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Best practices for performing the storage performance tests within a virtualized environment (2019131)

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Purpose

This article provides best practices for performing a storage performance test within a virtualized environment while:
  • Eliminating the volume caching from within the guest operating system
  • Measuring the performance of different I/O sizes
  • Helping to identify where the storage performance issue is occurring

Resolution

Setup and configuration required to perform the performance tests :

  • VMFS volume setup

    • 1 Volume - 100 GB

    Virtual machine setup

    Note: When creating the virtual machine, the default vmx configuration is sufficient for the primary disk, virtual CPU, and memory. These values are listed here. The second disk must reside on the same 100 GB VMFS volume and must be in a RAW format inside the virtual machine.

    Windows 2003 32 Bit:
    • 1 vCPU
    • 256 MB Memory
    • 2 Virtual Disks

    SCSI0:0 - OS Disk - 8 GB NTFS
    SCSI1:0 - Data(Test) - 10GB RAW

    Note: Do not format the disk.

    Windows 7, Windows 8 32/64 Bit
    :

    • 1 vCPU
    • 2 GB Memory
    • 2 Virtual Disks

    SCSI0:0 - OS Disk - 32 GB NTFS
    SCSI1:0 - Data(Test) - 10 GB RAW

    Note: Do not format the disk.

    Windows Server 2008 / Windows Server 2008 R2 32 Bit
    :

    • 1 vCPU
    • 4 GB Memory
    • 2 Virtual Disks

    SCSI0:0 - OS Disk - 40 GB NTFS
    SCSI1:0 - Data(Test) - 10 GB RAW

    Note: Do not format the disk.

    Red Hat Enterprise:

    • 2.6 Kernel 32/64 Bit
    • 1 vCPU
    • 2 GB Memory
    • 2 Virtual Disks

    SCSI0:0 - OS Disk - 16 GB NTFS
    SCSI1:0 - Data(Test) - 10 GB RAW

    Note: Do not format the disk.

    Centos Server, Debian Server, Ubuntu Server (LTS)
    :

    • 1 vCPU
    • 1 GB Memory
    • 2 Virtual Disks

    SCSI0:0 - OS Disk - 16 GB NTFS
    SCSI1:0 - Data(Test) - 10 GB RAW

    Note: Do not format the disk.
    • RDP access to the virtual machine through the network

  • IOMeter load simulator

    To download IOMeter, click here.

  • Extract the file from the 2019131_VMware_Storage_Test.zip file attached to this article and copy the extracted file to the virtual machine. IOMeter uses this file to perform the tests.

    Note: The attached zip file is not compatible with newer releases of IOMeter (e.g with version 1.1.0). Use the version linked above (version 2006.07.27) for best results.

  • SSH/Putty with root access to the ESX/ESXi host
Note: To capture performance data, you must run esxtop in batch mode. This generates performance data for more than an hour and generates data in two files. This output may be large. Therefore, ensure to use a data store with sufficient free disk space.

Alternatives to IOMeter include:

Note: vRealize Operations (formerly known as vCenter Operations Management Suite) and VMware VMmark is supported by VMware, whereas I/O Analyzer is not supported by VMware.

Running the test :

  1. Launch the esxtop batch mode with this command:

    # esxtop –a –b -d 5 -n 700 > HOSTNAME.esxtop_perf.out

  2. Launch IOMeter from within the virtual machine and ensure that the configuration file loads and the test starts.
  3. After the test completes and the esxtop batch mode completes, generate a vm-support log bundle for the host.
  4. Gather the esxtop batch mode output files.
  5. Gather the IOMeter performance report from the virtual machine.
  6. Upload all files to the VMware SFTP/FTP server. For more information, see Uploading diagnostic information to VMware (1008525).
Note: For troubleshooting purposes, it may be necessary to enable performance statistics on the storage array. For more information, consult with your hardware vendor.

Additional Information

For more information, see Testing virtual machine storage I/O performance for VMware ESX and ESXi (1006821),

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