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Avoid VM resource contention in hyper-converged platforms

With a high number of virtual machines competing for resources and consuming bandwidth, storage performance can suffer in hyper-converged environments.

The biggest performance barrier in any virtualized environment is resource contention. Today's hyper-converged infrastructures are preconfigured for optimal performance, so most of the performance tuning has been done before a customer even purchases a system. However, there are three steps a data storage administrator can take to ensure their hyper-converged infrastructure performs to the best of its ability.

Avoid overloading resources

There is a trade-off between virtual machine density and VM performance. As virtual machine density increases, performance tends to decrease because more VMs are competing for hardware resources. Placing an excessive number of high-demand VMs on a single virtualization host or storage device can have a similar effect. Administrators should use performance monitoring to ensure VMs do not encounter resource contention issues that overtax the physical hardware.

Take advantage of storage quality of service

Storage QoS technology can be used to reserve storage bandwidth or prevent excessive storage bandwidth consumption on a per-VM basis.

One pixel Howard Marks, chief scientist at
DeepStorage.net, discusses the use of
storage QoS to control VM IOPS use.

Storage QoS options vary from one vendor to the next, and third-party offerings also exist. In many cases, a storage administrator can use performance monitoring to determine the minimum number of storage IOPS a VM needs to perform at an acceptable level. Storage QoS can then be used to reserve those IOPS for the VM to avoid resource contention. Similarly, an administrator may use storage QoS to           cap storage bandwidth usage for           high-demand VMs so they don't consume an excessive amount of IOPS, thereby depleting hardware of the ability to give other virtual machines the IOPS they need.

Use an efficient configuration within each guest operating system

You should disable any system service that consumes resources without providing a significant benefit and return. For example, some administrators like to disable the Windows Indexing service in an effort to decrease resource contention and over-consumption for VMs.

Next Steps

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Hypervisors and resource contention: Balancing virtual and physical resources

VDI takes on resource contention, latency with hyper-convergence

Advantages of hyper-converged platform technology for enterprises

Dig Deeper on Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Management