How to improve VMware View video performance – Part 2
During a performance optimizing session this week, with a customer, we found some interesting things to boost specific parts of the environment. While playing a high resolution video with clipping where the whole screen turns black and shows a new screen a split second later.
When we started, we saw the video bump and freeze from time to time. Also we experienced ghost lines on the middle of the screen, where the upper part of the screen moved first while the bottom part tried to keep up. We used the Fast & Furious 6 Official Trailer in an 1080p format for testing. The the business news running in an embedded Windows media player on Internet Explorer 9 didn’t perform well either.
The vDesktop is a Windows 7 Enterprise desktop with 2GB memory and 2 vCPU so it can play native 720p videos when necessary as Erik mentioned in his post. We are running the VMware View environment on an Imtech built Flexpod with NetApp storage, Cisco UCS computing power and Cisco Nexus switching for VMware vSphere and VMware View 5.
How to improve VMware View video performance
During the last weeks we’ve been busy implementing a large VMware View deployment for one customer and planning an even larger VMware View deployment for another customer. At the first site we ran into some video performance issues which we definitely want to avoid during the second project.
In our quest to solve and avoid the video performance issues we ran into a number of ways to improve the video performance in VMware View that I would like to share.
First of all, we used the information below from the VMware Architecture Planning Guide:
480p-formatted video You can play video at 480p or lower at native resolutions when the View desktop has a single virtual CPU. If the operating system is Windows 7 and you want to play the video in high-definition Flash or in full screen mode, the desktop requires a dual virtual CPU.
720p-formatted video You can play video at 720p at native resolutions if the View desktop has a dual virtual CPU. Performance might be affected if you play videos at 720p in high definition or in full screen mode.
1080p-formatted video If the View desktop has a dual virtual CPU, you can play 1080p formatted video, although the media player might need to be adjusted to a smaller window size.
3D If you plan to use 3D applications such as Windows Aero themes or Google Earth, the Windows 7 View desktop must have virtual hardware version 8 and turn on the pool setting called Windows 7 3D Rendering. Up to 2 monitors are supported, and the maximum screen resolution is 1920 x 1200. This non-hardware accelerated graphics feature enables you to run DirectX 9 and OpenGL 2.1 applications without requiring a physical graphics processing unit.
These are the settings we used to size the first solution, so we use a Windows 7 desktop image with dual vCPU, 2GB memory, a VMXNET3 adapter and hardware version 8.
This is good for playing 720p in native video resolution but when scaling to full screen this setup does not run smoothly.
Scaling up/out? Or genuine performance troubleshooting?
I was reading another article about cloud computing today. Almost all articles and posts seem to focus on how easy it is to add resources to your environment when you need more power.
Before you start to explain to me why this is true, yes, I do agree. It is very easy to add resources to an existing environment. When you use vSphere, Hyper-V or XenServer just add another host to your cluster or datacenter and you have more power that can be used by your machines. You can give virtual machines more CPU power and/or memory, etc. In the end your applications (that’s in the end what’s most important) have more chance for time to run on a shared environment.
My problem with this approach is simple: Aren’t we doing things the wrong way around?
VMware View performance issue
As you may have read we are busy implementing a VMware View environment and have encountered numerous chalenges already.
Most of them have been solved by hard and innovative work or the upgrade from VMware View 3.0.1 to 3.1. Especially the upgrade to VMware View 3.1 resulted in a very good user- and administrator experience.
Unfortunately we kept having performance problems using various desktops (Windows XP or Vista). Scrolling through the Helpdesk tool and browsing web pages with moving graphics like Flash was very shaky even to the extend that desktop sessions froze when to much graphical information had to be processed. This was very strange because at another customer site VMware View worked like a charm with identical sizing but different clients (Wise vs Desktop PC).
A colleague, Anthony Winters, spend a lot of time analyzing these problems. The first thing he found out that performance was poor on the desktop but great on his laptop. He quickly eliminated all variables (network, switches, cabling) until he knew for sure the client was the problem.
Citrix tuning when running on VMware
After making a P2V of a couple of physical Citrix servers at a client, Anne Jan and I did some tuning for the best performance. Since the servers were on old hardware they now are already faster, but we wanted to get the most out of it. We first removed hardware drivers like Anne Jan’s article mentioned earlier. (more…)
VMware ESX vs Microsoft Hyper-V
On Gabes Virtual World I read an article with the title ‘Unbelievable Hyper-V performance ‘. At first I was a bit shocked by the title. Hyper-V good performance? That the complete opposite to my own experience with Microsofts virtualization attempt. But luckily what Gabe ment was ‘Unbelievable BAD Hyper-V performance ‘.
You can read the complete article here.
A max score of 1,875 VMs per core where VMware ESX on the same hardware does 3,5 VMs per core. Maybe the test is not 100% accurate but with these scores maybe someone should step up and do a real hypervisor performance comparison (same hardware, load, etc).