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Date:      Wed, 04 Oct 2006 10:48:34 -0400
From:      Jeff Dickens <jeff@seamanpaper.com>
To:        freebsd-questions@freebsd.org
Subject:   Re: optimal kernel options for VMWARE guest system
Message-ID:  <4523C9C2.6060000@seamanpaper.com>
In-Reply-To: <200610031605.54121.lists@jnielsen.net>
References:  <4522969F.9010504@seamanpaper.com> <200610031605.54121.lists@jnielsen.net>

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John Nielsen wrote:
> On Tuesday 03 October 2006 12:58, Jeff Dickens wrote:
>   
>> I have some Freebsd systems that are running as VMware guests.  I'd like
>> to configure their kernels so as to minimize the overhead on the VMware
>> host system.  After reading and partially digesting the white paper on
>> timekeeping in VMware virtual machines
>> (http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vmware_timekeeping.pdf) it appears that I
>> might want to make some changes.
>>
>> Has anyone addressed this issue?
>>     
>
> I haven't read the white paper (yet; thanks for the link), but I've had good 
> results with recent -STABLE VM's running under ESX server 3. Some thoughts:
>
> As I do on most of my installs, I trimmed down GENERIC to include just the 
> drivers I use. In this case that was mpt for the disk and le for the network 
> (although I suspect forcing the VM to present e1000 hardware and then using 
> the em driver would work as well if not better).
>
> The VMware tools package that comes with ESX server does a poor job of getting 
> itself to run, but it can be made to work without too much difficulty. Don't 
> use the port, run the included install script to install the files, ignore 
> the custom network driver and compile the memory management module from 
> source (included). If using X.org, use the built-in vmware display driver, 
> and copy the vmmouse driver .o file from the VMware tools dist to the 
> appropriate dir under /usr/X11. Even though the included file is for X.org 
> 6.8, it works fine with 6.9/7.0 (X.org 7.1 should include the vmmouse 
> driver.) Run the VMware tools config script from a non-X terminal (and you 
> can ignore the warning about running it remotely if you're using SSH), so it 
> won't mess with your X display (it doesn't do anything not accomplished 
> above). Then run the rc.d script to start the VMware tools.
>
> I haven't noticed any timekeeping issues so far.
>
> JN
> _______________________________________________
>   
What is the advantage of using the "e1000 hardware", and is this 
documented somewhere?  I got the vxn network driver working without 
issues; I just had to edit the .vxn file manually:  I'm using the free 
VMware server V1 rather than the ESX server.

   ethernet0.virtualDev="vmxnet"

I've got timekeeping running stably on these.  I turn on time sync via 
vmware tools in the .vmx file:

  tools.syncTime = "TRUE"

and in the guest file's rc.conf start ntpd with flags "-Aqgx &" so it 
just syncs once at boot and exits.

I'm not using X on these.  They're supposed to be clean & lean systems 
to run such things as djbdns and qmail.  And they do work well.  

My main goal is to reduce the background load on the VMware host system 
so that it isn't spending more time than it has to simulating interrupt 
controllers for the guests.  I'm wondering about the "disable ACPI" boot 
option.  I suppose I first should figure out how to even roughly measure 
the effect of any changes I might make.











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