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probably not much point in running a 64bit host if you are only going to run a 32bit app on top of it. vmware workstation 6 is available in 64bit version, but the server product is still 32bit
likewise unless you have 4GB+ of RAM on the host its not even worth considering 64bit
IMO, vmware server is a *SERVER* type of applcation where stability is as important (if not more) than raw performance and your document might want to get into some kernel level specifics about what revisions of kernel work natively, are tested by vmware and which are "unsupported" and must be patched to make work
i would suggest you probably want to add some configuration around controlling the clock features of the HOST os and the underlying hardware (e.g. cripple hardware coolnquiet or speedstep, and related os level services...cripple apic lapic etc in the host kernel)
linux users would probably benefit from installing the mui as well as other related tools for tracking performance (ala snmp, vmktree,etc) are very useful
you will probably want to take a peek at these documents if you havent already
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Actually, depending on which host O/S you're using, it does make sense to run a 64-bit O/S - especially if you have 4GB or more of memory. The Linux "bigsmp" kernels will allow you to use more than 4GB of memory on a host, but not quite as well as the true 64-bit kernels.
I agree that sticking to a supported kernel is a good idea - I don't recommend anything higher than 2.6.18 right now for VMware Server - the later ones seem to have a lot of trouble with compiling kernel modules, etc.
Greetings once again... What to thank you for some feedback and to close this topic out.
So far, the following seems to be good starting points as reference for folks wanting to use Linux as their Host OS:
- Ensure that you have decent hardware with supported devices.
. Linux OS
- Stick to Stable distributions. People have had success running
Fedora Core 5.0
For the most part, stick to Linux Kernels 2.6.18 or less, and the distributions above seem to have done that.
- Your Host OS should be stable, stable stable. Do not populate with custom
- Stick to your distributions rpms/debs/etc with regards to packages you'll need for vmware server
- 32bit/64bit? Your call....
. 64bit natively supports 4GB+ memory with no problems/hassles. Will need to install ia32libs in your host to be able to run native 32bit apps (i.e. vmware)
. 32bit will need to have a hugemem/bigmem kernel installed to address 4GB+ memory.
Linux Additional Tidbits
- You'll have to manipulate your BIOS/motherboard so that none of the fancy powerstep/frequency deceleration is enabled.
- (hardware dependent) Modify your grub/lilo entries so that your kernel boot parameters include
By disabling hpet, you will have linux return back proper RTC values.
- Modify your grub/lilo entries so that your kernel boot parameters include
There are other options for clocksource, pit seems to be the more secure/stable.
. Good reliable timekeeping vs performance
- By disabling hpet, you'll notice vmware-rtc ( and the counters to the timer in /proc/interrupts) being heavily used. This can be good thing, or bad thing. Your host basically has additional load in handling RTC.
- If you don't want this additional load on your host, then reenable hpet, and in your /etc/vmware/config file, put the entry
host.usefastclock = "FALSE"
- Enable the vmware-tools setting on your guests to sync up time with your host
- Enable NTP at your host, have it sync up with ntp.org servers and/or an in-house ntp server.
- Enable your guest NTP to sync up with the host
Windows guest: net time /setsntp:HOSTIP
Linux guests: update /etc/ntp.conf with HOSTIP
. Sysctl / VMM settings
- Use the following as starting points to get the most out of your host:
vm.min_free_kbytes = 16384
vm.overcommit_memory = 2
vm.overcommit_ratio = 75
vm.lower_zone_protection = 80
vm.swappiness = 60
Needless to say, review each of these as to how it will apply in your environment. These settings can help (or hurt) you with regards to OOM (out of memory conditions). Handle with care.
- Consider modifying the following settings as well:
net.ipv4.tcp_window_scaling = 0
- Consider updating your NICs behavior:
ethtool -K ethX tx off
ethtool -K ethX sg off
ethtool -K ethX tso off
- Consider syncing your filesystems via sync (crontab entry)
5,20,35,50 * * * * /bin/sync > /dev/null &
- Memory management
mainMem.useNamedFile = 'False' - ensure that your /tmp has enough space to hold your VMs assigned memory
- Vm vmx entries
sched.mem.max = xxx update/remove entry
mainmen.trimrate = '0' update/remove entry
- Start off with a 'clean' VMX file when moving/converting VMs around your environment. Converter is known to populate your vmx file with entries not needed by your VMs.
Anyhow, hope this helps some of you.