It’s hard to know what to cover in this objective as performance tuning often implies troubleshooting (note the recommended reading of Performance Troubleshooting!) hence there’s a significant overlap with the troubleshooting section. Luckily there are plenty of excellent resources in the blogosphere and from VMware so it’s just a case of reading and practicing.
- Identify appropriate BIOS and firmware setting requirements for optimal ESX/ESXi Host performance
- Identify appropriate ESX driver revisions required for optimal ESX/ESXi Host performance
- Recall where to locate information resources to verify compliance with VMware and third party vendor best practices
Skills and Abilities
- Tune ESX/ESXi Host and Virtual Machine memory configurations
- Tune ESX/ESXi Host and Virtual Machine networking configurations
- Tune ESX/ESXi Host and Virtual Machine CPU configurations
- Tune ESX/ESXi Host and Virtual Machine storage configurations
- Configure and apply advanced ESX/ESXi Host attributes
- Configure and apply advanced Virtual Machine attributes
- Tune and optimize NUMA controls
Tools & learning resources
- Product Documentation
- vSphere Client
- Performance Graphs
- vSphere CLI
- vicfg-*,resxtop/esxtop, vscsiStats
- VMworld 2010 session TA7750 Understanding Virtualisation Memory Management (subscription required)
- VMworld 2010 session TA7171 – Performance Best Practices for vSphere (subscription required)
- VMworld 2010 session TA8129 – Beginners guide to performance management on vSphere (subscription required)
- Performance Troubleshooting in Virtual Infrastructure (TA3324, VMworld ’09)
- Scott Sauer’s blogpost on storage performance
- VMware’s Performance Best Practices white paper
Identify BIOS and firmware settings for optimal performance
This will vary for each vendor but typical things to check;
- Power saving for the CPU.
- Hyperthreading – should be enabled
- Hardware virtualisation (Intel VT, EPT etc) – required for EVC, Fault Tolerance etc
NOTE: You should also enable the ‘No Execute’ memory protection bit.
- NUMA settings (node interleaving for DL385 for instance. Normally disabled – check Frank Denneman’s post.
- WOL for NIC cards (used with DPM)
Identify appropriate ESX driver revisions required for optimal host performance
I guess they mean the HCL. Let’s hope you don’t need an encyclopaedic knowledge of driver version histories!
Tune ESX/i host and VM memory configurations
Check your Service Console memory usage using esxtop.
Hardware assisted memory virtualisation
Check this is enabled (per VM). Edit Settings -> Options -> CPU/MMU Virtualisation;
NOTE: VMware strongly recommend you use large pages in conjunction with hardware assisted memory virtualisation. See section 3.2 for details on enabling large memory pages. However enabling large memory pages will negate the efficiency of TPS so you gain performance at the cost of higher memory usage. Pick your poison…(and read this interesting thread on the VMware forums)