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Best Practice Advice - Server 2K8 R1 High CPU Utilization on ESX 3.5 U4

Last Modified: 2012-06-22
PROBLEM: High CPU utilization on VM guest OS.

My ESX 3.5 U4 hosts four production servers.  Three are 2003 R2 and one is 2008 R1.  The 2003 VMs run just great (and I mean GREAT), but the 2008 installation is really slow, in fact the task manager performance tab hangs out at around 40-50% with just core services (wmiprvse.exe, System, etc.).  It peaks to 100% frequently with even the slightest activity.  The 2008 VM has one virtual processor.  Everything here is 32 bit.  

The 2008 VM functions as a DFS file server and backup domain controller only.  This was the only VM that was not P2V'd.

Hardware environment is a ML570 G2 quad Xeon 2.8 with 12GB RAM.  Yea it's old, but it works great and should be plenty fast enough for the workload.

I can see in vCenter that the guest performance peaks at about 2,800MHz of CPU.  There is plenty of host processor resources available when I look at the ‘Performance’ tab of the host.  Also, there is sufficient RAM available.

Is something configured incorrectly?  Is the amount of CPU available to the guest somehow limited by the clock speed of the host CPUs?  I know that sounds like a n00b question, but I’m really confused here.  Should really just migrate the 2008 VM to a faster host?  Should I utilize virtual SMP?
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