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Array not performing as it should

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
So, I've been messing around with ESXi 3.5 on my machine, however the raid array speed is....rather dissapointing.

Machine: HP Proliant DL350G4
4 GB RAM
XEON 3 GHZ (P4 gen, 64 bit support so no netburst arch I think).

RAID card: Smart Storage 641 with the latest firmware, connected to a 64-bit 100MHZ PCI-X slot. It has 64 MB cache.

Drives are identical 10K U320 Wide SCSI drives, 146 GB each.

All three RAID0 drives are on the same SCSI channel/controller according to the side panel diagram.



So far, I've tested the performance in a Windows Server 2003 virtual machine (vmware tools installed), with crystalmark, 100 MB filesize:

Read:50 MB/s
Write:16 MB/s

Surely I should be able to do better than that?

I'd like to test the native performance. but how? There's only a CD drive, so win7 is a no-go. XP doesn't want to install due to missing scsi drivers and I can't be arsed to slipstream another XP CD...

Things to try:

Ubuntu liveCD or installation - Gave me weird errors
Offering the array directly to the virtual machine - Not possible in ESXi 3.5
Edited by citruspers - 3/14/11 at 2:42pm
    
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post #2 of 13
If it supports booting from USB, you can easily make a Windows 7 installer USB.
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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
No dice, it wont boot from USB sadly. Thanks though.
    
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post #4 of 13
the bottleneck is actually your cpu i think. because the vm doesn't "see" the array all the controller works is done by the cpu, and sadly is a bit outdated. your best chance is to try running a physical OS
post #5 of 13
ps: if your machine supports iLo 2 technology you can mount a w7 iso within the virtual kvm and install from there
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
It does indeed support iLO, but it's a 7 GB download from HP's site so that will take a while...:S
    
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post #7 of 13
Doesn't sound too odd to me. All of the accessing of the RAID controller is passed through ESXi, and is not directly applied to the RAID controller, so performance will not be the greatest.

Your best bet would be to just test it off a native OS like XP. Not a big deal any how; what is the point of the benchmarking? It is not like the hard drives are degraded and running slower or anything, things are working as they should assuming you gave it the latest firmware from HP.

For XP you can just toss the SCSI drivers on a 3 1/2 floppy and when the XP disk is initializing you press "F6" to load the SCSI driver.
    
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post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
The only thing here somewhat resembling a floppy is a 400GB tape cartridge

I'm just not sure about the performance. It just seems really low, I'm wondering if the controller -> ESXi overhead actually makes it worse than using the drives seperately...

Well, I swapped out the CD drive for a DVD drive (How didn't I think of that sooner), and installed win7. It detected the RAID card out of the box, and yielded some pretty good results without any drivers:

Read: 210MB/s
Write: 100MB/s

Compare that to ESX performance:
60 MB read
18 MB write

Now testing further
Edited by citruspers - 3/15/11 at 12:20pm
    
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post #9 of 13
@citruspers

ESXi is based off of a minimal Linux install, right? Why not try running an Ubuntu 10.10 LiveCD and running DiskUtility. It has a "Benchmark" option for each drive listed, that does similar to what you'd do with HD Tune.

The array should show up as /dev/sda (assuming you don't have another block device in the system). Try running that and see what you get. That'll give you an idea of where Linux driver support is for that RAID card.

On that note, how old is ESXi 3.5?
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post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Correct! I've tried running Ubuntu 10.10 Live but it had some weird errors. For instance, some items would not load, and installing it made it encounter write errors. Some googling resolved that the Smart Array 641 doesn't work very well with Ubuntu.

It actually showed up as /dev/CCIS[0-5], which I assume is because of the kernel module in charge of running the array, instead of SDA which is for raw sata and scsi drives, right?

3.5 is from 2008 I believe, the later ESXi's aren't compatible with my builds (although I have ran ESXi 4.1 on that particular proliant, no difference).

I hate to have to say it, as I too am a linux enthusiast, but it seems that Windows server is just a better bet for this machine (it also has a nice tapedrive which is probably a pain to get to work under linux).

Thanks for the help though, +repped.
    
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