Vmware Server 2 high cpu waiting time problem

The following observations are made on VmWare Server 2.0.2, with Debain 6.0 Host and Windows 2008R2 Guests, all systems being x64. The host has a Core2Quad CPU and 8GB of RAM.

A previously healthy environment turned very slow after setting up another Windows guest on the same host. The Windows guest system “felt slow” in the way that the GUI froze for seconds, and that loading times were very slow. The Linux host appeared healthy (immediate command line response, no swap usage, plenty of disk available). The top command revealed very high “waiting time”. I first interpreted this as an I/O problem… but it was not.

The three Windows guests all had 2 virtual cpus, making a total of 6 virtual CPUs running on four physical cores (I do believe it is four cores, not two cores with four threads, not 100% there). Assigning just one virtual CPU to each virtual guest essentially solved to problems.

Conclusion: Avoid virtual SMP in Vmware Server 2, unless you have “enough” physical cores.

Perhaps I will try a one-dual-cpu plus three-single-cpu configuration some day to see how that works.

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