An anonymous reader writes "Compared to an operating-system-level virtualization technology like OpenVZ, Xen — a hypervisor-level virtualization technology that allows multiple operating systems to be run with and without para-virtualization — trades off performance for much better isolation and security. OpenVZ's performance advantage due to running virtual containers in a single operating system kernel can be significant. A performance evaluation study (PDF) done by researchers at the University of Michigan and HP labs provides insight into how big a performance penalty Zen pays and what causes the overheads (primarily L2 cache misses)."
From the report: "We compare both technologies with a base system in terms of application performance, resource consumption, scalability, low-level system metrics like cache misses and virtualization-specific metrics like Domain-0 consumption in Xen. Our experiments indicate that the average response time can increase by over 400% in Xen and only a modest 100% in OpenVZ as the number of application instances grows from one to four... A similar trend is observed in CPU consumptions of virtual containers."