In a previous post I’ve described the process to increase the size of the local VMFS datastore of an ESXi4.0. I had to increase the local VMFS datastore for a good reason and I’ll tell you more about that, but first let’s move that ESXi4.0 VM on to a SD card I bought recently.
Why would you do that you may ask! Well I run a home lab on my lappy which has only 6GB of memory thus often, after ballooning and TPS have kicked in, ESXi4.0 host ended up by swapping memory to disk (and eventually double swapping which is even worse) and this used to be a performance killer whether my VMs were located on my local 5.2K RPM WDC 320GB disk or on my QNAP NAS over NFS/iSCSI.
Unfortunately I still can’t afford an Intel X25-M G2, thus I went for a 40Euro SanDisk Extreme® 30MB/s Edition SDHC™4GB card. Here below a couple of screenshots taken from HD Tune Pro showing the performance you can get out of this small SD card. This is quite impressive compared to the regular HD Disks cited above!
So you may have understood why I had to increase the local VMFS datastore of my ESXi4.0 VM and why I had to move it to a SD card. Now whenever my host needs to swap to disk, it will do it on a very fast local VMFS datastore.
Hey wait a minute, by default swapping occurs in the same directory as the VM and if you run a VMware cluster you can’t change that location! Indeed that’s correct, first of all, that ESXi4.0 host doesn’t run in a cluster, thus I could, in the Configuration tab of the host, change the swap location to my host’s local VMFS datastore.
This is an intermediate solution between HDD and SSD that allows me to, in limited memory and disk resources environment, to workaround the regular HDD I/O bottleneck and give a boost to my nested ESXi4.0 in my home lab.
By the way, if by any chance Intel is reading this post and they are willing to make a blogger über happy, send me a free sample of a X25-M G2, they are AWESOME!!! 😛