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VMware ESX 4 VM paging size

Posted on 2011-03-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Just recently been investigating some performance problems with our ESX VMs and noticed that all the Paging sizes are manually set and set considerable lower than the recommended settings per microsoft.  Example... one VM has 8 GB RAM and the paging size was set to 2 GB.

I have not touched the setting at all and is at the default value from setup time.  Is there a consideration because they are virtual or do i follow the traditional recommended values and change it to be managed by windows?

Thanks,
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Question by:tahlequahitguys
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Expert Comment

by:remixedcat
ID: 35206643
use system managed, see if that changes anything.

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Author Comment

by:tahlequahitguys
ID: 35207248
changing to system managed on the 8 GB moved it from 2 GB Paging to 10 GB
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Expert Comment

by:robocat
ID: 35207846

Paging on virtual systems should be avoided as much as possible, it is a common cause of performance problems.

If the RAM of the physical host is overcommitted, and the VMWare host has lack of free RAM, it will respond by using the balloon driver to cause all VM guests to page their RAM out to disk. This allows you to overcommit RAM, but also potentially causes significant slowdowns of the affected VM guests.

Enlarging the page file only facilitates this process.

If you have performance issues on virtual systems caused by this, it is better to add physical RAM to the host, allocate enough memory to each VM and keep the paging size as small as possible.
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Expert Comment

by:remixedcat
ID: 35207861
10GB paging file! woah!

Turn it off then!
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Author Comment

by:tahlequahitguys
ID: 35208009
Ok.

Does that mean the VMs that are automatically allocating more paging file size need more of the host RAM allocated to them?

For instance,  some of my less used VMs, when setting the page to system managed there is no change in paging file size.  But some of the other ones (My Datacenter and Exchange Server, both have 8 GB),  immediately jump to 10 GB paging size file.  Or is this due to the size of RAM that Windows is detecting?

I still have RAM i can allocate to these machines, but i thought 8 GB would be plenty.

Thanks,
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Expert Comment

by:remixedcat
ID: 35208055
question... what applications are being used on those VMs? if you would please, list them for us to determine the memory guideliness you should follow for those applications.
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by:tahlequahitguys
ID: 35208336
I have a total of 14 servers running on a ESX Server with 2 hosts (2 quad core e5540 @ 2.53 Ghz, 36 GB RAM)... total 16 CPUS and 72 GB Ram together.

I have probably 4 core servers that run most of our stuff.  

1 Server is document and file share server for 500 users, PDC, and DNS (8 GB allocated)
2 Servier is Exchange server for 500 users (6 GB Allocated)
3 DB Server (MS SQL 2008 for our Student Information System) (10 GB Allocated)
4 Web server for our Student Information System (6 GB Allocated)
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remixedcat earned 250 total points
ID: 35208476
I don't think you'll need much of a paging file then.

I would only use it if those were used as remote desktops running desktop apps. other then that no PF is best
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Assisted Solution

by:robocat
robocat earned 250 total points
ID: 35213993

I agree, keep your paging files as small as possible, the allocated RAM should be sufficient for your VMs.

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Author Closing Comment

by:tahlequahitguys
ID: 35214632
Sounds good.  I will keep them all at 2 GB and see what happens.
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