vmware esx server 3i 3.5.0 153875 Disk Performance Issues

Posted on 2011-05-02
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
vmware esx server 3i 3.5.0 153875 hardware status tab missing
I've inherited a client with a VMware Server
they are having disk performance issues on one of their VM and need some help with diagnosing and a resolution.

HP Proliant DL580G5
hard drive bank1
(5) x 500gb drives Slot's 1,2,3,4,5 (I'm assuming RAID 5)
hard drive bank2
(2) x 72gb drives Slot's 1,2 (I'm assuming RAID1)
(5) x 146Gb drives Slot's 3,4,5,6,7 (I'm assuming RAID5)
There was an HP 410i addon controller installed at the beginning of configuration a couple of years ago.

From the VMware Configuration Health Status
hard drive bank1
(5) x 500gb drives Slot's 1,2,3,4,5 (RAID 5) Using HP 410 controller addon card
hard drive bank2
(2) x 72gb drives (RAID 1) Slot 3 and 4 using HP 400 controller
(5) x 146Gb drives (RAID 5) Slot 1,2,5,6,7 HP 400 controller

From the above I see there is a descrepency with the 72Gb drive3. Physically they are in slot 1 and 2 in bay 2 but the vm hardware status shows them in slot 3 and 4.
Also my understanding is that the 410 controller was managing all the disks but could be wrong.

The problem vm server is windows server 2003 R2 SP2
Local Drive C 39Gb with 17gb free
Local Drive E 224Gb with 124gb free
Local Drive F 767Gb with 682gb free

The test was a copy of assorts files totalling 180mb in total to each of the drives through a network share from my laptop.
Drive C 35sec
Drive E 55sec
Drive F 135sec

Drive F is where some users are trying to open large PDF's and its taking a long time 10 to 15 seconds when it should be only a couple of seconds.

When I look at this VM's Hardware settings I see 5 virtual disks
Hard Disk1 100gb max 116gb
Hard Disk2 225gb max 241gb
Hard Disk3 256gb max 256gb
Hard Disk4 256bm max 256gb
Hard Disk5 256bm max 256gb

The server  is connected to a 1gb 24port switch as is my laptop.

Would appreciate any help offered here.

Question by:Terrymac_Computer_Guy
    LVL 116

    Accepted Solution

    Okay, well the first thing to ask, is does the server have a Battery Backup Write Cache module?

    and the only way to find out, is

    1. open up the server and visually check it.
    2. Run/Boot Smart Start cdrom, run the Smart Start Array Configuration Utilities (ACU), and check if you can configure cache, at 25% Read and 75% Write (recommended). If you cannot change these settings there is no cache module.

    Without the above module, read and write performance can be severley affected.

    3. Check all disks, none have failed, and running in reduce recovery mode.
    4. Check Network Utilization using Performance Charts.
    5. Check Disk utilization using Performance Charts.
    6. Check Disk Read and Write Latency using performance charts.
    7. Does this only happen to one VM?
    8. Is VMware Tools installed?
    9. What storage controller is the server using, is Buslogic change to LSI.
    10. How many VMs on the datastore?
    11. Does it make a difference if you transfer the problem disk from RAID 5 datastore to RAID 1.

    RAID 5 datastore performance is not particularly good at writes, RAID 1 or RAID 10 is better.

    Lots to go away and investigate.
    LVL 116

    Expert Comment

    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    Also check fragmentation of Disk F:

    Author Comment

    Thanks Hanccocka for the quick response and the amount of detail to investigate.

    1 and 2 I will have to schedule a system down.

    3. all disks look normal in the front of the server (all green led's)

    4. 5. All readings show low readings, some are close to half of max but not many,

    6. There is no disk read write latency line to read from. Is there a calculation to perform from other readings?

    7. There is only two VM's both have a Drive C: and the copy test is about the same at around 30secs. The problem one is the only one using a Drive E and F.

    8. Not sure how do I check this?

    9. Both VM's are using LSI
    10. Two VM's active in Production and one old one not used truned off. In Development 2Vm's but they are turned off not in use.

    11. Can you explain a little more about the datastore?

    LVL 116

    Expert Comment

    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    6. I think you may not have this metric in 3.5.

    8. VMware Tools should be installed in the Virtual Server, there should be an icon in the Smart Tray, otherwise look in Add/Remove programs.

    How is the ESX server setup, and how do the datastores that have been created relate to the RAID arays under neath.

    i.e. what VMs are on what datastores. This might be difficult to work out without documentation, and you'll need to compare RAID Array sizes with Datastore sizes.

    Also what virtual network card is in use, E1000 or VMXNET3? The later operforms better.

    Okay, so check the Drive E and Drive F:, are these separate virtual disks, and what datastore are they stored on?

    Check the VM Guest Properties

    Author Comment

    Will do.
    I've finished for today. I'll resume back once I've investigagted further. Will report my findings later.

    Author Closing Comment

    Thanks for the help. Lots of good info here to help diagnose. In the end it was partially caused by a windows partician striped over 3 virtual drives. And the fact that the hard drives them selves were not the fastest at 7.5k RPM

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