Virtualizing is really slowing things down.....

People today are virtualizing servers just for the sake of virtualizing. I started playing. I have an old Server laying around. E3-1230, 16GB memory, Adaptec 6405 controller with three new Seagate 7200rpm SAS drives in a RAID 5 configuration. It is dated but not a real slouch. So I installed Server 2019 Standard the installed it again as a VM and migrated my Server 2012 to it. First thing I noticed on my workstation was that things were running slower. Not to a dead stop but noticeably slower.

   So what the heck. I virtualized a Windows 10 Professional workstation. It doesn't do much but it is so slow doing everything it is painful. I would kill myself if I had to user it every day. Between the virtualized server and workstation I have to be doing something wrong. They just shouldn't be that slow what what I have heard. Both are Hyper-V. I have to be missing a basic setting. Any general help or guidelines on what I could be missing?
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LockDown32OwnerAsked:
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Carl WebsterCitrix Technology Professional - FellowCommented:
Three drive RAID5 is slow.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
People today are virtualizing servers just for the sake of virtualizing. I started playing. I have an old Server laying around. E3-1230, 16GB memory, Adaptec 6405 controller with three new Seagate 7200rpm SAS drives in a RAID 5 configuration. It is dated but not a real slouch. So I installed Server 2019 Standard the installed it again as a VM and migrated my Server 2012 to it. First thing I noticed on my workstation was that things were running slower. Not to a dead stop but noticeably slower.

Virtualisation can be a compromise. Slower compared to what ? Bare Metal ?

So what the heck. I virtualized a Windows 10 Professional workstation. It doesn't do much but it is so slow doing everything it is painful. I would kill myself if I had to user it every day. Between the virtualized server and workstation I have to be doing something wrong. They just shouldn't be that slow what what I have heard. Both are Hyper-V. I have to be missing a basic setting. Any general help or guidelines on what I could be missing?

Again slow compared to what ?

If you are comparing to bare metal, that is a spot on observation.

Have you read all these excellent articles by Philip

https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/13256/Some-Hyper-V-Hardware-and-Software-Best-Practices.html

https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/31442/Practical-Hyper-V-Performance-Expectations.html

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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
Quite simply... slow compared to non-virtualized. I posed a question a year ago about the need to virtualize. Told everyone that I had a customer that needed a new server and asked about virtualization. I explained quite clearly that they had no need for more then one server and questioned why I would want to virtualize.  The responses were overwhelming. "Virtualize because that is what you are supposed to do today". At the time I did read those articles and neither one said anything about losing that much speed.

   As far as RAID 5 goes... yes the striping does case it to write slower but neither of these VMs do much in the way of writing. Do you really thing that just the RAID 5 brought them to their knees?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Easier to backup, recover, DR, backup to cloud.... move to different hardware platform.

BUT, do you really need the speed ?
andyalderHaemorrhoids victimCommented:
RAID 5 performance shouldn't be that bad as the controller has write cache, admittedly only 512MB of it but that's better than nothing, assuming the module and supercapacitor are fitted of course. I would check if write cache is enabled on the logical disk.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
No VM will run as fast as hardware, but you really need to be smarter about hardware when you virtualize.  Especially about your disk subsystem.  

Lastly, keep in mind you installed a BRAND NEW OPERATING SYSTEM (Server 2019) on 8 year old hardware.  (Copyright date/release date).  It's raw specs may seem decent, but Microsoft doesn't support hardware indefinitely.  And Adaptec is hardly current - they've been sold and resold at least twice in that time.  

Your disk subsystem is one of the slowest parts of the system.  This is LIKELY where you're problems lie considering you have at least TWO computers running on a SINGLE MINIMUM RAID 5 with fairly slow spindle-based disks.  Most people would tell you SSD or 6-10 disks in a RAID 6 or RAID 10.

 You're complaining of speed - determine where you issues actual lie... especially when dealing with an 8 year old system and a new OS!  

