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VMware vSphere Generates Insane Amounts of I/O

The news has hit the Internet in various places, but I wanted to point it out here because it does help to debunk the myth that virtualization can’t handle all workload. What’s the news? EMC and VMware have jointly demonstrated that a single VMware vSphere host running just three virtual machines can drive just above 350,000 I/O operations per second (IOPS).

I’ll let that sink in for just a moment. In case you don’t understand just how significant that number is, consider that a typical Fibre Channel drive can sustain somewhere just below 200 IOPS (and that’s being a bit generous). At 200 IOPS per drive, driving 350,000 IOPS would require 1,750 drives. (Fortunately, EMC used Enterprise Flash Drives (EFDs), so far fewer drives were required.) I would wonder how many of us have actually seen a storage array with that many drives.

Chad Sakac of EMC covered the tests on his blog here; the VMware Performance blog also discussed the results in detail as well.

So, next time you are thinking that VMware vSphere can’t handle your database workloads, keep these figures in mind. Or, if you’re a consultant like me, use these figures next time your customer says that virtualization can’t handle I/O-intensive workloads. This looks like pretty definitive results to me.

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