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2 x ESXi hosts on IBM System X3550 Hardware - CPU Spike on the hour every hour

Posted on 2015-02-17
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Last Modified: 2015-03-03
we have 2 ESXi hosts running 4 VMs each

the hardware in both hosts consists of:

45GB RAM
6 x 2.26 GHZ Processors

The storage is:

IBMv3700 connected by ISCSI

Every hour on the hour the 2 hosts experience a spike in CPU which causes all servers to also experience high CPU. This is, unsurprisingly, most noticeable on the RDS server.

I've checked for scheduled tasks and the like on the Windows VMs ( it doesn't affect the vCenter VA ) and cannot see a regular pattern. There is no backup, AV, tasks, etc running to this schedule.

The fact that it happens on both hosts is quite bizarre.

There is a 50/50 split in VMs across the hosts. Configured as follows:


HOST 1

Exchange
4 vCPU
12GB RAM

Print
1 vCPU
1GB RAM

WebServer
1 vCPU
2GB RAM

CRM
4 vCPU
7GB RAM


HOST 2

RDS
6 vCPU
18GB RAM

VC
2 vCPU
8GB RAM

SQL
2 vCPU
12GB RAM

DC
1 vCPU
4GB RAM

When viewing the performance tab within vSphere, we see an identical pattern on VMs as the hosts.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:utilize
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asavener earned 500 total points
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It sounds to me as if you have the causality wrong.  High CPU on the guests would cause high CPU usage on the hosts.

High CPU usage on the hosts would cause a spike in CPU_Ready on the guests.  (CPU_Ready measures when the guest is demanding CPU and the host cannot provide it.)

If all of your windows machines are spiking at the same time, then I'd look at what processes are common to all of them (such as antivirus).

If it's this regular, you should be able to just run performance monitor, sort by CPU, and wait for the spike to happen.  That should identify the process causing the CPU spike.
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by:utilize
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I've identified that the issue seems to be caused by TrustedInstaller.exe on the hour within each VM.

I've also identified an issue with Group Policies and PolicyDefinitions which I believe is related. I'll come back shortly
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by:utilize
utilize earned 0 total points
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Following on from this.

It did indeed end up being a third party monitoring tool (N-Able) that was checking for updates every hour. Checking for Windows Updates, that is.

Disabling these services, after checking the requirements, sorted out the issue.

Accepting your solution as an answer, you alluded to third parties.
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by:utilize
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Self resolved.
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