MS SQL on VMware – How do you monitor?

Traditional SQL Server performance monitoring uses the Microsoft Windows performance monitor tool PerfMon to collect statistics. SQL Server integrates with PerfMon to provide familiar counters that indicate system performance. However, as with all measurement tools run in the guest operating system, time-based performance measurements are subject to error. The degree to which the measurements are inaccurate depends on the total load of the ESX host. Always use VirtualCenter, esxtop, or resxtop to measure resource utilization. Depending on the load placed on the ESX host, CPU and memory usage reported within the guest operating systemcan be different from what ESX reports.


Pay close attention to the following VMware Infrastructure 3 counters, referring to online documentation on performance monitoring and analysis for more information on these counters and how to interpret them.


esxtop Counter

VirtualCenter Counter


















deviceWriteLatency and deviceReadLatency kernelWriteLatency and kernelReadLatency






Table 3: VMware Infrastructure 3 Performance Counters of Interest to SQL Administrators

Table 3 lists a few key counters you should add to your list of inspection points. Of the CPU counters, the total used time indicates system load. Ready time indicates overloaded CPU resources. A significant swap rate in the memory counters is a clear indication of a shortage of memory, and high device latencies in the storage section point to an overloaded or misconfigured array. Network traffic is not frequently the cause of SQL Server performance problems except when large amounts of iSCSI storage traffic are using a single network line. Check total throughput on the NICs to see if the network is saturated on the ESX host.

Source: Microsoft SQL Server and VMware Virtual Infrastructure


About PiroNet

Didier Pironet is an independent blogger and freelancer with +15 years of IT industry experience. Didier is also a former VMware inc. employee where he specialised in Datacenter and Cloud Infrastructure products as well as Infrastructure, Operations and IT Business Management products. Didier is passionate about technologies and he is found to be a creative and a visionary thinker, expressing with passion and excitement, hopefully inspiring and enrolling people to innovation and change.
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