Profile Targets on a KVM* Guest System

Configure the Intel® VTune™ Amplifier to analyze performance on a KVM guest system.

Performance analysis for the host and virtual machine(s) in cloud environments helps identify such issues as resource contention (for example, CPU/vCPU time) and network/IO activity. VTune Amplifier uses Perf*-based driverless collection to enable performance analysis of the guest Linux* operating system via Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) from the host system.

Unlike other virtual machine systems, systems using KVM on a Linux* host to access a Linux guest can have VTune Amplifier installed on either the host system to analyze performance on the guest system or installed directly on the guest system to analyze the guest system. Additional information about installing VTune Amplifier is available from the Linux installation guides.

Depending on your analysis target, you may choose any of the supported usage modes for KVM guest OS profiling.

Profiling Modes

Currently, the VTune Amplifier supports the following usage modes for KVM guest OS profiling, and each of them has some limitations:

Profiling System

KVM Guest OS (User Apps)

KVM Guest OS (User and Kernel Space)

Host and KVM Guest OS (User and Kernel Space)

Host and KVM Guest OS (Kernel Space)

Supported analysis

User-mode sampling: Hotspots and Threading

Event-based sampling: Hotspots and limited Microarchitecture Exploration

Event-based sampling: all types with accurate attribution of user-space activity to the user processes on the guest

All Perf-based analysis types supported for the host and hotspots for the KVM kernel space

Target type

Applications in the Launch and Attach modes

  • Applications in the Launch and Attach modes
  • System-wide analysis

System-wide analysis (host and guest OS)

All types supported for the host. No user app analysis on the guest OS.

VTune Amplifier installation mode

On the guest OS

On the guest OS

On the host and guest OS (VTune Amplifier custom collector)

On the host


  • Limited to Hotspots and Threading analysis
  • No system-wide analysis for user-mode sampling
  • Limited event-based sampling analysis due to a limited set of virtualized PMU events and unavailable uncore events
  • No information from the host
  • Additional debugfs and custom collector configuration is required
  • Access to the host system running VM is required
  • Not applicable to cloud environments

Guest OS analysis is limited:

  • Performance data is attributed to the kernel space only
  • No user-space analysis


Learn more

PMU event virtualization required for Event-based sampling

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Analyze KVM guest OS option

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Analyze KVM guest OS option

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For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.
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