Heavy disk access when running multiple VMs.

epichero22
epichero22 used Ask the Experts™
on
I am using VMWare Workstation 12 Pro and have noticed that my physical hard drive runs at 100% when viewed in the Task Manager's Performance tab.  It's a 7200 RPM WD Black and my PC is an AMD 8350 with 32 GB of RAM; my OS is Windows 10 Pro.

Is this normal?  I don't think it was this bad when I was trying out Hyper-V.
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Scott CSenior Engineer

Commented:
It depends...how many VMs are you running and what are they doing?

I've noticed that when I run VMWorkstation 12 and have more than 2 or 3 VMs, the disk starts to get busy.

Fortunately, in my case, I have them on a 1TB SSD so I don't really notice a performance hit.

My PC is an AMD 8150 with 32 GB of RAM, soon to be an 8350.

Author

Commented:
2, at most 3.  I am running a virtual lab of Windows 10 Enterprise and 2016 Server Datacenter Edition.  But it's nothing that's intensive.  Sometimes I have a Windows XP machine to stream videos or do basic browsing.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
Hard to say but I'm not surprised.  If you want disk performance SSD or better still get a NVMe based drive.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
I have a ThinkPad X230 (now spare) with your setup and a 500 GB-7200 rpm drive. I can run 3 machines but each one has to fully start before starting the next. If you start all 3 at once, you could wait for an hour for disk usage to subside.

I have now a ThinkPad X1 with 1 TB PCI-e NVM-e SSD drive. Machines start MUCH faster and I can get a second or third one up in minutes.

Hard drive host machines will  be slow. You have to plan startup and usage.
SSD drive machines are fast and can be more "spur of the moment"
There are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.
Commented:
IMO it's definitely about disk io. My Windows 10 is running on a 256gb ssd and my hyper-v guests on a 3ware raid card with 256gb battery backed cache, 4 750Gb wd red drives in a raid 10 config and never skip a beat on my Windows 10 machine with 8 vms running.

You're running a single 7200rpm drive. That is not wise.

My suggestion is to install a single ssd and migrate your hyper-v guests to the ssd.

I don't also recommend at least a raid 1 config.

Author

Commented:
My Windows 10 is running on a 256gb ssd and my hyper-v guests on a 3ware raid card with 256gb battery backed cache, 4 750Gb wd red drives in a raid 10 config and never skip a beat on my Windows 10 machine with 8 vms running.

Which 3ware card do you have?  I'm hoping to get a used one on the after market.
Top Expert 2015

Commented:
7200rpm yields 120 iops i.e max 4 machines on the disk.
nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.

Commented:
@epichero22
I am a little embarrassed LOL. The model I have is now about 6-8years old. I have been hanging onto it for dear life but working VERY well.

https://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816116042

This model has been discontinued but Windows 10 had the necessary drivers and I was able to find two new BBUs on eBay that I've kept as spares.  I am also using Acronis Backup Advanced to back, it is important you do if you are not doing it.  I know this RAID card won't last for ever but in case it fails, this Adaptec model may become its replacement CLICK HERE

@gheist
I don't believe in theoretical specs. I always drop that number by 30%-40% :)
Top Expert 2015

Commented:
Either way disk is a bottleneck for 'multiple machines'
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
So long as you start one and allow it to fully start (and so is idle until you do some work) you can get by fine. We used VMware Workstation on hard drives before SSD's existed.  At least I did.
Top Expert 2015

Commented:
Hybrid drive with like 16GB SSD will start your most used VMs in seconds.
Shaun VermaakTechnical Specialist
Awarded 2017
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Did you install the VMWare Tools on each VM, if not install it. It will make a difference.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
@epichero22 - Thank you and I was pleased to help you.

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