Top 10 Ways To Increase ESX Server Performance For Free – iTenol Consulting
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Increase ESX Server Performance

Ways To Increase ESX Server Performance is often an afterthought for most systems administrators, especially if VMWare is not your thing. As the number of virtual machines inside of your ESX server grows, you soon discover yourself trying to tweak x, y, and z to gain more performance. Often most system administrators resort to increasing more RAM or adding additional CPU’s or tweaking the guest virtual machine in some shape or form. And whilst this is not incorrect, there are a number of other tweaks often completely ignored

As with any physical system, A virtual machine also needs to be monitored, tweaked, and tuned. VMWare performance tuning is just part of life for most VMWare experts and consultants. But before you call your server virtualization consultant, IT consultant, System administrator or managed IT support services provider and spend a ton of time and money on unnecessary hardware and/or software, try the following top 10 ways to increase the performance of your guest virtual machines.

This also assumes that you have installed your ESX hypervisor on compatible hardware and followed the VMware performance guide to choosing the best hardware for your environment and setup. Another key factor during the initial setup of your ESX server is the VMware block size

Top 10 Ways – VMWare Performance Tuning

  1. Defrag Your VM’s:  Use your favorite Disk Defrag software inside your Virtual machine for optimizing disk access. Even though we’re talking about a VM. All VMs should be treated the same as a physical machine. Unless told otherwise by a software or hardware vendor. You can use windows defrag tool or any My favorite free defrag tool by Auslogic.
  2. Turn Off Windows Visual Effects: This is no different from a physical PC. While the visual effects look good. They do absolutely nothing for the performance of both your VM, VDI, and employee’s performance. Visual effects take up valuable system resources resulting in a lazy VM. Turn it off.
  3. Use VMWare Tools :
    1. Allows the use fo SVGA resolution (instead of standard VGA as is the case when you first install your VM)
    2. Allows your mouse to be synchronized between the host and guest.
    3. I love this one as it saves me a ton of time. VMTools enable you to cut and paste between host and guest.
    4. Overall using VM Tools will allow your VM to perform faster and give a better user experience. You can install VMWare tools by going to the Vmware Client or from vCenter if installed.
  4. Always run your guest VM’€™s in full-screen mode:  You did not know this one, right? Yes, your guest VMs will perform faster when executed in full screen. To switch to full-screen mode simply press the CTRL-ALT-ENTER and you will enter full-screen mode. And the same is true if you wish to exit full-screen mode, simply press the CTRL-ALT-ENTER again.
  5. Something even seasoned VMWare consultants and experts overlook, I’ve done it myself. It’s important to remove unnecessary devices you don’t use. Not only will this improve guest VM performance. But also helps with boot time and troubleshooting as there are fewer pieces to review.For example, after you’ve installed and configured your VM, you’€™ll not need a CD-Rom drive. To remove such hardware just stop your VM and go to VM-Settings and on the Hardware TAB remove the CD drive and any other unnecessary hardware.You can do the same for the floppy, LPT, COM, USB ports, and Sound Card. When done, click OK to save changes
  6. Make sure that you use multiple Virtual Disks running on multiple physical disks: If you running, for example, MS Exchange or SQL Server in your virtual environment, you know that those are big server applications and the same way they are using their log files, databases in a physical environment, they need the same in virtual.So Basically, what you need to do is split your server disks into three disks and those 3 virtual disks should be placed on 3 physical disks at a minimum.You could also have a single Virtual Disk placed on 5 or more physical disks in a Raid 5 configuration to gain performance and reliability. The Stripe will spread the data across multiple physical disks providing both speed and reliability.
  7. CPU upgrade: Yes I know it is all about the money. But you’€™ll gain power for all those multiple virtual systems running inside of your ESX Server. Any server virtualization consultant worth his salt will know, and tell you the Faster the CPU you have – the faster your VMs will run and perform.
  8. Add more RA : Ram is cheap these days. With the US dollar struggling, the RAM prices in Europe are cheap. Go for It. The biggest increase in performance is by adding more RAM to your VMs. More RAM for Your virtual operating systems will prevent swapping. Your Vm’s will run much faster if you allocate more RAM for them. If you do not have funds to buy more ram, just try to reallocate more RAM to your VMs which are swapping the most. You could take some RAM from another VM which does not need so much. Welcome to virtual computing. No more hassle with physically moving RAM from one box to another. In addition to this, you can set up resource pools to allocate resources more efficiently.
  9. Upgrade from ESX4.x to ESX5.x : There have been many improvements done by VMware in ESX5.x
  10. Disable Screen Saver in your VMs: You save some CPU cycles by disabling screen saver in all your VMs. Imagine you have 15-20 VM’s running on ESX. For each which initiates a screen saver, your resources will be depleted by a multiple of that number. That will save some extra power you will need for some application.

Get Expert Help From A Server Virtualization Consultant

If after attempting the above, you’re still experiencing sluggish or less than expected performance, you should consult with a VMware Expert or hire a Freelance VMware consultant to review your environment. Depending on the size, complexity, and scale of your environment, you may also want to call in a managed IT services provider who has the tools, technology, and the people to help you performance tune your VMware environment.

iTenol Consulting offers VMware Performance Tuning as part of our portfolio of services. Need to speak with an VMWare expert? Call us on 877.948.3665 or visit us online at

Tags: Increase ESX Server Performance, VMware Performance Tuning, Server Virtualization Consultant, VMWare, ESX, ESXi, Hypervisor, VMWare Consultant, Managed IT Support Services

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