I have 4 Quad-Port NICs installed in a whitebox server that has all devices that are listed in VMware's HCL (2xIntel 1000MT, 2xIntel 1000PT, 1xLSI-320E and an Intel 5000PSL Motherboard). The issue that I am experiencing is in regards to the performance of the Intel Pro 1000PT Quad-ports.
Here is the scenario:
Tested using a Cisco 3560G-24PS with 3 VLANs 10, 50 and 100. I am using external-switch tagging so I have my switch configured to tag VLAN1 but all switchports that the pNICs are attached to have VLAN 1 pruned from the switch configuration. I am specifically adding a port for each VLAN with the VMware Network Configuration. This is not the issue but the scope of the configuration might help with identifying my problem.
I have several guest that I am purposely bouncing around to identify which NIC ports on the Intel Pro 1000PTs are experiencing performance issues. When the VM guests are using ports A & B on the Intel Pro 1000PTs they are running at =/<1ms response time, which is normal for LAN computers. Those same guests are then bounced to port C on the Intel Pro 1000PT. What I am observing is that the firts guest that moves its MAC address to the new NIC port is running at =/<1ms while all other guests fluctuate at =/<1ms and >128ms. Finally, I try to bounce the same VM guests to NIC port D on the Intel Pro 1000PTs and they are running slower than most WAN links averaging >600ms or more.
My conclusion is that there is definitely a performance issues with NIC ports C & D on the Intel Pro 1000PT quad-port while all 4 NIC ports on the Intel Pro 1000MT run at =/<1ms response times.
I have disabled the EISR (Enhanced Intel Speedstep Reduction) and the I/OAT functions with in the mainboard's BIOS and have fully patched the VMware ESX 3.01 all the way to 3/29/2007 which included the ESX-1006511 patch which contains the drivers for the Intel Pro 1000PTs. I disabled those the BIOS feature after everything was installed and patched which caused ESX to do a system reconfiguration followed by a reboot. Could this have caused poor performance on those NIC ports on the Intel Pro 1000PT quad-port NICs?
So far, I would have been better off buying dual-port cards instead of the quad-port cards. Has anyone else experienced this issue and if so has it been resolved? Also, I have read press conference from Intel that mentioned that VMware, Microsoft and Intel are striving to fully adopt the I/OAT technology, has there been any word when VMware plans to implement with ESX 3?