I have recently been running performance tests with zones on several Sun 
servers. (280's and 880's), 2 CPU and 8CPUs respectively.

On my 280 servers (2CPU machines), I installed and booted 3 zones and I get 
poor performance on across the network (400Mbps). I only transfer data at 80% 
of what I can in the global zone with no zones installed or booted (where I 
measured 550Mbps). That is a 20% difference in performance. I tested with the 
opensource tool called IPERF.

I originally thought that zones were causing my problems so I decided to move 
to another type of hardware, a V880 (8 CPU) machine. When I ran my performance 
tests again with 3 zones installed and booted I saw <1% overhead in the network 
compared to running in the global zone with no zones installed or booted. Both 
of the 880 tests ran around 860 Mbps throughput with less then 1% difference 
between several scripted tests.

Can anyone explain why I see this? Both servers have gigabit NICs installed. 
The only thing I can think of is that the backplane on the servers in a 
bottleneck for the small 280 servers. But how could this (or something else in 
the kernel space) be causing the symptoms I see above?

Any comments would be helpfull,

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