Do you know that you can improve the performance of a server running VMware vSphere 4.0+ by optimizing the hardware BIOS settings?
The default hardware BIOS configuration may not always be the best choice to rely on when it comes to the performance of your vSphere virtual environment. If you are not getting the expected performance from your server, then you should consider making a few changes in the BIOS interface to force the optimal performance out.
This tutorial is more of a best practices guide which will list down few BIOS setup considerations that can help vSphere extract the most out of your server’s hardware resources.
Hardware BIOS Settings Best Practices Guide For VMware vSphere / ESX Server:
- Always ensure that you are using the latest BIOS version available for your server hardware.
- It’s important that the BIOS is set to enable all populated sockets, and all cores in each socket.
- If your server processor supports ‘Turbo’ mode, then it’s best to enable this feature.
- As vSphere supports ‘hyper-threading’, you need to make sure that the same in enabled in BIOS set up.
- No hardware-assisted virtualization component should lie in idle mode. VT-x, AMD-V, EPT, RVI or any other similar features must be turned on in the BIOS settings.
- If performance considerations are of higher priority than saving power, then it’s better to disable C1E halt state in the BIOS.
- Disabling all unneeded devices, components, ports and features from the BIOS may improve the server performance. As an example, in all probability, you would never be using serial or USB ports in a vSphere or ESX environment. So keep them disabled.
- If you are using any CPU power management technology to save power when a host is dormant, then you can consider disabling this. Enhanced Intel SpeedStep and AMD PowerNow are two of the most popular power saver plans used on Intel and AMD servers respectively. By disabling power saving feature in the BIOS set up interface, you can improve the performance of your vSphere/ESX server.
When you update from an older version to the latest version of BIOS, your personalized settings get overridden by the defaults. So once you are done with the BIOS upgrade, make sure that you change all the desired parameters back to how they were before the upgrade.
As there are different server models available in today’s market, no list of best practices can ever be complete. We have listed down the best practices applicable to most of the popular servers manufactured by Intel and AMD. If you are using a different server model, then it would be a good idea to search for relevant details on your manufacturer’s website before making any changes to the BIOS configuration.