10 Replies Latest reply on Dec 8, 2019 5:53 PM by TimothyHuckabay

    VMWare Workstation Pro 14: NVMe support?

    SokoFromNZ Novice

      Hey guys,

       

      I'm playing with the thought to upgrade my v12 to 14 as I'm using it on a Laptop with two NVMe drives and the disk performance of the guest isnt great.

       

      In the release notes VMware Workstation 14 Pro Release Notes i found the paragraph:

      Virtual NVMe support Workstation 14 Pro introduces a new virtual NVMe storage controller for improved guest operating system performance on Host SSD drives and support for testing VMware vSAN.  NVMe devices require virtual hardware version 13 / ESXi 6.5 compatibility and later.

       

      I quite dont understand the "...NVMe devices require virtual hardware version 13 / ESXi 6.5 compatibility..." part.

      Is this just a driver requirement inside the guest? A driver on the host? Or even a requirement for my host-hardware (NVMe drive itself and my mainboard/chip)?

       

      Thanks for your input

      Soko

        • 1. Re: VMWare Workstation Pro 14: NVMe support?
          wila Guru
          vExpertCommunity WarriorsUser Moderators

          Hi Soko,

           

          Every virtual machine uses virtual hardware, it is basically the motherboard and chipset that the VM sees.

          As things progress over time, VMware has different versions of that virtual hardware.

           

          So when they say it requires "virtual hardware 13" they mean that if you have an old VM you will have to change the virtual hardware for that VM via a setting in Workstation in order to use that particular feature.

          So it is a setting in your VM configuration.

           

          BTW, please do yourself a favor and try before you buy as not all 64bits processors that work with WS12 work with WS14 (See also: What is VMX Unrestricted Guest? )

          You have 30 days to try the full version and can change it into a full version any time before or after that time.

           

          https://www.vmware.com/go/tryworkstation-win

           

           

          --

          Wil

          | Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Desktop Products
          | Vimalin : Automated backups for VMware Fusion and VMware Workstation Professional
          | More info at https://www.vimalin.com
          | Twitter @wilva
          | VMware Wiki at http://www.vi-toolkit.com
          • 2. Re: VMWare Workstation Pro 14: NVMe support?
            SokoFromNZ Novice

            Hi wila and thanks for the great answer!

             

            I'm kinda confused though about the new(?) CPU requirement for WS14. I'm running WS12 at the moment on my notebook with this CPU:

            Intel® Xeon® Processor E3-1535M v5 (8M Cache, 2.90 GHz) Product Specifications

            It does support all Intel VT-x but I couldn't find "VMX Unrestricted Guest"...

             

            So there is a new "Virtual Disk Type" called NVMe in addition to IDE & SCSI (see attachment).

            There seems no way though to convert an existing IDE HDD into a different disk type though

             

            Thanks

            Soko

            • 3. Re: VMWare Workstation Pro 14: NVMe support?
              wila Guru
              vExpertCommunity WarriorsUser Moderators

              Hi,

               

              Yes there is a new disk type called NVMe.

               

              Sorry I only ran tests with Fusion 10 and there I had no problem changing between the various disk types as Workstation and Fusion share the same base logic I would expect that to work the same on Workstation 14.

               

              In order to test the new file system from macOS High Sierra I had a need to create a virtual NVMe disk.

               

              In the vmx it looks like this:

              nvme0.present = "TRUE"

              nvme0:0.fileName = "macOS NVMe.vmdk"

              nvme0:0.present = "TRUE"

              nvme0.pciSlotNumber = "224"

              nvme0:0.redo = ""

               

              But don't add that by hand as it likely depends on more as just these lines in the vmx file.

               

              For not being able to change the disk type, note that the VM should be shut down, not suspended.

              Also note that you probably have to commit all snapshots before you're being able to change the disk type.

               

              --

              Wil

              | Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Desktop Products
              | Vimalin : Automated backups for VMware Fusion and VMware Workstation Professional
              | More info at https://www.vimalin.com
              | Twitter @wilva
              | VMware Wiki at http://www.vi-toolkit.com
              • 4. Re: VMWare Workstation Pro 14: NVMe support?
                SokoFromNZ Novice

                Okeydokey,

                 

                I just checked in WS12 and for an existing HDD (shutdown, no snapshots or anything fancy) I can only chang the IDE-channel, not the type.

                 

                I'll check with the try-version of WS14.

                 

                Soko

                • 5. Re: VMWare Workstation Pro 14: NVMe support?
                  wila Guru
                  User ModeratorsCommunity WarriorsvExpert

                  Hi,

                   

                  I concur that I do not see this option on Workstation 12.

                   

                  The reason I mentioned it is that I used it just the other day on Fusion.

                  Not even on the latest version, so seems that Fusion's GUI is slightly different in that respect.

                  Do you have a specific need to change the underlying disk type of an existing disk?

                   

                  I'm asking that as your guest OS might not like that kind of change at all.

