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We have a large SharePoint 2010 farm running on VMWare ESX cluster. Based on the hardware underpinning this environment and the given load (which is light), we feel like the servers are responding slower than they should be. No errors or anything like that are happening; it just feels sluggish. This is common across several different application tiers (separate farms on separate hardware/clusters) so we want to investigate our VMWare configuration.

My questions:

  1. How do I approach tuning a VMWare environment for SharePoint?
  2. What sort of things should I investigate first?
  3. Are there any configuration recommendations for hosting SharePoint on VMWare (either on the VMWare side or SharePoint side) I should be aware of?

I know there is a lot of variation amongst hardware platforms. I am looking for anything specific you may have encountered that could help us improve our VMWare performance.

VMWare version: VMWARE ESX SERVER 4.0.0 Revision: 2.6.18-128.ESX

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Make sure you have the right hardware. Make sure your chip (whether Intel or AMD) can handle virtualization (you can go into BIOS and check that). 64-bit machine is better for performance although 32-bit with virtual support will work too. I dont see anything special you have to do.

here are some good links....

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SharePoint 2010 does not support 32-bit! – Lars Fastrup Sep 28 '11 at 16:24
I'm pretty sure our entire stack is 64-bit. I will double check that we're not doing something wacky like running 64-bit Windows on top of 32-bit ESX, if that is even possible. +1 for suggesting something to investigate. – Wade Henderson Sep 28 '11 at 17:18

Poor performance is usually the result of a combination of these factors:

  • Bad application design like custom Web parts taking too long to render.
  • Too many Web parts on slow pages.
  • Disk IO bottlenecks on the SQL server. For high performance environments you need fast disk arrays or a fast SAN for the TEMPDB and the SharePoint databases.
  • Insufficient memory for the virtual servers.
  • The search indexer eats most of the disk IO and network IO bandwidth.
  • Network IO bottlenecks.
  • Network routing problems.
  • Little or no use of caching techniques.

The fact that you are using VMware is less likely to be the source of your performance problems.

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It's the same code across multiple tiers. I think generally excludes #1 and #2 above. We have similar sluggishness in CA so we don't think it is pure code problem. How can I determine if disk or network IO is not being compounded by VMWare layer? – Wade Henderson Sep 28 '11 at 17:14
You should be measuring all your resources via VMware tools, as well as inside the VM's via perfmon including disk i/o (…) MS also has a tool called SQLIOSim for testing IO ( – Jesus Shelby Sep 28 '11 at 18:35
Win2K8 adjusts it's offset to 1024KB OOTB, but I would manually check your disk alignments. Covered in this MSDN article – Jesus Shelby Sep 28 '11 at 18:44

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