vmconsole so slow – you will hear this from windows admins

The sad fact is that perception rules..

So when a windows admin consoles into a vm and the mouse moves at mach 0.00001 and is almost unusable they will bag out vmware and get an uneasy feeling about how the operating system is working underneath that gorgeous telly tubby splash screen of theirs.

And truth be told who could blame them, I would hate to admin a server like that where a simple 5 minute process can take your twenty +.

Sadly and I dont understand why but these have not been fixed up as part of the vmtools install.

So a couple of manual steps to take in order to get rid of the old dog slow console.

  1. Stop using your console to admin boxes it is unsecure (other people with console access can piggy back and see what you are doing) and it consumes resources on the esxhost.
  • definalty do not use the console tab in vcenter (the only way to end the console session is to close your viclient session) this is a pet hate of mine.
  • For brain surgeons, using the console client is like Neo jacking in to go to the toilet and then jacking out. But wait, if he is jacked in then he is virtual and does not need to go to the toilet… mmm confused now… lol
  • But would he just piss himself whilst in the chair, like a dream where you need to go to the toilet and mmm warm… oh man that gets crazy, what about sex — anyway I digress
  • Use the console to set an ip and remote desktop settings / permissions and then leave it alone.

2. Do this… after you have installed vmtools – yeah I should have zoomed in but hey the world turns fast and the boat has sailed.



vmtools – sick of argueing the benefits so lets splunk in.

Are you sick to death of asking your Windows Admins, Linux admins, and on occasion your security team to install vmtools.

I know I am.

So I thought once and for all I would benchmark the difference.

A couple of easy to read comparison charts before we start.


The scenario.

ESX 4.1 build 8000380

Two Windows 2008 R2 (X64) servers sitting on the same esxhost ESX 4.1connected through a dvswitch.

Each Windows server is setup as follows.

1 cpu

8 Gb ram

Local Storage SAS 6GB

Host specs

Host used

Benchmark tool used

The trusty old iometer

Each test was 5 minutes per payload allowing for peaks and troughs.

Network – all figures are in mbps (unless specified otherwise)

Test 1 – No VMTOOLS – network e1000 mtu 1500 


VMTOOLS – network e1000 mtu 1500


Test 2 – No VMTOOLS – network e1000 dvswitch 9000


VMTOOLS – network e1000 dvswitch 9000

e1000-comparision3 - dvswitch 9000

Test 3 – No VMTOOLS – network e1000 – nic + dvswitch 9000


VMTOOLS – network e1000 – nic + dvswitch 9000

e1000-comparision3 - dvswitch 9000 - nic

Tests coming soon.

Test 4 – No VMTOOLS – network e1000 – nic + dvswitch 9000


VMTOOLS – network vmxnet3 – nic + dvswitch 9000

e1000-comparision4 -vmxnet3 - nic dvswitch 9000

Test 5 – No VMTOOLS – network e1000 – dvswitch 9000 (nic 1500)


VMTOOLS – network vmxnet3 – dvswitch 9000 (nic 1500)

e1000-comparision4 -vmxnet3 - dvswitch 9000

DISK (Read performance only)

Test 1 – No VMTools – Disk IO


VMTools – Disk IOdisc - vmtools vs no vmtools

Test 2 – No VMTools – Disk IO


VMTools – Disk IO Paravirtual

disc - vmtools para vs no vmtools


Okay so I am a bit suprised by the results.

Most definalty vmxnet3 is the way to go if you have two servers that are chatty and can put them on the same host to utilise 10Gb through the vswitch or dvswitch. The graphs really sell that point.

But vmtools for disc performance, wow it almost seems like vmtools slows the thing down. However the boot up speed is quicker and general feel seems much quicker on windows 2008 R2 after switching to paravirtual scsi. The numbers do not lie though.

Keeping in mind……..

The big benefit of vmtools is that the ESX Host does not need to put an emulation layer between the guest and the device, so with vmtools installed we do save on resources on the ESX Host meaning we can run more on the host.

But if you like me use to get frustrated with admins about upgrading vmtools, we now know it really is not that important.


You have start up and shutdown scripts. – not power off but guest shutdown.

Run RVTOOLS to gather information about your virtual environments – IP settings and partition info for example.

Like your ESX environment to run at its peak efficiency..


About me (whackdiddy)

The Beginning

Way back, around 1982 I was introduced to computers through the faithful Commodore 64.

My brother and I woke up early on Christmas day to find it sitting under the tree.

I can still smell it to this day, we quickly unwrapped it and plugged it into the old TV. We managed to get it to the first prompt before mum and dad came out and told us to get to bed as it was only 3am. So we reluctantly went back to bed all the while dreaming about the fun we would have with the TAC-2 joysticks and the games.

Over the next couple of years my brother and I had pulled the commodore 64 apart to see what makes it tic. We had also worn out the TAC-2 joysticks after repairing them countless times by lifting the metal hinges. We even tried some coding, I think it was meant to be a soccer goalie game. From memory it took us over two weeks of solid effort to get all the code in just to find that a mistake had been made in the printing and the game did not actually work.

Lessons Learnt,

Computers are fun..

The Middle

I found myself working with the military, setting up satellite connections and fast deploy-able networks. For those that remember the 5-4-3-2-1 rule, in this environment we were self sufficient. We carried with us servers in the way of laptops, hubs, routers and good ole Cat5. We would crimp our own cables in the middle of the night under a plastic sheet due to no light restrictions (An order from command that you are to show now naked light, otherwise you will give away your position and the enemy will shoot you). It was tough, we would get setup and then good ole Tex would be sitting at our trailer boiling water for coffee’s all round. I would normally bum a smoke and then punch out some Zzzzs after a 18 – 20 hour straight day. Then we would get notice to move and we would repeat the process over and over.

Lessons learnt

Computers in the right scenarios can be very productive.

We managed to create a paperless office way back in 1997.

Computers in the wrong scenarios can be a huge distraction and expensive.

Due to a lack of training, some of our users simply could not use the equipment.

Although we did go through a major transition, at one stage you would put a laptop on the desk of a user and he would simply push it away. They would opt to use the trusted pencil and paper. However within about six months I thought I would be smart and created an unscheduled outage to see what would happen. These same users that initially pushed the laptop away became lost, they picked up a book or newspaper and simply stopped work. The pencil and paper was now old school even to those from the old school.

The Now

We have entered a new era, where virtualisation is king.

Who would have thought way back when that you could host a server within a server, and if you are really up for a challenge a server within a server within a server.

For giggles I created a Xen farm, installed a vSphere host and then a windows 2008 r2 on the vSphere host running vcenter to manage the host.

So we all became comfortable with the idea of virtualisation. It was impressive, like really impressive. We can now buy two physical servers (HA), IBM 3850 X5 for example, and potentially run 50+ servers on them. Now just think about that for a minute, you have just reduced your physical server count from 50 to 2.

50 x 4RU = 200RU = 5 Racks of 42RU each, not including the switches and cabling

2 x 4RU = 8RU = 1 Rack + room for storage + room for a switch + room for a UPS.

But lets not stop there, just think the savings.

Power savings, you are no longer running 50 servers your are running 2.

Just think of the cabling and the number of ports (Switches) that would need to be available to house 50 physical servers.

Just think about the UPS solution, you can now opt for a UPS to support 2 physical servers plus storage rather than 50 physical servers.

Assurance, you can now pay for support / maintenance on 2 servers rather than 50.

Future proofing, because your servers are virtual you do not need to be worried when updating your physical servers. You can simply configure the new physical server, then vMotion your virtual servers over and decommission the old server.