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VMware ESX Server: Performance optimization

This section of our chapter excerpt on performance optimization from the book "VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center" explains which areas to concentrate on for performance optimization and reflects on other areas that are often overlooked.

Solution provider takeaway: In order to achieve performance optimization, it is important to focus on key target areas for improvements. This first section of our chapter excerpt, from VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center, provides an introduction to the three main recommended target areas and explains why they should be significant to your clients.

Download the .pdf of the chapter here.

VMware ESX is and has been one of the highest performing server virtualization platforms on the market for some time now. So what that means is VMware typically does a really good job of providing high performance out of the box; however, that doesn't mean that performance tuning and tweaks aren't necessary. In fact, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to get your hands dirty by doing a little bit of work to help further optimize the performance of your virtual infrastructure's environment.

You might be one of those users of VMware ESX that is happy with the performance of your virtualization platform or the performance of your individual or collective virtual machines. But what happens tomorrow if something in the environment changes and it negatively affects your performance? What happens if you need to achieve a 12:1 server consolidation ratio on an existing VMware ESX that today only hosts eight virtual machines? At that point, it may become extremely important to fine tune the environment in order to squeeze out every ounce of performance that your environment can offer.

While this chapter won't go into any great detail on any one single area of performance, it will cover a number of different options that apply to most implementations or discuss other practices that might cause performance problems.

In order to achieve performance optimization, we will focus on three main target areas where improvements can be made. The first target area covered is the VMware ESX host server machine. The configuration of the host server should be carefully examined at both the physical hardware layer and the virtualization platform layer. Decisions made here will ultimately affect the overall performance of every virtual machine contained on the host server. The second target area is the virtual machine layer. Configuration options are one such factor that can affect the performance of the virtual machines. And finally, the third target area that can be optimized is the configuration of the guest operating systems themselves that operates within each virtual machine. Tuning the guest operating system is often times overlooked simply because it operates within a virtual machine. If you normally optimize the operating system installed on a physical server, why wouldn't you try to perform similar tuning techniques to your virtual machines?


VMware ESX Server: Performance optimization
  Configuration of the host server
  Host server processor and memory performance
  Host server storage and network performance
  Configuration of the virtual machine
  Configuration of the guest operating system

About the book
VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center details best practices for ESX and ESXi, guides you through performance optimization processes for installation and operation, uses diagrams to illustrate the architecture and background of ESX and covers the two most popular releases, 3.0 and 3.5.


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