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Poor ESXi performance of the R620 vs. R610

All,

  I currently run an R610 server (X5550 procs) and a newly acquired R620 unit (e5-2650) unit in an vSphere 5 cluster. ESXi running latest version and latest patches. Dell servers up-to-date with regards to firmware of all components. The R610 unit uses internal 15k SAS drives to host the ESXi hypervisor, while the R620 uses mirrored 2GB SD cards for the ESXi hypervisor.

 When I migrated some workloads over to the new cluster member (r620), I saw execution times for some of our processes increase dramatically. The processes ran on a MS SQL 2008 r2 server. When I migrated the VM back over to the original cluster member (r610), execution times dropped back to normal times.

I then proceeded to run a series of benchmarks against a test VM that was migrated back and forth between each cluster member and saw reproducible results that showed the r620 was SLOWER than the R610 in terms of CPU and Memory benchmarks (using Passmark v7.0). Cluster was using EVC mode Nahalem. I also ran tests by removing the EVC mode and was able to get similar results with the R610 being the faster performer.

I've verified all cores and hyperthreading is enabled. Glancing at the Best Practices guide for ESXi 5.0 yielded nothing different in my setup..

Has anyone seen or heard of these issues with the R620 unit, or the E5-2650 processors?

 

Thanks,

Elvis

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We had the same issue with our new R620 (E5-2650v2). The performance were way below our old R710 (X5550).

We could solve the performance issues and keep a good power saving ratio at off-peak by tuning the "System Profile Settings" in the BIOS:

Pierre

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Hello Elvis

Has anyone seen or heard of these issues with the R620 unit, or the E5-2650 processors?

No, I am not aware of any issues on the 620 that would relate to your configuration.

I would recommend that you post more specifications of the two systems, and detailed data on what exactly is performing slower. The CPU in the 610 is faster than the 620. If the application is not fully utilizing the 610 CPU then it is not unusual for it to outperform the 620 CPU. The 610 CPU is 6.66GHz faster than the 620's CPU, and there is not big enough of a technological difference between the two to make the new CPU's overcome that speed difference.

If you were to stress the CPU at 100% utilization then the 620 CPU would be able to perform many more processes than the 610, but when not being stressed the 610 should outperform the 620's CPU.

Thanks

Daniel Mysinger
Dell EMC, Enterprise Engineer

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Hi Daniel,

Thanks for the quick response. I'll get more specifics regarding what is performing slower, but in a nutshell, it's almost every CPU and Memory test that Passmark runs that is slower on the 620. The R610 is running dual X5550 processors with 64GB of 1055mhz memory.. ESX5i installed on RAID1 15k SAS drives. The R620 is running dual e5-2650 processors with 64GB of 1333mhz memory. ESX5i installed on the RAID SD cards.

                  Passmark ratings for the respective CPUs show the E5 eating the X5550 for breakfast (cpubenchmark.net/cpu_lookup.php).

                 Given the specifications of the E5 units vs the x5550, I just don't see how the E5 unit can be any slower than the X5550 model.. More cache, faster memory speed, higher QPI between processors...and the R610 still bests the E5??? something just doesn't seem to add up. At the minimum, I'd expect the memory access speeds to be on par with the X5550.

Thanks again,

E

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Hi,

I am considering to buy an R620. Did you find out what was causing the slow performance? your post made me wonder if it's worth it. you are right, it doesn't make much sense, looking at the specs, you'd expect the R620 to deliver better performance overall.

Thanks

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Dell and VMware were unable to find any issues with my configuration or hardware.. Hardware diagnostics came up clean, as did my ESXi configuration and event log.

My reps had another r620 built with the same specifications for me, except for the processor, which was bumped to the E5-2670 unit. The 2670 runs at 2.6ghz, while the X5550 in my R610 runs at 2.66ghz.. In terms of pure clock speed, it should be a better test, but I'm very curious if the 2670 is faster than the X5550... it'd seem crazy if it wasn't!

The server is arriving today and will run the exact same ESXi configuration as the current R620 that's running slow.. I plan on swapping the SD cards to ensure the configuration is identical.. I'll run the exact same tests to benchmark the system.

I'll post results here for all of us to see today.

Elvis

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I have a new T620 with two E5-2640 at 2.5GHz.  I am running vSphere 5.0.  the guest OS is Windows 2008 R2.  I also am seeing inexplicable poor performance on the guest OS.  While I do not have the luxury of a second ESXi box at this location to compare with I have run PerformanceTest 7 and gotten results indicating a rate of 77.7 which is rediculous.

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Hi,

  Are you running the Dell Optimized build of vSphere? I ended up getting the 2650s swapped with 2670s and performance improved, though I didn't see the blockbuster performance I was expecting.. In the end, it's maybe 10-20% faster in CPU and even in small memory allocation benchmarks against the X5550.. Large Memory benchmark is superior to the X5550.

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I am not running the Dell Optimized build.  With the help of Dell support I found that I needed to clear the NVRAM on my T620 server because the motherboard had recently be replaced.  This simple step changed my speed test results from 77.7 to 2660 inside by Windows 2008 R2 Guest VM which is much more in line with what I was expecting from my new T620.  Just for reference, I have an almost identical setup on my oder R610 server and it scores about 1600.  While this is hardly a controlled test, it would seem to imply that a substantial performance boost is to be expected when upgrading from a 610 to a 620 but keep in mind that my r610 was fairly old.

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Glad they got you squared away.

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We got the same problem here. We have a bunch of R610 servers running on X5660 and X5680 CPUS and our latest server is a R620 running on E5-2640 CPUS. All our servers are running the latest bios/firmwares with the latest ESXi 5.1 and they are part of a cluster. The R620 is so slow compared to our R610 that we cannot run any important virtual machines on the R620 because it's impacting our production environment.

We did a bunch of CPU benchmarks and the R620 always come up between 10 and 50% slower than older X5660 or X5680. We also did some apache response time tests and the R620 virtual machines are around 50% slower. This is crazy. The X5660 are running at 2.80GHz, the X5680 at 3.33GHz and the E5-2640 at 2.50GHz. Sound like this is making a big difference but it's weird that Dell would put slower CPU in their newest server model?

So did the upgrade to E5-2670 fixed your problems?

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