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Copying large thin-provisioned VMDKs from NAS to ESXi 5.5 DAS extremely slow

Posted on 2014-09-26
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Last Modified: 2014-10-02
Hi everyone.

I'm hoping you can help with an issue we are having.

We are using a ReadyNAS Pro 4 as off-line backup of VMs and to move VMs between 2 sites. Running RAIDiator 4.2.26 and ESXi 5.5. Using NFS. We copied a bunch of VMs to the NAS at site 1. Sent it to site 2. Using Datastore Browser in VMWare we can copy anything off the NAS to ESXi's direct attached storage and vice versa.

The problem we are currently having is that the NAS copies are slow when it comes to copying a thin provisioned VMDK from the NAS over NFS to DAS.

It's a thin provisioned VMDK which is 40GB. The files size has reached 40GB and it's not growing so it's not inflating the drive to a thick VMDK. The problem is the copy time is slowwwww at 2000+ hours.

Is this expected? Has anyone come across this before?
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Question by:unit9419
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 40346569
Some NFS based NASes can be slow, we are currently transferring off (archive-ing) VMs, 40GB to Synology NAS from NetApp NAS (NFS and iSCSI), it's been taking 8+ hours.

Now this is quicker than your stats, but are you

1. using Jumbo Frames ?

2., How many spindles (disks), and speed is your NAS using ?

3. How many ethernet connections are your NAS using ?

4. Datastore browser copy, copies to workstation and back again, so it's a slow method to copy, direct copy on the console will be quicker, or migrate.

5. More Expensive NASes, e.g. NetApp use VAAI plugins to speed up and offload NFS operations to the storage processor.
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by:paulsolov
ID: 40346732
If you're doing a copy instead of cloning or cold migrate it will actually copy every block because it copies no matter thin provisioned at the source or not (Datastore Browser)
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Author Comment

by:unit9419
ID: 40346744
thanks for the response, Paul!  I'm confused though.  When we do the same kind of operation between 2 DAS VMFS datastores it quickly copies the 42GB and is done with it.  And when we copied this VMDK *TO* the NAS via NFS it didn't take days to finish like this...
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Expert Comment

by:paulsolov
ID: 40346844
If you're doing a cold migration or storage vmotion via the client it will just copy used blocks (as  it allows you to pick thin or thick provisioned).  If you're copying VM folders with Datastore Browser it will migrate file level and not take into account for blocks actually used.
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Expert Comment

by:gheist
ID: 40347273
Netgear says to disable any VAAI on ESXi-s connected to ReadyNAS.
I would suggest you try transfer with Veeam SCP. It usually is faster than vmware itself at moving vmdks. Once you have result from it we get better idea where is the bottleneck.
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Author Closing Comment

by:unit9419
ID: 40357739
Turned out to be jumbo frames and allowing the NIC to auto negotiate higher speed. Much better now
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