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2003 Server, SP2 Enterprise Edition, High CPU utilization

Posted on 2011-10-24
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I'm working on a server that is experiencing High CPU utilization. 2003 Server, SP2 Enterprise Edition.  On a ESX 3.5 vsphere 4.1/Vcenter.  This server is hosting a FoxPro Database.  Two Hard Drives are one C: 20GB and E: 20GB.  4 Virtual CPUs are allocated to this VM.  8GB of Ram.  After doing some trouble shooting I noticed while checking the recommended settings for this problem the following:  Virtual Memory allocation is set to C: Initial MB size is 2092 and Mac MB size is 3092 and the E: drive is set to Initial 4092 and Max is 4092.  I also check how fragmented both Hard Drives are and they are very fragmented.  I noticed while checking the performance monitor that the Commit Charge on the Ram usage is on peaking at 2536856 (K) out of the limit 14751680 (K) see attached PNG; So really not much physical Ram is being used.  Any recommendations on how to go about clearing this up will be greatly appreciated.  I will provide more information as I go through the necessary steps to clean this up.  Thank you in advance.
CPU-Utilization.png
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Question by:vitengineering
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Expert Comment

by:Gary Coltharp
ID: 37020610
What processes are consuming the CPU time? You might install ProcExp to get a clearer picture.
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LVL 125
ID: 37020744
Reduce the number of vCPUs to 1. (and add processors of needed). Do you really need 4 CPUs?

vSMP because of the scheduling between CPUs can slow a virtual machine down.

Defragment the hard drives, and what is the undelying datastore for the virtual machine.
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Accepted Solution

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 37020784
Guest-based performance monitoring is an inaccurate and unhelpful means of evaluating performance in virtual deployments.  See Guest-based Performance Measurement for more inforamtion.  Monitoring and analysis of VMware ESX Server should be performed with esxtop and VirtualCenter.

esxtop is the tried-and-true means of collecting every performance stat  needed and making it available in a way that is conducive to analysis.  The best source of information on launching esxtop can be found in the Resource Management Guide (page 159).

1. Check and correct CPU utilization: CPU Performance Analysis and Monitoring
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Author Comment

by:vitengineering
ID: 37024952
hanccocka:  This 2003 Server has a FoxPro database on it.  Also I mentioned that their Virtual Memory/Paging isn't set correctly.  I will go through your links and info you sent me an evaluate it.  Right now I'm getting ready to clone this server and try a few things: like expanding the c: and see if I can get it down to one vCPU.  I will update this thread on how it goes.  Thanks for now.  I will keep you updated. And I thank gcoltharp: as well.
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Author Comment

by:vitengineering
ID: 37030673
I'm trying to reduce the numbers of vCPU and can't, see attached error.
I reduced the amount of RAM from 8GB to 6GB as it wasn't using that much ram as stated in the window screenshot earlier and I figured that it would be easier to match the Virtual Memory settings.  Is there a max for the Virtual Memory setting; I thought I read somewhere that 4GB is the max over the RAM?  
Also I was able to expand the C: as it only had about 2 GB of free space I know gave a test cloned machine of this troubled server 40GB on the C: drive and will allocate just the C: with the Virtual Memory/paging as it's probably much better than having it spread across two different hard drives as stated below, right??

Virtual Memory allocation is set to C: Initial MB size is 2092 and Mac MB size is 3092 and the E: drive is set to Initial 4092 and Max is 4092

vCPUchangeError.png
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LVL 125
ID: 37030726
Do you have specific resources specified for memory and cpu on this VM?

I would create a new hard disk, and move the paging files, off the other disks, to this new disk, of the correct size. Match virtual memory swap file to physical memory.
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Author Comment

by:vitengineering
ID: 37030759
Hi hanccocka:
Now that I expanded the C: to 40GB and now has 20GB of free space is it best to set the Virtual Memory the this drive?  Also is this > "I would create a new hard disk, and move the paging files, off the other disks, to this new disk, of the correct size. Match virtual memory swap file to physical memory. " going to allow me to change the vCPU to 1?
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LVL 125
ID: 37030786
vCPU setting is a VMware Virtual Machine properties issue.

The contents inside the virtual machine have no effect on the Virtual Machine settings outside of the VM.
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Author Comment

by:vitengineering
ID: 37030823
hanccocka:  I'm not sure if the above screenshot is clear.  When I try and change the vCPU from four to one i get this:
Could not power on VM: Cpu min outside valid range
Is there any way to get this down to one like you suggested?
Thanks.
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LVL 125
ID: 37030954
Check CPU reservations and Memory Reservations for the VM.

Select VM, Edit Settings, Click the Resources Tab, and Check CPU and Memory Reservations

Make sure that the CPU and Memory have Default values.
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Author Comment

by:vitengineering
ID: 37031025
Hi hanccocka:
In addition, I read that you really only get the benefit of 4 vCPUs if your ESX host has 8 cores?  Is this still correct?  I will check what you asked be above and let you know.
I also read an article that you have to boot from a 2003 server CD in repair mode to add or subtract vCPUs after you edit it at the VM level.  I could have misread this, let me know thanks.
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LVL 125
ID: 37031053
4 vCPUs is a lot to allocate to a VM, and it can slow the VM down. Normally a Windows 2003 Server installation is already using a multiprocessor HAL.
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Author Comment

by:vitengineering
ID: 37031307
Hi Hanccocka,
Attached are the resource settings.  Do I have to change this and then will I be able to reduce the amount of my vCPU?  See attached.
VM-ResourceSettings.png
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LVL 125
ID: 37031337
Move the CPU Reservation Slide to Zero

Tick the Unlimited Box.

Also do the same for Memory.

Your VM has been restricted to use a certain resources.
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Author Comment

by:vitengineering
ID: 37031448
Great hanccocka:, As I just did that and it worked.  Thanks.
I noticed that Hyperthreading was turned off/inactive.  I think the admin of this box changed it as they were trying to troubleshoot it a while back and Microsoft recommended that they turn this off.  Should this be turned back on?  Perhaps it was because of the four vCPU setup at the time??  
Also, so now that I have it down to 1 vCPU and 6GB of RAM and enough space on the C: would it be okay just to change the Virtual Memory to your suggested setting?
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LVL 125
ID: 37031587
Hyperthreading should be set to Any.

Yes, change Virtual Memory, to what I suggested earlier.
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Author Comment

by:vitengineering
ID: 37031640
> Hyperthreading should be set to Any.  It is, however it says inactive?

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Author Comment

by:vitengineering
ID: 37031764
hanccocka:  About the Virtual Memory settings:
Attached is a snapshot of the production machine of the one I cloned to test changing the HD size and vCPU settings on.  The settings that I was familiar with was to do 1.5 x the physical RAM (which was back in the day when RAM was a lot more money and less used then.  Also I heard that matching the amount for initial and Max size is recommended on Clustered and I think database servers as fragmentation is avoided on the HD, should I apply it to this VM?

VirtualMemSetting.png
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LVL 125
ID: 37031850
That's a different question to discuss really.

But I would use equal amounts of memory, one page file on a single disk you should never be in a position, where it swaps, because you can add more memory to the VM!
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Author Comment

by:vitengineering
ID: 37033818
Hi hanccocka:  Okay will I will close this question out as successful and credit you.  I will soon aply these changes to the actual production machine.  I will most likely pose another question on the Virtual Memory settings so be on the lookout.
Thanks again for all of your help
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