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VMware I/O performance – LSI SAS SCSI controller vs Paravirtual SCSI controller

VMware LSI SAS SCSI controller vs VMware Paravirtual SCSI controller I/O benchmarks

Basically the VM had 2 virtual disks assigned for the benchmark :

  1. Disk E is a thick virtual disk added from VMware. This vmdk resides on a SAS based datastore using the VMware LSI SAS SCSI Controller;
  2. Disk G is a thick virtual disk added from VMware. This vmdk resides on a SAS based datastore using the VMware Paravirtual SCSI Controller;

Results : ( results parsed at http://vmktree.org/iometer/ )

  •     I/O using the VMware  LSI SAS Controller
Test name Latency Avg iops Avg MBps cpu load
Max Throughput-100%Read 0.00 7183 224 26%
RealLife-60%Rand-65%Read 12.05 4208 32 10%
Max Throughput-50%Read 111.94 6833 213 26%
Random-8k-70%Read 9.38 3817 29 9%
  • I/O using the VMware Paravirtual SCSI controller
Test name Latency Avg iops Avg MBps cpu load
Max Throughput-100%Read 0.00 7245 226 24%
RealLife-60%Rand-65%Read 14.79 5156 40 14%
Max Throughput-50%Read 113.94 6947 217 24%
Random-8k-70%Read 12.48 5079 39 10%

Conclusion :

There’s a slight performance boost from the paravirtual controller and for some environments this can be quite a good thing..

However the “generic” emulated SCSI controller can also deliver a good performance !

Environment configuration details :

VMware Infrastructure configuration :

  • VMware ESXi 4.1 Update 1
  • Dell R515 with 2 sockets AMD Opteron 4180 (2.6GHz) with 64GB
  • Equallogic PS6000 with 15 600GB 15K rpm SAS disks with 1 volume assigned to the VM and one provisioned as a datastore within VMware
  • iscsi switches based on 2 Dell PowerConnect 6224 stacked
  • 2 networks configured within VMware to access the Equallogic . Each network has 2 Intel 82576 gigabit cards allocated.
  • Jumbo frames are enabled on Equallogic, switches, vswitches

Client configuration :

  • Windows 2008 R2 (64bits) Enterprise Edition
  • 2 vCPU
  • 2GB memory
  • 2 virtual network cards assigned for storage traffic , based on VMXNET3 , with Jumbo Frames enabled on the OS
  • Dell Equallogic Host Integration Tools installed and MPIO enabled
  • I/O benchmark done with IOMeter (1.1.0-rc1-win64.x86_64) using the OpenPerformanceTest.icf file .
  • For extra results check out  the VMware unofficial storage performance thread
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