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

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