ide0-0-1'/>
      <address type='drive' controller='0' bus='0' target='0' unit='1'/>
    </disk>
    <controller type='usb' index='0' model='ich9-ehci1'>
      <alias name='usb'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x03' function='0x7'/                                                                                                                                                                                                >
    </controller>
    <controller type='usb' index='0' model='ich9-uhci1'>
      <alias name='usb'/>
      <master startport='0'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x03' function='0x0'                                                                                                                                                                                                 multifunction='on'/>
    </controller>
    <controller type='usb' index='0' model='ich9-uhci2'>
      <alias name='usb'/>
      <master startport='2'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x03' function='0x1'/                                                                                                                                                                                                >
    </controller>
    <controller type='usb' index='0' model='ich9-uhci3'>
      <alias name='usb'/>
      <master startport='4'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x03' function='0x2'/                                                                                                                                                                                                >
    </controller>
    <controller type='pci' index='0' model='pci-root'>
      <alias name='pci.0'/>
    </controller>
    <controller type='ide' index='0'>
      <alias name='ide'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x01' function='0x1'/                                                                                                                                                                                                >
    </controller>
    <controller type='scsi' index='0'>
      <alias name='scsi0'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x06' function='0x0'/                                                                                                                                                                                                >
    </controller>
    <interface type='bridge'>
      <mac address='52:54:00:37:7d:67'/>
      <source bridge='intbr0'/>
      <target dev='vnet3'/>
      <model type='rtl8139'/>
      <alias name='net0'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x02' function='0x0'/                                                                                                                                                                                                >
    </interface>
    <serial type='pty'>
      <source path='/dev/pts/3'/>
      <target port='0'/>
      <alias name='serial0'/>
    </serial>
    <console type='pty' tty='/dev/pts/3'>
      <source path='/dev/pts/3'/>
      <target type='serial' port='0'/>
      <alias name='serial0'/>
    </console>
    <input type='mouse' bus='ps2'>
      <alias name='input0'/>
    </input>
    <input type='keyboard' bus='ps2'>
      <alias name='input1'/>
    </input>
    <graphics type='vnc' port='5903' autoport='yes' listen='0.0.0.0'>
      <listen type='address' address='0.0.0.0'/>
    </graphics>
    <video>
      <model type='cirrus' vram='16384' heads='1' primary='yes'/>
      <alias name='video0'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x05' function='0x0'/                                                                                                                                                                                                >
    </video>
    <memballoon model='virtio'>
      <alias name='balloon0'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x04' function='0x0'/                                                                                                                                                                                                >
    </memballoon>
  </devices>
  <seclabel type='none' model='none'/>
  <seclabel type='dynamic' model='dac' relabel='yes'>
    <label>+109:+117</label>
    <imagelabel>+109:+117</imagelabel>
  </seclabel>
</domain>

config xml of webserver:

