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Optimizing VMware Workstation processor, graphic card and harddisk

Posted on 2011-02-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi

Hardware
HP 8540w laptop
Prcessor: Intel Core i7-720QM, 4 cores/ 8 threads
Memory: DDR3-1333
HD: Serial ATA II, 500 GB, 7200 rpm
DispAdapter: NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M

Software
Wint7 Pro 64bit on the host system
VMware  Vista Bus 32 bit Virtual Machine
On Virtual Machine a 3rd party SW which can use 2 threads

The VM Vista 32 bit setup is now:
1 prcessor 2 cores
50 GB virtual disk
I tested with 1 processor and 4 or 8 cores and it seemed to be slower than with 2 cores.

The 3rd party SW supports only Vista 32 bit and when installed on the VM it is a little bit too slow. It uses heavely prcessor, memory and graphic card. It loads the data (100-400 MB) that it processes from the VM virtual disk not from Shared Folder of the Host OS.

In the "real" Vista the 3rd party SW is fast.

Any ideas hot to optimize the VM?
Any special drivers for Quadro display adapter?
Any ideas what VMware HD type would be the fastest?
Is there a VMware 64 bit edition?

Thanks in advantage. We need the Win7 64 bit host system for other apllications. The dual boot is not the option since the laptop is TrueCrypted (which doesn't seem to support two encypted OSs in a one physical disk)

Juha
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Question by:RimFire007
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by:coolsport00
coolsport00 earned 250 total points
ID: 34969365
With vCPUs, you allocate only what the specs require for the guest OS and/or software/apps within the guest. If you allocate too many, you can have contention and yes...actually downgrade VM performance (see VMware's Resource Mgmt Guide for ESX/ESXi; yes, I know it's different product, but the concept still applies). I don't understand what you mean when you said you assigned 1 processor, but 8 cores? You only assign vCPUs, which by VMware's standards is 1 core. They don't necessarily look at phys CPU sockets, unless of course you assign specifically for the VM to access a physical socket. Have you also set hyperthreading in your BIOS to double your cores? Have you enabled Intel-VT in your BIOS? How much RAM have you allocated? If you're able to bump your HD up to a SAS 10K rpm, that would be better, but not sure if your laptop 1. supports SAS, 2. supports higher HD speeds.

If this is for your organization, have you looked at possibility of ESXi? You would need a supported server (according to VMware's HCL: http://www.vmware.com/resources/guides.html), but ESXi at least is free, and there is no host-OS resource overhead.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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Expert Comment

by:bgoering
ID: 34969981
Yup, everything he said - but first make sure you have vmware tools installed in your vista guest - the addition of vmware tools makes everything run a bi t better.

Good Luck
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Author Comment

by:RimFire007
ID: 34970304
Thanks coolsport00 and bgoerin

VMware tolls are installed.In the VM processor options you can selcet the number of processors and Cores. As I told, id tested with several VM settings and noticed that 1 prcessor and 2 cores seems to work the best for this installation. I have assigned to the VM Vista Guest OS 3,5 GB of RAM.

Is this correct link for mtmt Guide:
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_301_201_resource_mgmt.pdf

Rgs,
Juha
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by:coolsport00
ID: 34970360
Well, that Guide is for a lesser version of ESXi, but it should be the same info, mostly. Here's for ESX 4.x:
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r40/vsp_40_resource_mgmt.pdf; you can look under the section Managing CPUs on pg. 17 that discusses briefly about adding more vCPUs than what's needed.

So, my next question is how much RAM do you have in your laptop? If you have 4GB, and have assigned 3.5GB to your VM, that doesn't give much for your host. You really need to have enough to cover the sys req's for your host as well as your VM, with some extra to cover overhead (or creation of other VMs).

~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:RimFire007
ID: 34970393
About Virtual Disk

I need to increase the size of the virtual disk. I just Expand it, right? But would the installation be faster if I select the hard disk  contents are stored in multipple files rather than in one file (currently in multipple files)?

Does it matter how large the virtual disk actually is in terms of performance?

Rgs, Juha

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by:coolsport00
ID: 34970432
No, it doesn't matter how lg your virt disk is. And, to expand it, it takes just a bit more than powering down the VM and increasing the size. You have to modify the size in the guest OS, as well. See these VMware KBs:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1004047
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1004071 (Win7 has the capability to expand the volume w/out use of diskpart or 3rd party utility; you just do so in Disk Mgmt).

~coolsport00
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Accepted Solution

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bgoering earned 250 total points
ID: 34970579
I am assuming you have vmware workstation version 7.x - Take a look at this publication for optimizing performance with workstation.

http://www.vmware.com/pdf/ws7_performance.pdf

As far as vcpu and core count generally less is better as there is a bit of overhead involved in managing a smp environment. If you can get by with one do that, only if the demands of the workload exceed the capacity of your processor would you add additional. I don't think it makes a great deal of difference for cores vs just adding additional vcpu. That functionality is more targeted for licensing restrictions. For example Windows Standard only support 2 cpu, and before you could define the cores per cpu all they could get is two processor threads. Now for example you can define 2 vcpu each with 4 cores and they would have 8 processor threads.

Hope this helps

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by:bgoering
ID: 34970711
Found it - http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1010184 is an article that describes the functionality for ESX, for workstation would be much the same. You often see VMware put features in Workstation first, then migrate those technologies to the higher end vSphere products. Another example would be the record/playback funtionality in workstation was adapted as the basis for fault tolerence logging in high end vSphere platforms.
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Author Comment

by:RimFire007
ID: 34971091
Hi

Thanks, will drive to home now and read carefully your answers.

I have 8GBs RAM in the 8540w laptop.

Rgs, Juha
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 34971121
Ok...well, you have enough to cover your VM and host, but not much more for overhead (1/2 GB probably). If possible, I'd put another 2-4GB in it, maybe add another GB to your VM. Vista was really bad on resources. I think MS did better with Win7, but that OS is still a resource hog, as well. :P

~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:RimFire007
ID: 34973362
Hi

I have VMware 7.x.

bgoering, thanks for the great link for 7.x performance fine tune. I quess it covers the question should I use one VMware disk file or split it to smaller pieces.

I suppose I will implement
 3 pcs Intel Core i7-720QM, 4 cores/ 8 threads VMware 7.x WSs
 8 pcs HP 8440  i7-620M, VMware 7.x WSs

The VMware setup (same vOSs and vApllications) would be equal to all those. The virtual OSs will be XP 32bit and Vista 32bit.

Will read not the guide bgoering hinted to me.

Rgs, Juha
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Expert Comment

by:bgoering
ID: 34974066
I am not sure the guide addresses the concept of splitting the virtual hard disk into 2GB Chunks - myself I never do that, but generally I do use the thin provisioning as there isn't much impact for doing that,
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Author Comment

by:RimFire007
ID: 34977246
Hi

Great! I checked the BIOS setuo and you can enable there the Virtualization Technology. I try to find out from the guide should I do something to VMware settings after enabling the Virtualization Technology. The BIOS is updated.

Type mistake previously: "Will read not the guide bgoering hinted to me." I ment: "Will read now the guide bgoering hinted to me".

Rgs, Juha
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by:coolsport00
ID: 34978985
No...nothing more needed. VT in the host BIOS was all that was needed.

~coolsport00
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Author Closing Comment

by:RimFire007
ID: 35163757
Thanks Guys for guiding me through this.

As a first time user with VMware your support were great.  

Coolsport, special thanks guiding me to enable Virtual Technology from BIOS.

bgoering, special thanks for great link to WS7_Performance

Rgs, Juha
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