qemu-kvm process of a RHEL5 system uses ~17% CPU, even when guest is idle

Solution Verified - Updated -


  • When monitoring the host of a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.8 guest VM, its qemu-kvm is always consuming between 13 ~ 19%, even if guest is completly idle and doing nothing.
  • For example, with 10 RHEL5 guests, qemu-kvm will use almost two full CPUs (~170% CPU time), with guests idling.
  • In a large RHEL5 VM farm, it can consume considerably more power and HVAC.


  • Host: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6
  • Guest: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.8

Subscriber exclusive content

A Red Hat subscription provides unlimited access to our knowledgebase, tools, and much more.

Current Customers and Partners

Log in for full access

Log In

New to Red Hat?

Learn more about Red Hat subscriptions

Using a Red Hat product through a public cloud?

How to access this content