<domain type='kvm' id='2'>
  <name>web1</name>
  <uuid>7ac19f58-438f-4c54-b232-7acd58bb4497</uuid>
  <memory unit='KiB'>4194304</memory>
  <currentMemory unit='KiB'>4194304</currentMemory>
  <vcpu placement='static'>2</vcpu>
  <resource>
    <partition>/machine</partition>
  </resource>
  <os>
    <type arch='x86_64' machine='pc-i440fx-2.1'>hvm</type>
    <boot dev='hd'/>
  </os>
  <features>
    <acpi/>
    <apic/>
    <pae/>
  </features>
  <cpu mode='custom' match='exact'>
    <model fallback='forbid'>SandyBridge</model>
  </cpu>
  <clock offset='utc'>
    <timer name='rtc' tickpolicy='catchup'/>
    <timer name='pit' tickpolicy='delay'/>
    <timer name='hpet' present='no'/>
  </clock>
  <on_poweroff>destroy</on_poweroff>
  <on_reboot>restart</on_reboot>
  <on_crash>restart</on_crash>
  <devices>
    <emulator>/usr/bin/kvm</emulator>
    <disk type='file' device='disk'>
      <driver name='qemu' type='raw' cache='writeback'/>
      <source file='/vm/web1.img'/>
      <backingStore/>
      <target dev='hda' bus='ide'/>
      <alias name='ide0-0-0'/>
      <address type='drive' controller='0' bus='0' target='0' unit='0'/>
    </disk>
    <disk type='file' device='disk'>
      <driver name='qemu' type='raw'/>
      <source file='/vm/web1_data.img'/>
      <backingStore/>
      <target dev='hdb' bus='ide'/>
      <alias name='ide0-0-1'/>
      <address type='drive' controller='0' bus='0' target='0' unit='1'/>
    </disk>
    <controller type='usb' index='0' model='ich9-ehci1'>
      <alias name='usb'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x03' function='0x7'/>
    </controller>
    <controller type='usb' index='0' model='ich9-uhci1'>
      <alias name='usb'/>
      <master startport='0'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x03' function='0x0' multifunction='on'/>
    </controller>
    <controller type='usb' index='0' model='ich9-uhci2'>
      <alias name='usb'/>
      <master startport='2'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x03' function='0x1'/>
    </controller>
    <controller type='usb' index='0' model='ich9-uhci3'>
      <alias name='usb'/>
      <master startport='4'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x03' function='0x2'/>
    </controller>
    <controller type='pci' index='0' model='pci-root'>
      <alias name='pci.0'/>
    </controller>
    <controller type='ide' index='0'>
      <alias name='ide'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x01' function='0x1'/>
    </controller>
    <interface type='bridge'>
      <mac address='52:54:00:99:65:78'/>
      <source bridge='intbr0'/>
      <target dev='vnet1'/>
      <model type='rtl8139'/>
      <alias name='net0'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x02' function='0x0'/>
    </interface>
    <serial type='pty'>
      <source path='/dev/pts/1'/>
      <target port='0'/>
      <alias name='serial0'/>
    </serial>
    <console type='pty' tty='/dev/pts/1'>
      <source path='/dev/pts/1'/>
      <target type='serial' port='0'/>
      <alias name='serial0'/>
    </console>
    <input type='mouse' bus='ps2'>
      <alias name='input0'/>
    </input>
    <input type='keyboard' bus='ps2'>
      <alias name='input1'/>
    </input>
    <graphics type='vnc' port='5901' autoport='yes' listen='0.0.0.0'>
      <listen type='address' address='0.0.0.0'/>
    </graphics>
    <video>
      <model type='cirrus' vram='16384' heads='1' primary='yes'/>
      <alias name='video0'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x05' function='0x0'/>
    </video>
    <memballoon model='virtio'>
      <alias name='balloon0'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x04' function='0x0'/>
    </memballoon>
  </devices>
  <seclabel type='none' model='none'/>
  <seclabel type='dynamic' model='dac' relabel='yes'>
    <label>+109:+117</label>
    <imagelabel>+109:+117</imagelabel>
  </seclabel>
</domain>
  • @MichaelHampton I don't know why I used rtl8139. But big thanks to your advice! I changed that to virtio and now its fast everywhere! Could you add this as an Answer? That I can accept is as a solution? – Dominik Sander Sep 28 at 18:53
1

Your VM is emluating an rtl8139 NIC, a 10/100 Mbps device from the mid-1990s. This driver is only present so that KVM can allow ancient operating systems to connect to the network.

For modern operating systems, anything that is still commonly used today, it's best to use the virtio NIC. This paravirtualized NIC has built-in drivers in Linux, and available drivers for Windows (XP/2003 and later), various BSD flavors, and possibly other OSes, and is usually the highest performance option, short of passing through a physical NIC (or virtual function) to the VM.

For recent operating systems (from the last 20 years or so) without a virtio driver, the next best virtual NIC to use is generally e1000, which emulates an Intel gigabit NIC.

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