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Verifying correct storage settings on ESX 4.x, ESXi 4.x and ESXi 5.x (1020100)

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  • The storage performance on ESX and ESXi 4.x is slower than on ESX and ESXi 3.x
  • After installing or configuring ESX or ESXi 4.x, storage performance is slower than expected
  • The LUNs/SAN disconnect
  • Alerts about storage are received on vCenter Server


This article provides steps to ensure that you are using recommended storage settings.


Due to the Pluggable Storage Architecture (PSA), ESX and ESXi 4.x have more configuration options than ESX and ESXi 3.x. For more information about PSA, see Managing Multiple Paths in the ESX or ESXi Configuration Guide. For ESXi 5.x, see Managing Storage Paths and Multipathing Plug-ins
If you use incorrect settings, performance may be slower than expected.
To ensure that you are using the correct settings:
  1. Determine your ESX or ESXi version and update level.
    1. To determine the version level:
      • From the service console (ESX only), run the command:

        # vmware -v

        You see output similar to:

        VMware ESX 4.0.0 build-208167

      • For ESXi 5.0, log in to the host using SSH and run the command:

        # vmware -v

        You see output similar to:

        VMware ESXi 5.0.0 build-474610

      • From vSphere Client, select the host from the inventory. The version and build number display at the top of the right panel (above the tabs). For example:

    2. To determine your ESX or ESXi update level:

      Note: Typically, if your build number is 213128 or higher, then you have Update 1 installed (unless you have only installed specific patches).

      • For ESX, run the following command from the service console:

        # esxupdate query

        You see output similar to:

        ----Bulletin ID---- -----Installed----- ------------Summary-------------
        ESX400-200912401-BG 2010-01-29T18:00:13 Updates vmx, vmkernel etc
        ESX400-200912402-SG 2010-01-29T18:00:13 Updates OpenSSL
        ESX400-200912403-SG 2010-01-29T18:00:13 Updates NSS and NSPR
        ESX400-200912404-SG 2010-01-29T18:00:13 Updates DHCP
        ESX400-Update01a 2010-04-01T08:26:30 VMware ESX 4.0 Complete Update 1

      • For ESXi 5.0, run the following command from an SSH console:

        # esxcli software vib list

        The output looks similar to:

        Name                  Version                      Vendor  Acceptance Level  Install Date
        --------------------  -------------------------------- ------  ----------------------- 
        ata-pata-amd          0.3.10-3vmw.500.0.3.474610   VMware  VMwareCertified   2011-05-23
        ata-pata-atiixp       0.4.6-3vmw.500.0.3.474610    VMware  VMwareCertified   2011-05-23
        ata-pata-cmd64x       0.2.5-3vmw.500.0.3.474610    VMware  VMwareCertified   2011-05-23
        ata-pata-hpt3x2n      0.3.4-3vmw.500.0.3.474610    VMware  VMwareCertified   2011-05-23

      • From the vSphere CLI, run the command:

        # vihostupdate --query

  2. Display your actual storage settings:

    1. In vSphere Client:

      1. Connect vSphere Client to vCenter or to the host.
      2. Select the host, click Configuration > Storage, right-click the datastore, and click Properties > Manage Paths.
      3. If the device is not a datastore, select the host, click Configuration > Storage Adapters, select the HBA, then right-click the device and click Manage Paths.

    2. In vSphere Web client:

      1. Browse to the host in the vSphere Web Client navigator.
      2. Click the Manage tab, and click Storage.
      3. Click Storage Devices.
      4. select the storage device whose paths you want to change and click the Properties tab
      5. Under Multipathing Properties, click Edit

  3. Locate your disk array in the Storage/SAN section of the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) and click on your ESX version.

  4. Compare the actual settings against the settings recommended by the HCL. Pay particular attention to the following settings:
    • Release Refer to the version and update level obtained in Step 1.
    • Mode (Storage Array Type) – The Mode cannot be changed from vSphere Client. If your configuration does not match the HCL, adjust the configuration on your disk array. ESX uses the Storage Array Type Plug-ins (SATPs) that better match the capabilities of the disk array. These capabilities can be modified by changing the disk array settings. For more information about SATPs, see VMware SATPs in the Configuration Guide. For ESXi 5.x, see VMware SATPs
    • Path Policy (Path Selection) The policy displayed in the HCL is the policy that the hardware vendor used to certify their Storage. The use of other policies not listed on the HCL may be possible, but special configuration may be necessary. Engage your storage vendor if you want to use policies not displayed on the HCL. For more information about VMware Path Selection Plug-ins (PSPs), see VMware PSPs in the Configuration Guide. For ESXi 5.x, see VMware PSPs
    • Firmware Check your disk array documentation to determine its firmware level. If your firmware level does not match level specified by the HCL, it may be missing critical updates. If this is the case, contact your hardware vendor.
    • Configuration – This is the fabric configuration for FC or SW/HW iSCSI initiators for iSCSI. This is the configuration tested by the hardware vendor.

  5. Follow best practices for disk array and ESX configuration.
    • Check the Multipathing Checklist in the Fibre Channel or iSCSI SAN Configuration Guide for your version of ESX or ESXi. For ESXi 5.x, see Fibre Channel SAN Configuration Checklist
    • Request storage configuration best practices from your hardware vendor. Many vendors have a document that explains the configuration settings for use in conjunction with ESX.

See Also

Update History

02/15/2012 - Added reference links for ESXi 5.0. 02/15/2012 - Added ESXi 5.0 commands and sample outputs.

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