VMware vSphere storage performance tuning

Improve storage performance and your understanding of vSphere's nuts and bolts by getting under the hood

If you're like most people, you may think that spending time tuning your storage infrastructure is a luxury you can't afford. In fact, it teaches you a great deal about what makes your storage tick. That knowledge can be invaluable when you plan for additions to your storage infrastructure -- or get in a fight with a vendor over whether an application or your storage is to blame for poor performance.

Storage tuning is also one of the deeper topics you'll find in IT today. There are a vast number of variables that can affect performance, many of which will be specific to the applications you run and the type of equipment you have fielded to run them. Tuning storage is by no means a one-size-fits-all process.

Yet some basic concepts can help anyone. Here, I'll dig into some of the concepts for tuning the storage performance of VMware vSphere virtualization hosts.

Where to start

The first thing to do is to gain some general understanding of what your storage is being asked to do and how it can affect application performance. Though some applications rely on raw bulk data throughput, most live and die by the transactional performance they can wring out of your disk. Unfortunately, transactional performance -- generally characterized by the amount of small, random reads and writes that can be completed in a given period of time -- is also the hardest for your storage to keep up with.

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