Slow HDD performance for multiple VMWare sessions on laptop

Microsoft Windows 7 home premium
July 20, 2015 at 05:29:13
Specs: Windows 7, Intel i7 / 4 GB
I just bought a new laptop for the sole purpose of doing labs at home to help advance my professional life. I bought a Lenovo Y70 laptop. When I run about 8-9 VMs, everything is fast except the hard drive. The VMs will slow down to a crawl and I check the resources and the hard drive is 100%.

So, as I lied awake sleepless last night, I got to thinking, maybe a USB 3.0 hard drive would be faster, and having a dedicated HD for the VMs might be faster than using my OS drive.

I just copied them over. Preliminary results, it seems to be about the same speed. Not faster or slower.

The specs of my laptop says my SSHD is 6 Gb/s. But I'm sure when I'm running VMs, they're running from the spindle hard drive and not SSD, so I'm sure that 6 Gb/s is slowed down by the slow hard drive.

When I copied my VMs from the laptop to the HD, it was averaging about 70 MB/s. But when checking resources, I think what was limiting it to 70 MB/s was the USB's internal hard drive, not the USB port.

I was wondering then maybe getting a USB 3.0 adapter for a desktop drive and hooking it to a SATA desktop HD. Maybe an SSD. But any ideas. I know any bottle neck in speed of drive, port speed, bus speed, etc, are all going to slow me down.


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#1
July 20, 2015 at 06:56:10
8-9 VMs with only 4GB of RAM? There's nothing wrong with your hard disk but it is thrashing due to excessive page swaps. You either need to be less ambitious with the number of VMs you run (2 at a time is the absolute maximum with that amount of RAM) or increase your RAM significantly; ideally you will have about 2-4GB for each VM that you want to run plus another 4GB for the host OS.

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#2
July 20, 2015 at 12:59:38
I have 16 GB of ram

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#3
July 20, 2015 at 13:00:01
Currently assigning 1 GB to each vm

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Related Solutions

#4
July 20, 2015 at 13:05:25
Your listed specs are incorrect.

16GB is still far too little RAM to run 8-9 VMs. My computer struggles with 2 and I have 8GB.


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#5
July 20, 2015 at 19:47:56
I don't understand why you buy a laptop to run 8-9 VM's. Laptops are not designed for that kind of work.
Assigning 8-9 VM's to the same hard-drive will and let them all run applications is a sure recipe for what you describe.

What VM software are you running? VMware player or MS-Virtual PC?
What OS is running per VM? Windows 7/8/10 runs with minimal 2 GB and better with 4GB. 1GB will keep the OS's busy with swapping.

Get a workstation with room for a number of hard-drives (or SSD). Assign a 1 or 2 VMs to 1 drive. Drives do not need to be large volumes. 320GB are under 30 $


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#6
July 20, 2015 at 19:58:37
I'm using VMWare Workstation. Each VM is running Windows 2008 R2. I was thinking maybe I could buy a few external USB 3.0 HDs and connect them via a USB 3.0 Hub. I'm wondering how well that would do because then the weak point would be the link between the hub and the PC when all hard drives are trying to pump all the data in through the one port. I guess I have 3 USB ports. But I'm trying to keep wiring down to a minimum for neatliness.

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#7
July 20, 2015 at 22:54:48
Slowing down your hard disks in that way will not solve anything. You will still get constant thrashing due to the insufficient RAM; it will just be working even less efficiently and so more slowly.

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#8
July 21, 2015 at 20:00:52
So, after observing things and resources, I came to the conclusion it had to be something setup in my OS. I started uninstalling things and eliminating things but it wasn't getting better. So, I decided to go to the extreme, back everything up and reload the OS. So far, I'm running 3 VMs and have 11% HD utilization and 5.3 out of 16 GB RAM used and 4% CPU. So, a significant increase from reloading the OS.

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#9
July 21, 2015 at 20:36:00
Ok, so I was just able to start up 7 Windows 2008 R2 x64 VMs and the hard drive is running between 5%-30% utilization. CPU is 6% and 7.2 GB RAM. So, whatever was not setup right before the format and reimage is now fixed and the laptop is doing what I bought it for.

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