There's little reason NOT to virtualize these days...
LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
Well Lee you pretty much took it around the horn with your answer and it is more or less backed up but the articles Andrew posted links to. Contrary to the replies posted last time I asked this question virtualization doesn't really benefit you until you have the need for three or more servers. That was the train of thought when virtualization first came out and it looks like it hasn't changed.

   For the record LSI has been sold as many times as Adaptec :)  By the time you put in 6-10 SAS 10K disk and 64GB memory you can get two or three smaller physical servers for about the same price. Your savings, if any, are in the OS but back when virtualization just came out you didn't save anything on that either.

   There isn't a whole lot of weight behind the CPU or MB being 6-8 years old. Intel hasn't done anything much in the way of CPUs in 6-8 years. I was a big proponent of not virtualizing for a single server because of the cost involved but as mentioned people are virtualizing today just for the sake of virtualizing. So there really is a reason NOT to virtualize. When you just need a small, solo DC.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
  For the record LSI has been sold as many times as Adaptec :)  By the time you put in 6-10 SAS 10K disk and 64GB memory you can get two or three smaller physical servers for about the same price. Your savings, if any, are in the OS but back when virtualization just came out you didn't save anything on that either.

Even a small server with appropriate redundancies will run you $2500-3000 with the warranty.  Possibly more.

You're completely ignoring incidental costs such as power.  I'm not sure where you live, but in my area, it costs $25-30 per month for the hardware to run.

Further, WHY would you overspec to start?  If you only plan on one server, why are you getting 64 GB to start?  Drop the RAM and watch the cost go down.  As for the storage, you buy what you need.  It depends on what you're buying the server for of course, but I don't personally know professionals who would still recommend a 3 Disk RAID 5 for anything.  Even a single, unvirtualized server.  And the size of the disks matter.

Dell T340, 32 GB RAM, Single 4C/8T 3.6 GHz Xeon CPU, 2 SSD drives of 960 GB (Setup to mirror) with a high-end RAID card, redundant power and 3 yr mission critical warranty will run you $4500 new.  $5400 with Windows.  Plus $350 annually for power.

It will also run a DC, an RDS server (or application server), and the host nicely

Vs. two servers with slightly lower disk and RAM specs:
DC: Dell T340, 8 GB RAM, Single 4C/4T 3.3 GHz Xeon CPU, 1 TB SATA drives (Setup to mirror) with a high-end RAID card, redundant power and 3 yr mission critical warranty will run you $3000 new.  $3900 with Windows.
RDS/App Server: Dell T340, 16 GB RAM, Single 6C/6T 3.5 GHz Xeon CPU, 600 GB 10K SAS drives (Setup to mirror) with a high-end RAID card, redundant power and 3 yr mission critical warranty will run you $3500 new.  $4400 with Windows.
Plus $700/yr in power between the two.

So which is cheaper?  a Single server with a little extra in RAM and SSDs at $5400, including Windows or two servers at $8300?  Seems pretty obvious to me... but maybe I'm missing something... aside from the $1750 in extra power over 5 years.

And I'm completely ignoring the fact that with a virtualized server, I can replicate and protect the business from disasters easier and at a minimal cost.  And migrate the VMs MUCH faster to new hardware when the time comes to upgrade.  And that I'm not throwing away a Windows license.

There isn't a whole lot of weight behind the CPU or MB being 6-8 years old. Intel hasn't done anything much in the way of CPUs in 6-8 years. I was a big proponent of not virtualizing for a single server because of the cost involved but as mentioned people are virtualizing today just for the sake of virtualizing. So there really is a reason NOT to virtualize. When you just need a small, solo DC.

Sorry, but this shows you're not following what Intel is actually doing.  They are adding more and more extensions and capabilities to CPUs to support virtualization. Server 2019 will use those capabilities if present increasing VM performance.  No, they aren't bolstering core GHz much... they are adding lots of cores... but they are also bolstering the technology to work better with the trends of the time.

