VMware server not producing that great of results. Where to look for problems?

I have test going on an older machine, dual dual-core 3.6 GHZ Xeon  with 12 GB of RAM, 6 150GB RAID 5 15k drives, and gigabit NICs.  The VM is of a workstation with a bunch of files to be shared.  The host os is windows 2008 R2 running Server 2.01, the guest is Windows XP sp1.  While working in the host, the machine seems to stutter, for lack of better description. The display refreshes fine, but when you explore the drives, or go over the network to get to the shares, there is a "pause" that increases with the size of the folder.  Small folders will browse fairly quick, but when you open the 1.5 gb folder with zillions of little files in it, it takes 10-15 seconds.  The host OS has a copy of the same file structure, and it does not have the same problem.  I found if I share the Host OS copy and try to get to it from another device on the network, the issue isn't there, only in the guest OS's shares/drives.  

Anyone have a clue on where I can look to troubleshoot this?
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tsaicoAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
VMware Server 2.x is no longer supported and has been discontinued. Extended Support ended in June 2011. VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) or Hyper-V would be a much better choice to support a virtual machine.

You could just add the Hyper-V role in Windows 2008 R2, to use virtual machine, why use an unsupported, outdated, Type 2 Hypervisor.

Anyway, back to your issue. It could be the file system access speed of the virtual disk, on a RAID 5 datastore, which is not the fatest for read or write.
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kevinhsiehCommented:
You have Windows 2008 R2 as the host, so I am not sure how it got loaded with such outdated software such as VMware Server, especially since you can just turn on Hyper-V. In addition, you should upgrade the guest to XP SP3. SP1 has been obsolete for what, maybe 7 years or more? There are a lot of fixes between SP1 and SP3.
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BijuMenonCommented:
Seems to be network related whats the NIC Speed Settings and is it at the max may be 1Gbps or 10Gbps?
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IanThCommented:
have you got vware tools installed on the server ?
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Ayman BakrSenior ConsultantCommented:
As said by the other experts you need to think seriously of using more recent and supported servers.

Any ways for the time being you can try disabling TCp checksum on your NICs and disable the TaskOffloading in your VMs to reduce the stack load on the TCP.
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kevinhsiehCommented:
You have Windows 2008 R2 as the host, so I am not sure how it got loaded with such outdated software such as VMware Server, especially since you can just turn on Hyper-V. In addition, you should upgrade the guest to XP SP3. SP1 has been obsolete for what, maybe 7 years or more? There are a lot of fixes between SP1 and SP3.
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tsaicoAuthor Commented:
It is more of a test for different options.  While I like ESXi, I didn't want to blow out the installation to re-do it as a baremetal.  

As for xp sp1, it is a typo, it is sp3 already.

I was looking to start playing with VMware tools, pretty much to update my understanding of VMs.  I just installed server thinking it would be a quick way to get started.  My next step was to do the same in Hyper-V, but just haven't gotten to that part yet.

RAID5 isn't the fastest, and is where I thought the issue was, but within the same directory file (well a copy of it), the issues are not there, and the server is more responsive.  It is only when I try to access the files in the VM's shares or while in the VM itself.  The other factors seem fine, as it opens and closes apps as expected, etc.

I might just be out of luck and have to try it in ESXi.  I think I will leave the RAID5 and see if I see the same performance issue, then re-do it again after changing the containers to RAID10 and see if that corrects the issue too.  Perhaps I will do this after I try the VM in Hyper-V so I don't waste this install...
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
It would be easy to remove VMware Server, and then add HyperV role.
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tsaicoAuthor Commented:
Just an update:, uninstalled VMServer, installed Hyper-V role, The above drive access issue resolved.  I will be playing with Hyper-V for a while, then I will try running ESXi next to see if it comes back.  If it does, then I will start a new thread on trouble shooting that issue on it's own.
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IanThCommented:
raid 10 allows 2 drive failures whereas raid 5 only allows 1 so its always advisable to do raid 10 if posible and a raid 10 is qiucker imho than raid 5 as the calculations arent as involved.
A raid 10 is a nested raid with a raid 1 and inside that 2 raid 0's so the calculations is not as complex as raid 5
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tsaicoAuthor Commented:
Another update.
After the hyper-V test came back as behaving normal, I blew out the server to ESXi baremetal.  Same behavior as the VM server tests.  I am going to kill the containers to RAID10 as many people suggested to see if that extra calculations are what is killing the VM performance.

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