Proxmox vs FreeBSD: Which Virtualization Host Performs Better?

Proxmox vs FreeBSD: Which Virtualization Host Performs Better?

When choosing a virtualization host, performance is a critical factor. This article compares Proxmox and FreeBSD, two prominent virtualization solutions, to determine which one delivers superior performance. Proxmox VE, known for its robust management capabilities, is widely used in enterprise environments. FreeBSD, with its advanced networking and security features, is also a strong contender. This comparison will evaluate their performance across various metrics, providing insights to help you select the best option for your specific virtualization needs.

What is Proxmox?

Proxmox Virtual Environment (VE) is an open-source virtualization management platform designed for enterprise use. It integrates KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) and LXC (Linux Containers) technologies, allowing users to manage virtual machines and containers through a unified interface.

Proxmox VE offers features like high availability, live migration, backup and restore, and comprehensive networking options. It is known for its robust performance, ease of use, and extensive documentation, making it a popular choice for businesses looking to deploy and manage virtualized environments efficiently.

What is FreeBSD?

FreeBSD is an advanced open-source operating system derived from the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) Unix. It is renowned for its reliability, performance, and advanced networking, security, and storage features. FreeBSD offers a robust platform for virtualization, supporting various hypervisors such as bhyve and Xen. Its extensive documentation, active community, and long history in the industry make it a favored choice for both servers and embedded systems. FreeBSD’s modularity and flexibility allow for customized deployments, catering to diverse virtualization needs.

Also Reader: Proxmox vs VMware ESXi: Which One Should You Choose?

Comparative Analysis

To decide which virtualization host performs better, here is an analysis of the key findings:

Interpretation of CPU and RAM Results

Proxmox provides more consistent CPU performance, FreeBSD exhibits superior memory performance. The choice between Proxmox and FreeBSD may depend on the particular workload requirements and the importance of consistent performance versus higher throughput.

I/O Performance Tests

The performance data collected from numerous configurations of Proxmox and FreeBSD provides an ample view of the I/O capabilities and highlights some significant differences.

Host Physical Systems and Filesystems

VM Configurations Comparison

  • File Creation Speed:
    • Amid VMs, VM on FreeBSD (ZFS, NVMe) leads, followed by VM on FreeBSD (zvol), and then VM on FreeBSD (ZFS, Virtio).
  • Read and Write Operations per Second:
    • VM on FreeBSD (ZFS, NVMe) and VM on FreeBSD (zvol) both outperform VM on Proxmox (ZFS) and VM on Proxmox (LVM) configurations expressively.
    • VM on Proxmox (ZFS) outperforms VM on Proxmox (LVM) in read and write operations.
  • fsync Operations per Second:
    • VM on FreeBSD (ZFS, NVMe) and VM on FreeBSD (zvol) have significantly advanced fsync operations compared to VM on Proxmox (ZFS) and VM on Proxmox (LVM).
  • Throughput:
    • VM on FreeBSD (ZFS, NVMe) and VM on FreeBSD (zvol) have the highest throughput, followed by VM on Proxmox (ZFS) and then VM on Proxmox (LVM).
  • Latency:
  • VM on FreeBSD (ZFS, NVMe) and VM on FreeBSD (zvol) display the lowermost latencies among the VMs, indicating faster response times.
  • VM on Proxmox (ZFS) shows lower latencies compared to VM on Proxmox (LVM).

Cache Settings and Performance Influence

Cache settings can considerably influence the performance of virtualization systems. The performance differences may be also due to how diverse operating systems manage the caches of NVMe devices.

Key insights

About RAM and CPU, the performance of the VMs is comparable. There are minor differences in favor of Proxmox for CPU and FreeBSD for RAM, but in my opinion, these differences are so trivial that they wouldn’t sway the decision towards one solution or the other.

The I/O performance data undoubtedly indicates that VM on FreeBSD with NVMe and ZFS outperforms all other configurations by a significant margin. This is apparent in the file creation speed, read/write operations per second, fsync operations per second, throughput, and latency metrics. Conversely, the exceptionally high performance of VM on FreeBSD with NVMe and ZFS suggests that there might be a core issue, such as the NVMe driver not honoring fsync properly. This could lead to the VM believing that data has been written when it has not, resulting in artificially inflated performance results.

When comparing physical hosts, Host FreeBSD (ZFS) demonstrates excellent performance, mainly in comparison to Host Proxmox (ZFS) and Host Proxmox (ext4).

When comparing VMs, VM on FreeBSD (ZFS, NVMe) and VM on FreeBSD (zvol) configurations stand out as the top performers. It’s imperative to consider the potential fsync issue with NVMe storage. VM on Proxmox (ZFS) performs better than VM on Proxmox (LVM), but the FreeBSD configurations outperform both.

The VM using virtio on FreeBSD also shows strong performance, though not as high as the NVMe configuration. It significantly outperforms Proxmox configurations in terms of file creation speed, read/write operations per second, and throughput, while maintaining competitive latencies.

Also Read: Containers vs. VMs: Choosing the Right Approach for Your Proxmox VE

Wrap up

In conclusion, while the VM on FreeBSD with NVMe and ZFS shows the finest performance, it is important to investigate the potential issue with fsync operations.

By scrutinizing these performance metrics, users can make informed decisions about their virtualization and storage configurations to optimize their systems for particular workloads and performance requirements.

In light of above discussion, Undoubtedly, Proxmox is a stable solution, rich in features, battle-tested, and has many other effective points, but FreeBSD, specifically with the nvme driver, demonstrates very high performance and a very low overhead in installation and operation.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top