Link: Scaling real-life Web server workloads

Most real life web server workloads suffer from scalability issues such as those observed in our tests. In order to circumvent these issues, lots of businesses choose to deploy web server workloads on a multitude of one-CPU or dual-CPU machines. However, such approach leads to proliferation of servers in a data center environment resulting in higher costs in both power and space usage. Virtualization offers an easier alternative to avoid software scaling issues as well as provide efficiency in power and space usage. This is because, virtualization enables several complex operating environments that are not easily scalable to run concurrently on a single physical machine and exploit the vast compute resources offered by today’s power and space efficient multi-core systems. To quantify the effectiveness of this approach we measured SPECweb2005 performance by deploying multiple Apache/PHP configurations in a virtual environment. …

Thus, while the performance of each single-VCPU virtual machine is slightly lower than that of a one-CPU native machine (because of virtualization overhead), the cumulative performance of the multiple virtual machines well exceeds the performance of a large SMP native machine (because serialization penalties are reduced).