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Make virtual machines faster?

Posted on 2015-01-12
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Last Modified: 2015-01-12
Hi all,

I'm running a sandbox VMware setup. the Host machine is an AMD based 6-core with 32GB of RAM. I've got 4-6 virtual machines going. I'm trying to tweak for max performance.

1. I'm assuming that ultimately, disk I/O is going to be the bottleneck. If I move half the VM's to a different physical hard drive, will it speed up performance dramatically? I can't afford SSD drives, but even with a conventional drive, it should matter, correct?

2. Are there any other tips that might dramatically enhance performance?

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:Go-Bruins
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 150 total points
ID: 40545088
Moving VM's in VMware Workstation to a different disk should speed things up. Also, once a machine is fully going, it will be less of a bottleneck.

I can run 3 machines on my ThinkPad X230 with one disk and once they are all started, performance is fine.
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LVL 117
ID: 40545092
1. Yes, disk I/O is the largest bottleneck for VMware Workstation. Moving the virtual disks to a faster disk, may help.

SDD will greatly improve performance.

2. When setting up VMware Workstation, use the option > Edit > Preferences > Memory > Fit All Virtual Machine Memory into Reserved Host RAM.
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Author Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 40545102
Thank you. How important is the speed of the host CPU? My AMD is running at something like 2.6GHz. Is that enough to power 6VM's running vanilla Windows 7 applications?
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LVL 117
ID: 40545105
Yes, plenty CPU is not often the bottleneck. memory and disk I/O!

(also depends what the host is doing, but I suspect idle most of the time, unless Bitcoin mining!)

If this is more than a "Lab" and something production, I would recommend a Type 1 Hypervisor!
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Author Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 40545125
What is a "Type 1 Hypervisor"? And which Type 1 Hypervisor do you prefer?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 350 total points
ID: 40545147
See my EE Article, and read What is VMware Workstation ?

few paragraphs in...

HOW TO: Set up a lab environment for vSAN using VMware Workstation

Type 1

VMware vSphere (ESXi) or VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi)
Microsoft Windows 2012 with Hyper-V
Microsoft Hyper-V
Windows 8.1 Pro with Hyper-V.
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Author Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 40545151
Got it. Do you prefer ESXi or Hyper-V? What would you recommend for someone like me?
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LVL 117
ID: 40545174
Both are very good Hypervisors.

My vote, is going to be ESXi for 2015!
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Author Closing Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 40545183
Thank you, one and all.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40545437
@Go-Bruins  - You are very welcome and I was happy to help.
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