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Virtualization performance: What happens to Virtual I/O?

With the ever-growing adoption of server virtualization, the equilibrium between processor and I/O resources is now being disrupted. At the risk of oversimplifying, over the years, as a result of Moore's law, processor performance capacity had grown faster than other system elements resulting in a glut of CPU resources. Server virtualization is a way to leverage this overcapacity thereby improving processor efficiency albeit at the expense of increased contention over I/O resources. As a result, system designers are increasingly forced to favor servers weighted heavily toward I/O capacity -- e.g., larger, more expensive rack configurations are selected over lower cost servers having identical CPU and memory characteristics -- due solely to the fact that they can accommodate more Ethernet NICs and Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs).


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