The Real (and Virtual) Adventures of Nathan the IT Guy

Jan 9 2013   1:38PM GMT

Top 10 VMware Performance Tweaks

Nathan Simon Nathan Simon Profile: Nathan Simon has been a very helpful site over the years, no matter what platform or application. Today I bring you Petri’s top 10 Performance Tweaks, all of them are valid, but not all can/would be used in your environment. It sure doesn’t hurt to read this though. Below you will find the list in reverse order, and in fairness to the original author I can only post some details, the rest you can read in a link below.

10. Install VMware Tools in all virtual machines

9. Use the latest VM virtual hardware version

8. Run the latest version of vSphere

7. Utilize Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS)

6. Consider SSD

Another way to utilize SSD with vSphere to improve performance is to utilize the vSphere host-caching feature such that if a host is low on RAM, the host-swapping option is used to swap memory to low-latency disks that you specify (such as SSD). Now, if you use swap to host cache, remember that it’s not the same as placing regular swap files on SSD-backed datastores — the host still needs to create regular swap files. Even so, when you use swap to host cache, the speed of the storage where the host places regular swap files is less important.

5. Reduce VM snapshots

Too many admins think that snapshots are for periodic backup purposes and leave many GB of snapshots on disks. Besides being a waste of disk space, VM snapshots slow down many things such as svMotion of the virtual disk, backups, disaster recovery, and more.

4. Utilize Storage I/O Control (SIOC) and Storage DRS (SDRS)

3. Replace your hardware

2. Right-size virtual machines

Where underallocation can certainly cause performance issues, overallocation can also cause slowdowns for other VMs that can’t gain access to the memory that they need. By knowing your application and monitoring its performance, over time you’ll better be able to “right-size” the virtual machine that it runs on.

1. Use capacity analysis tools

vCenter Operations Manager is a very useful tool from VMware.

 So there you have it, as I said before, some tips may be impossible for you to implement, depending on your situation, either way take some of these into consideration, and you might make your life easier! Go here to read the rest.

Don’t forget about VMware’s own document on Best Practices : Performance Best Practices for vSphere 5.1VMware

2  Comments on this Post

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  • Ben Rubenstein
    A couple more ideas that we heard from folks on Twitter:
    - configure NTP on ESX hosts. 
    - use PVSCSI & VMXNET3 adapters if supported by OS
    - follow storage vendors' best practices for NFS advanced settings
    11,260 pointsBadges:
  • Nathan Simon
    Definitely agree with those extra points. By now VMXNET3 is a given though, but you would be surprised how many environments are still using E1000 Adapters. *Palm to forehead* :)
    700 pointsBadges:

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