troubleshooting Question

Question about hard drive performance in a VMWare environment

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atlasdev asked on
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I am using vmware to come up with estimates for future database upgrades. I started using HDTune to come up with a sliding scale in order to come up with ballpark estimates across different hardware. The issue I am having is that the metric I am getting for the virtual server doesn't make sense to me. The setup I have here is a Dell Poweredge 2950 (dual quad cores - E5310) with 32GB of RAM with a MD3000 direct attached storage array (6 750GB 7200RPM SATA disks in a RAID 5 container with 1 hot spare) running VMWare ESX 3.5. Only running one virtual machine (2003 standard with 512MB RAM, an os drive of 15GB and a data drive of 65GB with nothing on it), I ran HDTune and have the results attached as an image. For approx most of the test, I get a measurement around 200MB/s. However, during the test the performance spikes up to around 800MB/s and spikes the virtual CPU to 100%. As a compariosn, I ran the same test on a poweredge 2950 with 7 146GB 10K RPM SAS drives in a raid 5 configuration with a  hotspare, which gave me a consistent 300MB/s measurement running WIndows 2003. I have a hard time believing the number I am getting from the vmware server and it may be that the issue may be hdtune. What is the best way for me to either troublehoot what is going on with this vm server?
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