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Posts Tagged ‘VMFS’

The widespread myth about RDMs is that “Virtual Machines and applications that are running on them will have a boost in performance when using RDMs”. Now, let us see if that is the real reason why we should use an RDM:

As per VMware’s “Performance Charecterization of VMFS and RDM Using a SAN” the main conclusions were as below:

  • For random reads and writes, VMFS and RDM yield a similar number of I/O operations per second.
  • For sequential reads and writes, performance of VMFS is very close to that of RDM (except on sequential reads with an I/O block size of 4K). Both RDM and VMFS yield a very high throughput in excess of 300 megabytes per second depending on the I/O block size.
  • For random reads and writes, VMFS requires 5% more CPU cycles per I/O operation compared to RDM.
  • For sequential reads and writes, VMFS requires about 8% more CPU cycles per I/O operation compared to RDM.

Here are the most common reasons to use an RDM over VMFS:

  • Firstly, the above conclusions prove that there is a very slight or negligible increase in performance when using RDMs.
  • Use RDMs when there is a requirement of a huge VMFS Volume such as greater than 500 GB in size, so if you ever have to move the VM to another Cluster or LUN, it doesn’t take longer.
  • Use RDMs when implementing MSCS in VMware Infrastructure – virtual RDMs in the case of VM-VM Microsoft Cluster across two ESX Hosts and physical RDMs in the case of VM-Physical Server Microsoft Cluster.
  • Use RDMs when you would like to leverage native SAN tools mostly for SAN-based snapshots, performance monitoring or for other SAN management tasks.

Don’t forget:

  • If you are using a virtual RDM, you still need a 15-20% free space somewhere on a VMFS volume for VMware snapshots

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