Geeking Out

Throughput Testing – Same Hypervisor and VM to VM

Just some weekend testing with two Windows 2012 R2 VM’s on the same Hypervisor and tests to see what throughput can be generated using the Microsoft NTttcp utility…

These are truly science experiments given there is no application that runs with a single IP stream between internal VM’s (such as App to DB) or to external users… By definition, every user connection would be a unique IP stream.

Overall, pretty straight forward to achieve multi gigabit performance out of the box and with more simultaneous streams, the aggregate bandwidth could easily exceed physical wire speed of the server.

The 64KB window is also a worst case scenario and certainly bigger window sizes can assist in improve throughput…

NTttcp 5.28 can be downloaded from Microsoft. The command line configuration I used on client and sever is:

NTttcp.exe -s -wu 5 -cd 5 -m 1,*,<server ip> -l 64k -t 60 -sb 1024k -rb 1024k (Client)

NTttcp.exe -r -wu 5 -cd 5 -m 1,*,<self ip> -l 64k -t 60 -sb 1024k -rb 1024k (Server)

Hypervisor is a 2.1 GHz 2 Socket 6 Core SuperMicro running ESXi 5.5 and each VM is 6 cores/8 GB RAM…

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 12.00.49 PM

The server has 10 GbE but tests below are internal to the hypervisor so no external network testing just yet…

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 12.10.33 PM

Here is an example of one of my initial tests using a Single Stream – 64K Window – Default Send and Receive Buffers – 1500 Byte MTU and 476 MB/s or 3.7 Gb/s. Not too bad out of the box…

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 5.03.35 PM

Same configuration but increasing buffer… So approaching “wire” speed but VM’s are on the same host so no wire to worry about:

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 5.13.31 PM

Having a little fun now and this configuration is 4 streams, OS RSS enabled and Jumbo Frames with a result of 2929 MB/s or 22 Gb/s. Certainly validates the need for Jumbo Frames and VM placement (Network DRS) to take advantage of kernel network IO capabilities.

Note the retransmissions at these speeds and I need to do some more work to see how retransmits can be reduced.

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 9.47.18 AM

What was interesting is the VM optimizations (interrupt coalescing etc) did not appear to have any noticeable impact but I believe this is because all of the above is in software (VM to VM) and as such, is not touching any interrupt driven physical hardware.

The following is a summary of the tests I performed and probably the most interesting aspect of testing is the impact of send and receive buffers – too large and performance falls off dramatically, and too small, larger results (range) between tests – CPU seems to be the limiting factor and I plan to do some more tests around this.

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 11.59.40 AM

Link to above excel results file.

In summary VM’s need the following to optimize network IO:

  • CPU – 4 Streams will use most of the VM CPU (but for the purposes of the test, passing an incredible amount of data)
  • Multiple Streams
  • OS Receive Side Scaling
  • Send and Receive Buffers
  • Jumbo Frames

I would welcome any feedback on these tests, and the next step is the same tests between separate hypervisors 😉

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