Your old CPU is more than sufficient for a small business... but it's age and a lack of PROPER drivers can affect overall performance.  It sucks when Microsoft stops supporting hardware, but realistically, it's not always Microsoft's fault. The hardware vendors should be writing the drivers and they'd rather you get new hardware for new OSs.  

My point with Adaptec is that getting GOOD drivers can be difficult.  Compatible drivers may work but may not work in a way that exposes the full capacity of the hardware.  Running New on New is your best bet... or new on nearly new.  New on something you couldn't buy a warranty for even if you wanted is not the way to do things in my opinion.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Recovery and Backup and why do you need all this speed and performance for a DC!
LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
What I have to remember is that most people here are Enterprise and that throwing an extra $5K at a server is petty cash. I didn't over spec. The 6-10 drives, 64GB memory were pretty much entry level in to a server for VM. For a Small Business  with 10-15 workstations and all they do is Word and Excel it is over kill. That is what I am getting at. They still consider $5K a good chunk of change and why would you spend that when you will never get ROI? Virtualization has its place but it isn't for a Small Business that will never utilize it. That's all I am saying.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
We work with many organisations, small, medium, and large, corporate, finance, defence, telecommunications, schools, colleges, universities, local and central government and have done for 20+ years, all have very different budgets - and all use virtualization and see the benefits.

We also work with small IT shops, which also virtualize on small platforms, e.g. HPE ProLiant Microservers with very limited budgets.

and some of these have 1-3 employees, and have to share a PC.

But do you really need ALL that Bare Metal performance for your services and applications ?
LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
Well..... all I can say is that if they don't have the need then they have over spent. Not sure what else to say. Backup and disaster recovery isn't really and advantage. I use Acronis and with this little server I had laying around was able to bare metal restore to a different server in an hour. Even the backup software to to Virtual is more expensive.

   That being said why would anyone want to spend an extra $1000 on a server when they will never utilize it? Why, when all they will ever need is a single server, would you want to virtualize it?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
My smaller clients certainly have not over spent, they don't even have IT budgets, but they do require 24/7/365 ecommerce service to satisfy eBay and Amazon SLAs.

Their servers only cost them about £300 -£500 GBP. (on the HCL), as they are small with few users, they do not have DCs, but do use accounting systems, and ecommerce, stock control, systems, and ordering, and labelling applications.
LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
They have if they didn't have a need to virtualize or maybe I am missing something in the above posts. Doesn't virtualization require more memory? more and faster hard drives? Doesn't that cost more money?

   I am really trying to learn here. Why would people spend money they don't have to spend and that is a serious question. I am not trying to be a smart alec. Why would someone want to do that? What advantages are there to virtualizing one server?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
They wanted to run, their eCommerce software, Accounting software, Labelling Engine on a single server and not purchase three different servers.

There were issues running all the software on the same server, because of OS version requirements.

So they have three servers running on a HPE ProLiant Microserver, 16GB RAM, Xeon E3-1220Lv2, this is fitted with 2 x Western Digital Raptors, 10,000 rpm.

They've recently purchased another two HPE Microservers, which they use for backup of Workstations in the office and the 3 x Servers, and all this is replicated to a third HPE Microserver, which is then uploaded to the Cloud.

So in the event, there is an outage they can be backup and running within 30 minutes.

Because they are completing and dispatching orders all day. (and cannot afford any downtime), they are very pleased with what they have, for a small business, with small turnover, and know it's better than your average SME.

and yes it would all run faster if it was not all virtual, but it does not affect their end user usage.

(they wanted something small which fits on a book shelf!)
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Your specs can be different from mine.  You may value warranty less than I.  You may not value your time as much as I.  It's hard to say where the price break is.  The number of people who spec out a system with 16 cores to support their 12 user office is insane.  (or something like that).  

