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Limit Concurrent vMotions in vSphere 4.1

When designing your vSphere 4.1 infrastructure, it is important to know how to tweak it properly in order to yield the best performance possible based on your physical infrastructure. What I mean by that is: knowing the limitations of your network will determine how many concurrent vMotions you can successfully run without impacting performance (as an example).

Now there are many articles that describe how to limit the number of concurrent vMotions on earlier versions of ESX, but I could not find one that discussed how to limit it on vSphere 4.1. So I decided it would be useful to share what I know.

vMotion, and Storage vMotion operations for that matter, carry a per-resource cost of performing that operation on a per ESX host basis. For example, with vSphere 4.1 the cost of carrying a vMotion operation is 1, while in earlier versions of vSphere like 4.1, that cost was 4 (as is the case with ESX 3.5 as well).

Consequently, the maximum number of concurrent vMotions per ESX 4.1 host is 8, while the old maximum for 4.0 is 4, and for ESX 3.5 it's also 4. Now, it is important to know the maximum vMotions shared between Storage vMotions and vMotions. The cost of a Storage vMotion in vSphere 4.1 is 4. Therefore, you can have 4 concurrent vMotions and 1 Storage vMotion on a single ESX host.

To control these value, you can log in to your vCenter server, point to Administration | vCenter Server Settings. Table 1 lists the value, its cost and its maximum as it pertains to vSphere 4.1.

Table 1. vSphere 4.1 settings for limiting vMotions.
Default Cost
Cost to perform vMotion
Cost to perform Storage vMotion

Those settings assume a 10G Ethernet for vMotions. vSphere 4.1 adjusts this maximum based on the network interface it detects; for example, a 10G Ethernet be default allows 8 concurrent vMotions, while a 1GB Ethernet defaults to 4 concurrent vMotions. If a less-than-1 GB network is detected, it defaults down to 2 concurrent vMotions.

Another way to modify these values is to edit the vpxd.cfg file located on the vCenter server.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 04/05/2011 at 4:59 PM


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