> This message has a foot that has nearly touched down over the OT
> borderline.
> We received an HP Proliant DL360G5 collocation box yesterday that has
> two processors, and 8GB of memory.
> All the client wants to use this box for is a single instance of
> Windows
> web hosting. Knowing the sites the client wants to aggregate into IIS,
> I
> know that the box is far over-rated.
> Making a long story short, they have agreed to allow us to put their
> Windows server inside of a virtual-ized container, so we can use the
> unused horsepower for other vm's (test servers etc).
> My problem is performance. I'm only willing to make this box virtual if
> I can keep the abstraction performance loss to <25% (my ultimate goal
> would be 15%).
> The following is what I have, followed by my benchmark findings:
> # 7.2-RELEASE AMD64
> FreeBSD 7.2-RELEASE #0: Fri May  1 07:18:07 UTC 2009
>     r...@driscoll.cse.buffalo.edu:/usr/obj/usr/src/sys/GENERIC
> Timecounter "i8254" frequency 1193182 Hz quality 0
> CPU: Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU            5150  @ 2.66GHz (2666.78-MHz
> K8-class CPU)
>   Origin = "GenuineIntel"  Id = 0x6f6  Stepping = 6
> usable memory = 8575160320 (8177 MB)
> avail memory  = 8273620992 (7890 MB)
> FreeBSD/SMP: Multiprocessor System Detected: 4 CPUs
>  cpu0 (BSP): APIC ID:  0
>  cpu1 (AP): APIC ID:  1
>  cpu2 (AP): APIC ID:  6
>  cpu3 (AP): APIC ID:  7:
> Benchmarks:
> # time make -j4 buildworld (under vmware)
> 5503.038u 3049.500s 1:15:46.25 188.1%   5877+1961k 3298+586716io
> 2407pf+0w
> # time make -j4 buildworld (native)
> 4777.568u 992.422s 33:02.12 291.1%    6533+2099k 25722+586485io 3487pf+0w
> ...both builds were from the exact same sources, and both runs were
> running with the exact same environment. I was extremely careful to
> ensure that the environments were exactly the same.
> I'd appreciate any feedback on tweaks that I can make (either to
> VMWare,
> or FreeBSD itself) to make the virtualized environment much more
> efficient.
> Off-list is fine.
> Cheers,
> Steve

I haven't actually done any benchmarks to compare the performance, but I have 
been running production FreeBSD servers on VMware for a couple of years.  I 
currently have two 6.2 systems running CUPS, one on VMware Server, and the 
other on ESX 3.5.  I also have a 7.0 system and two 7.1 systems running Squid 
on ESX 3.5 as well.  The thing that I noticed as the biggest bottle neck for 
any guest within VMware is the Disk I/O (with the exception of video which 
isn't an issue for a server).  Compiling software does take longer, because of 
this, however if you tune your disks properly the performance under real 
application load doesn't seem to be an issue.  Using soft updates on the file 
system seems to help out a lot, but be aware of the consequences.
That being said, on the Systems I have running squid we average 9G of traffic a 
day on the busiest system with about 11% cache hit rate, These proxies sit 
close to idle after hours.  Looking at the information from systat -vmstat, the 
system is almost idle during the day under the full load as well, you just 
can't touch FreeBSD with only 2 DSL lines for web traffic.  Its faster than the 
old native system was, however there is an iSCSI SAN behind the ESX server for 
disk access, and we went from a Dell PowerEdge 850 to a Dell PowerEdge 2950.  
It does share that server with around 15 or more other servers (Mostly windows, 
some Linux) depending on the current load.  Which brings us to another point, 
It seems to do just fine when VMware VMotion moves it between servers.
Not sure if this information helps you out any, but my recommendation would be 
that if your application will be very disk intensive, avoid the Virtual 
machine.  In my case with the Squid, gaining the redundancy of the VMware 
coupled with VMotion was worth the potential hit in performance.  As we are 
soon implementing a second data center across town that will house additional 
VMware servers and thanks to a 10G fiber ring, will allow us to migrate servers 
while running between datacenters.  Also keep in mind that as of vSphere 4 (We 
will be upgrading to this once the new data center is complete, just waiting on 
the shipment of the racks at this point), VMware does officially support 
FreeBSD 7.1, so you might want to go with that instead of 7.2, as there may be 
a performance issue with 7.2, but it's also just as likely that it was a timing 
issue on releases that 7.1 is supported and 7.2 isn't.  As of ESXi 4.0 
(released 5-21-2009), I believe it has the same code base as vSphere 4, so the 
same guests should be supported.

     Dean Weimer
     Network Administrator
     Orscheln Management Co
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