How are you handling disaster recovery?  Are you reminding the client how much it's going to cost to do a migration when they replace the server?  When I explain to a client they can setup a desktop at home with the free Hyper-V server and replicate over a VPN to their home at no cost beyond the initial setup, they like the idea.  You CAN'T do that with a physical install.  My clients want to stay in business if their office burns down or building is destroyed by a major weather event.  If you can't see the value in that or aren't utilizing that capability - at least in telling your clients about the option, you're doing them a disservice as far as I'm concerned.  But again, you CAN'T if your not virtualizing.  And I've had plenty of clients come to me some time later in and say I'm getting this software package that needs it's own server or that needs to run something that SHOULDN'T run on a DC.  Do I want to tell them great, we'll go buy another server, or do I want to tell them great, I'll buy a RAM upgrade and a couple of disks and add that server to your existing server?

If you don't value the capabilities Virtualization provides then you won't use them as selling points to your client who in turn won't value the benefits virtualization can provide.

If you haven't read the article, read my article on Virtualization vs. Physical installs. https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/27799/Virtual-or-Physical.html
LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
In answer to your questions Lee disaster recovery is handled by full nightly images taken off site.  With Acronis a P2V or V2P is an absolute piece of cake to restore so the "plus" to disaster recovery isn't really all that much of a "plus". You think that is a dis-service? Then... it is easy enough to do a P2V that "If" they need to they can virtualize easily, later, when the need arises. You are assuming everyone has the need to virtualize and that is a flawed assumption. So point out a benefit of virtualizing one server. I would be very interested to hear what that benefit is.

After all these comments the long and the short of it is that if you don't have the need you don't have the need. Virtualization does have its place but to virtualize just for the sake of virtualizing isn't worth it.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I have pointed out several benefits.  In this post and the article I reference.  Acronis is NOT free.  

I've helped people P2V.  Takes 4-12 hours depending on the size of the system.  At my hourly rate, that's expensive.  Usually equal to or greater than the "premium" for the hardware to support virtualization.  You seem to think the hardware extra cost is significant.  I don't view it as such.  And most of my clients don't either.

I have NOT said everyone has a NEED to virtualize.  I have said I believe the benefits are greater than the costs - Virtualization provides VALUE.  MOST people see the value.  If you don't I'm not sure we can help you.  We can only tell you the value we see.  In terms of disaster recovery.  In terms of expandability.  In terms of readiness when an business needs change.  In terms of upgradability. In terms of testing (which you should be doing but few people do for small businesses).
LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
Thanks all. Interesting discussion.
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
@Andrew Thanks for the article links. :)

The cost of one Server Standard license allows for the use of two guest operating systems with the host being set up to run the Hyper-V Role only.

That allows us to do this:
 + VM0: Domain Controller: ADDS, DNS, DHCP
 + VM1: File, Print, and LoB such as Intuit/Sage Db services, WSUS and WID

Keeping them separate is a good thing in our experience. The users can remain productive while work is being done on the DC for example plus the AD database is at less risk when other SQL based workloads would be installed.

That being said, one can set up a low system resources requirement server like so:
 + Intel Xeon E3-1270v6
 + 32GB or 64GB ECC
 + RAID Controller with 1GB flash-backed cache
 + 1TB Intel SSD DC S3520 or S4610 series SSDs in RAID 1 (EDIT: Should be S4510)
 ++ Carve up the RAID 1 for host OS @ 95GB and balance to virtual machines

Cost of the above can easily be kept under $2,500US using whitebox server systems with a warranty to boot.

A set of RAID 5 spindles as mentioned in the Q above would be ~250 IOPS per drive at best and ~150MiB/Second to 200MiB/Second total throughput. I don't know about you, but that would just plain suck for performance.

The kicker with RAID 5 is "Write-Back" mode. If no flash-backed cache or battery backup for the on-board cache then the RAID controller operates in "Write-Through" mode. That would kill the already dismal performance numbers by 50% at the very least for all parity induced writes as they have to be written to the disk on-the-fly. Write-Back mode allows the RAID controller to store all parity writes in the cache and flush them out synchronously allowing for a much better overall write performance.
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