VMWARE - ESX CLUSTER - EMC SAN - MS CLUSTER 2008 - how to improve performance

Good Afternoon,

I’m posting today this information because I would like to have some constructive opinions about my infrastructure.  My infrastructure is working ok but I suspect I could improve my performances without having to upgrade my hardware.

I’m not expecting from you to do a very deep analysis of my infrastructure (it would be too nice) but more a comparison based on your environment and to provide me some opinion about mine.

My first guess was to ask my hardware provider but due to the fact that I use different constructors, it is quite difficult to obtain from the vendors a perfect analysis of the performance I can or could expect. And lets be honest they do not want really to get involved...

I have a 5 node ESX Cluster running 72 VMS ( ESX Version 4.1.0, 260247)

ESX 1 : 64 Gb Ram - 12 CPU’s (5670) x 3 Ghz – Dell Poweredge R710

ESX 2 : 32 Gb Ram - – 8CPU’s (X5460) X 3.2 Ghz – Dell Poweredge 2950

ESX 3 : 64 Gb Ram – 8CPU’s (X5570) X 3.0 Ghz – Dell Poweredge R710

ESX 4 : 128 Gb Ram – 12 CPU’s (5670) x 3 Ghz – Dell Poweredge R710

ESX 5 : 128 Gb Ram -  12 CPU’s (5670) x 3 Ghz – Dell Poweredge R710

These 5 ESX are connected directly to my EMC SAN by dedicated Gigabit Cat 5 cables (2 cables for each ESX for redundancy)

Model of the SAN CX4-120 – Revision – Prom Rev  1.84.0

Number of Storage Processor : 2 – Total Memory : 2879 Mb (on each SP)

Read cache – Write Cache – Mirrored Write Cache : Enable

Read cache size : 100Mb – Write Cache Size : 500 Mb

Cache Page Size : 8KB – the average speed of my disks are 15K

On a logical aspect I use ISCSI to connect my 3 nodes Active-Active – 2008 R2 SP1 Fileserver Cluster to 3 LUNs of 500 gb each.

As I said it works ok but you may have faced this stage when you actually wonder if you could not do more with your hardware,

I understand that giving you a description as it is of my hardware and software does not probably provide you much data to analyse but I would be happy if some of you are interested to share some specific graphs or data related to the performance of my and your system.

Hope one or many of you will be interested by my post and I’ll be able to have some answers to my questions based on facts and not only assumptions,

If you have any questions please feel free to reply to this post

Thanks in advance for your help,


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1 Reply

Hi John,

maybe not needed anymore, but just in case.

EMC Solutions for Tiered Storage for Microsoft SQL Server 2008

Enabled by EMC Clariion CX4 Series iSCSI, Windows 2008 and VMware ESX Server (Reference Architecture)

Kind regards,


Hope this helps a bit.
Greetings from Germany. (CET)
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