VMWare ESXi v4 CPU resource allocation question

gopher_49
gopher_49 used Ask the Experts™
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I'm running a frontend and backend Exchange 2003 server on one ESXi host.  Both VM's tend to have random processing spikes.  This is normal considering the frontend server is running GFI Mail Essentiails, Security, and BB Enterprise server.  The backend server has 65 mailboxes connected to it and it's DB is 65 GB's.  I don't mind the VM 'frontend' performing slower than normal for users are not accessing that server directly and/or interactively, however, a few times a day when the processor spikes it tends to result in Outlook clients hanging while waiting for the server to respond...  Attached are snapshots of my available resources and how the CPU resources are allocated.  I was wondering if I could allocate more CPU to my backend server to give my users a better experience...  I'm not sure if the current config is handing the amount of CPU resource I need it to receive.  I noticed the shares are at 1,000.  Not sure if that's limiting my overall CPU availability.
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Yancey LandrumTechnical Team Lead

Commented:
We went through a very similar process using this article

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/839862

and many others. No matter what we changed resource-wise the problem remained. We eventually encrypted all PC hard drives and put everyone on cached mode.

Author

Commented:
well.. sometimes our Outlook clients do not see this actual message... Sometimes they just hang when sending emails...  The problems only got worse when moving to a ESXi host where resources are shared.  I'm needing to know at a ESXi VMWare level if my current config can be tweeked where backend1 is getting more CPU resources than it's currently getting.

Author

Commented:
Another symptom is that lsass.exe is using alot of CPU whenever I'm having issues...  Microsoft suggests disabling all anti-virus.  I had all recommended folders disabled from scanning, however, it seems that there are alot of tamper protection notices in the event log.  I uninstall symantec and my Outlook clients are running so much better.. The real tests is to see how it runs over the next few days...  I would still like to know how to allocate more processing to a particular VM.
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
I'm not surprised that it runs better without SAV on it :)

If you want to know how to give a VM more CPUs, power down the VM, right-click on it, Edit Settings, then select CPU on the left and allocate another vCPU on the right if you want to. Be cautious about allocating more vCPU resources as this can potentially degrade VM performance. If that is the case the fix is obviously easy...reconfigure the VM to have 1 vCPU. How much RAM did you give your VMs? I see you don't have a whole lot in your host (10GB?). Your Exchg VMs, IMO, should have a minimum of 4GB.

~coolsport00

Author

Commented:
I'm only using 2 GB's of the 4 GB's I have allocated to this VM so memory isn't a problem.  It's not even allocating what I'm currently giving it. Also, I've optimzed all memory settings per Microsoft's Best Practices and verified in the event log that all memory optimization messages are not being logged.  After turning off SAV the server is running REALLY well...  I'm going to let it sit like this for a few days and see what users see.  I'll touch base at the end of the day tomorrow.  Thanks for the steps on adding more CPUs.  We'll restore to that if uninstalling SAV doesn't fix it.
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Ok..thanks for the updated info; I forgot you said you're using Exchg2K3, and your user-base is fairly small, so yes, that is plenty of RAM. Keep us posted...

Regards,
~coolsport00

Author

Commented:
will do...  I was going to add more RAM but for now (until I eventually go to Windows 2008 and Exchange 2010) I have plenty...  I'll update the ticket tomorrow.  I saw a HUGE increase in performance when uninstalling SAV, however, the performance issues come and go so the real test will be tomorrow when users are hammering the server.

Author

Commented:
disabling SAV fixed my performance issues... Exchange 2003 will always have some performance issues, especially considering I allow emails up to 30 MB to be sent and I have a TON of server side and client side rules...  But...  Disabling SAV made the symptoms go away that users where complaining about.

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