                   

                  --
                  Wil

                  | Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Desktop Products
                  | Vimalin : Automated backups for VMware Fusion and VMware Workstation Professional
                  | More info at https://www.vimalin.com
                  | Twitter @wilva
                  | VMware Wiki at http://www.vi-toolkit.com
                  • 6. Re: VMWare Workstation Pro 14: NVMe support?
                    SokoFromNZ Novice

                    Morning (at least where I am )

                     

                    Its quite easy, I have a couple of existing Win7 VMs which do quite a lot of work on the hard drive. They are the reason I want to swap to WS14 and NVMe support.

                    If I can't change the hdd-type of this VMs I have to install a "new" nvme-hdd into the VM and move the windows installation inside the guest to the new one - which is quite a hassle.

                    I'm aware that the Win7 guests won't like the change of the type but I hope if I install the new vwm-tools-drivers first and change the type afterwards windows will find it and boot...

                    Its basically the same as moving from the old magnetic hdds to ssds - on real hardware.

                     

                    I hope I find time in the next couple of weeks to test this...

                    Soko

                    • 7. Re: VMWare Workstation Pro 14: NVMe support?
                      ksc Expert
                      VMware Employees

                      > I hope if I install the new vwm-tools-drivers first and change the type afterwards windows will find it and boot...

                      > Its basically the same as moving from the old magnetic hdds to ssds - on real hardware.

                       

                      No, NVMe is much more substantial than that ... it's a new storage controller, not just a new disk type. So the change is more akin to switching from IDE to SCSI.

                       

                      Moreover, the boot firmware (probably EFI in this case) interacts very differently - the firmware's bootstrap to figure out which 'disk' to boot off of uses a different path - so very likely it takes a new install (or maybe a recovery mode 'repair'?) of Windows.

                      • 8. Re: VMWare Workstation Pro 14: NVMe support?
                        SokoFromNZ Novice

                        Ohh OK.

                        Now I'm more curious than ever what it takes to bring my old VMs to a NVMe virtual drive...

                        I hope I'll find the time to test this soon.

                         

                        If someone else tries it before dont hesitate to share your experience here

                         

                        Soko

                        • 9. Re: VMWare Workstation Pro 14: NVMe support?
                          SokoFromNZ Novice

                          OK guys,

                           

                          I've just upgraded to v14 to run my tests.

                          I'm unable to get a new NVMe vmdk running in my guest-os (Win7) though.

                          See my new thread Workstation v14: NVMe driver for Windows 7 guest missing?

                           

                          thx

                          Soko

                          • 10. Re: VMWare Workstation Pro 14: NVMe support?
                            TimothyHuckabay Novice

                            I posted this important information in January 2019, and apparently some unhappy individual (presumably with VMWare) foolishly removed it, so here it is again.  It is just as relevant today under version 15.5.x, as it was when I posted it back in January 2019:

                             

                            As of version 15.0.2 of Workstation, this is still NOT fixed.  VMware's claim of "performance improvements for virtual NVMe storage" are just hot air.  I have extensively tested the latest versions of Workstation Pro 15 and Workstation Pro 14, and can definitively state that the SCSI drive option continues to be faster than the NVME drive option, and both are much slower than they should be within VMs.  (Even under the SCSI option, read/write performance is DRAMATICALLY worse in the VM than on the host for NVME drives.)  I tested using a Samsung 970 Evo 2TB NVME drive in all cases for this.  There is not even a recognizable marginal improvement in NVME performance between Workstation 14 and 15.  So, VMware has yet to actually address this problem.  Notably, Workstation 15 continues to recommend SCSI drives over all others for performance, so at least that much is yet true.  NOTE: Within a VM, NVME drives particularly suffer for multithreaded reads and writes, as may be seen in the AS SSD Benchmark tool's 4K-64Thrd (i.e., 64-threads) read and write tests.

                             

                            There are very few reasons to upgrade to 15 Pro from 14 Pro IMO.  Even 4K support is questionable: one can achieve workable 1080P across 1080P and 4K screens with Windows 10 (1809) for example.  (Just set the host's resolution to 1080P before launching Workstation 14 Pro, AND ensure that you have set the "high DPI settings" appropriately: using the Properties for the Workstation Pro shortcut, go to the Compatibility tab, then "Change high DPI settings," and select "Program DPI" with "I signed in to Windows" for the corresponding dropdown option.)  This said, the 4K support is nice if you do decide to fork out the bucks for 15 Pro.  If you are using 15 Pro, you may also want to enable (check) "Automatically adjust user interface size in the virtual machine" (under VM --> Settings --> Hardware --> Display).

                             

                            Now, regarding overall VM performance, including drive performance, here are your best options to date: use a SCSI disk (NOT NVME), select (enable) the "Disable memory page trimming" option under VM --> Settings --> Options --> Advanced, and select "Fit all virtual machine memory into reserved host RAM" under Edit --> Preferences --> Memory.  (For this last option, you will want to ensure you have plenty of physical host RAM that you can spare (i.e., dedicate exclusively) to the VM (should the VM need it).  Lastly, if you are using 15 Pro, you may want to set Graphics memory (under VM --> Settings --> Hardware --> Display) to 3GB.

                             

                            Finally, if you are working on a system that has hybrid graphics (e.g., a laptop with an nVidia video card besides in-built Intel display graphics), you may want to use the relevant "control panel" application to instruct your system to use the discrete graphics card for vmware.exe and vmware-vmx.exe.