This article was first published on

Issues related to performance rank high on the list of technical concerns related to virtualization. Organizations are often ready to jump toward the use of virtual machines, as long as they can be sure that their applications will continue to perform well. While it’s a fact that virtualization overhead is inevitable, it’s more important to understand how to address bottlenecks and increase performance.

In some ways, this sounds like the not-so-good old days, where systems administrators would go to great lengths to squeeze the maximum performance out of 64MB of RAM on a mid-range server. While hardware constraints are nowhere near as tight as they used to be, it’s still up to IT staff to get the highest performance out of their systems. Fortunately, there are many ways to reach this goal.

This series of articles will focus on strategies for optimizing the performance of virtual machines running on Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2. While most of the general tips apply to other virtualization platforms (such as VMware and Xen), I’ll focus on Microsoft’s platform when illustrating specifics. I’ll cover methods to optimize CPU, memory, disk, and network performance. The goal is to help you manage and optimize performance based on Virtual Server’s architecture and your business and technical needs.

Note: The articles in this series assume that you’re already familiar with the Virtual Server platform and have experience working with virtual hard disks, virtual networks, and other settings. If you’re new to virtualization, be sure to check out my previous series of articles: “Virtual Server: From the Ground Up”.