8 GB ESX - slow guest boot

Posted on 2007-09-29
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
On VMWARE ESX Standard, I have a server with 8 GB physical memory. I have two VMs. First is assigned 1024 MB RAM. Second is 8192 MB RAM. The second machine is taking 10 minutes to boot Windows Server 2003. Have I misconfigured something?

Memory usage 6.44 GB out of 8.00 GB
Question by:light-blue
    LVL 11

    Accepted Solution

    Yep, you have 8GB physical RAM, and 9216MB allocated.  You're causing your VMs to swap memory to disk and it's causing poor performance.  While having the ability to swap memory to disk if needed can be useful in dire circumstances, it is certainly not optimal and should be avoided.  ESX will consume some memory for overhead as well.  Drop your second VM down to 5.5 or 6GB of RAM and your performance should pick right back up.  
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Yes, that made a huge difference! Thanks rvthost.

    On the same note...My other VM is a 2003 domain controller for a small business, less than 100 employees. Could I drop its RAM to about 512 MB without much impact on users? I also assigned it two virtual CPUs and 4 to the other. Do the cpu assignments work like RAM? (the machine is dual-processor quad core)...
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    Great, you're welcome!

    For your DC with 1GB, if it's just serving up some files and handling logins, you probably could drop it down.  Most of my Windows servers are given at least 1GB, but I have several less than that if they're not really doing much.  But that's the beauty of VMware, you can drop it to 512MB if you really need the memory back.  If you notice a large decrease in performance, just raise it back to 1GB.  

    CPU assignments don't work like the RAM allocation so you're not necessarily misconfigured.  You can have all your VMs configured with multiple processors if you'd like.  However, best practices in VMware typically dictate that you only assign multiple processors if you know you're running software that benefits from the multi threading.  Assigning two CPUs to the server for the "heck of it" can sometimes even hurt your performance.  Say you have a VM with a single CPU assigned, but there are 8 physical cores.  With the default settings, the VM will literally bounce between cores automatically to best leverage your resources.  A VM with one virtual CPU does not mean that it is tied to only one core.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    great. you're awesome. thanks again rvthost.

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