Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Minimizing the vCenter memory footprint - Windows

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With vSphere 5.1 the memory requirements of the vCenter server have dramatically increased. If all components reside on a single Windows server [VM], even the smallest inventory size will require 10 GB of memory, according to the VMware Installation and Setup guide. Although this document states a minimum of 4 GB memory for  the vCenter Appliance, it is in fact configured for 8 GB RAM after deployment. This will most likely exceed or significantly reduce the resources of small home labs or all-in-one setups with VMware Workstation.
Is this necessary? Nope. But due to the default JVM memory settings a simple reduction of the VMs’ RAM could lead to swapping and have a negative impact on the overall performance, obviously. The following adjustments to the application settings will allow to reduce the VM memory to 4-5 GB. This posting covers a Windows-based vCenter server, the following post will be related to the Appliance.

No need to mention that all of this is absolutely not supported by VMware, right?

The vCenter server is installed on a Windows 2008 R2 server VM with SQL Server 2008 R2 Express and no noteworthy additional software or roles. The SQL Server setting “Maximum server memory” has been configured for a low value – 256 MB should be fine.

After installation of the vCenter Server components edit the following files and change the settings:

Single Sign On:
- C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer\conf\wrapper.conf
- Set"-Xmx" (default: "1024M") to "256M"
- Set"-XX:MaxPermSize=" (default: "512M") to “128M” (or half of the Xmx value chosen before)

Inventory Service:
- C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\Inventory Service\conf\wrapper.conf
- Set (default: "3072") to "384" (MB)

- C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\tomcat\conf\wrapper.conf
- Set"-Xmx" (default: "1024M") to "512M" - "768M"
- Set"-XX:MaxPermSize" (default: "256M") to half of the Xmx value chosen before

Web Client:
- C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\vSphereWebClient\server\bin\service\conf\wrapper.conf
- Set (default: "1024m") to “256m”
- Set (default: "1024m") to “384m”

Log Browser:
- C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\vSphereWebClient\logbrowser\conf\wrapper.conf
- Set (default: "512") to "256" (MB)

Profile Driven Storage:
- C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\Profile-Driven Storage\conf\wrapper.conf
- Set (default: "256") to "128" (MB)
- Set (default: "1024") to “384” (MB)

- C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\Orchestrator\app-server\bin\wrapper.conf
- Set (default: "768m") to "256m"
- Set (default: "2048") to "384" (MB)
- Set (default: "2048") to "512" (MB)
The latter two values must be higher as the Xmn value chosen before.

This settings are the lowest value I have personally used without experiencing any problem in an environment of two ESXi hosts and about three dozen VMs with half of them up & running, the other powered off or  templates. To be perfectly honest I did not try to find out the absolutely lowest possible settings – the result of the first shot were satisfying enough, cutting the RAM requirements in half and thus roughly back to pre-5.1 times.

If you do run into problems, either regarding performance or even functionality, please post a comment and the parameter & value you changed to resolve it.

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