Troubleshooting Storage Performance in vSphere – Storage Queues

Good blogposting on storage queues by VMware.

Storage Queues what are they and do I need to change them?

We have all had to wait in a line or two in our life, whether it is the dreaded TSA checkpoint line at the airport or the equally dreaded DMV registration line, waiting in line is just a fact of life. This is true in the storage world too; storage I/O’s have plenty of lines that they have to wait in. In this article, we examine the various queues in the virtualized storage stack and discuss the when, how, and why of modifying them.

Queues are necessary for several reasons but primary they are used to allow for sharing of a resource and to allow for concurrency. By using queues, vSphere is able to allow for multiple virtual machines to share a single resource. Queues also allow for applications to have multiple active (“in-flight”) I/O requests on a LUN at the same time, which provides concurrency and improves performance. But there is a tradeoff; if you allow too much concurrency the underlying resource might get saturated. To prevent one virtual machine or one host from saturating the underlying resource, the queues have set sizes/limits that restrict the amount of I/O requests that can be sent at one time.

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