The pfSense Store

Author Topic: ESXi 5.0: Benefit from Assigning NIC's directly to pfSense VM using VT-D/IOMMU?  (Read 4152 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mattlach

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 30
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Hey all,

I currently have my system set up as follows:

ESXi 5.0
AMD Zacate E-350 8GB RAM
Intel EXPI9402PTBLK dual port PCI-e gigabit server NIC
Broadcom NetXtreme (BCM5761) PCI-e Single Port server NIC
Shitty on board Realtek 8111C is disabled

VM0: pfsense
VM1: Ubuntu Linux NAS /general linux server

Network is currently set up as follows:

Internet (Verizon FiOS) -> Intel Port 0 -> ESXi Vswitch 0 -> pfSense VM -> ESXi Vswitch 1 -> Intel Port 1 -> physical LAN Switch.

Nothing else touches the vSwitches above.  I dedicate them to pfsense.

physical LAN Switch -> NetXTreme NIC -> Vswitch 2 -> Linux NAS/General Server and ESXi Management Console

My theory here is that I don't want heavy NAS traffic interfearing with other clients outside network speeds.

I have this theory that ESXi VM overhead involved in the Vswitches may introduce some network latencies, but I ahve no idea how much.

Would I benefit from running this on a system that supports VT-D/IOMMU and direct IO mapping the Intel NIC to the pfSense VM, or would the difference be small and unnoticable?


Offline tritron

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 85
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
I had found that esxi had very slow network performance. I had switched to xen and my speeds increased 5 times. Pefrormance of xen is much faster then esxi. So if you assign network interfance performance will improve.

Offline cylent

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 101
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
now you tell me

i chose esxi for simplicity.

so you're saying now xen is faster?

Offline johnpoz

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2893
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
"I had found that esxi had very slow network performance"

What do you consider slow?

I am seeing 800Mbps + testing with iperf, and 70+ MBps file copies from guest os to my workstation on esxi 5 running on a cheap ass N40L box

Now what is odd, is I see 400mbps to pfsense with iperf.  But since its only got a 20mbps internet connection doesn't really matter that much ;)




- An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.
- Have I helped you, want to say thanks?  Donate to pfsense the cost of a beer http://pfsense.org/donate.html

Offline gibby916

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
I'm running pfSesne on ESXi with excellent performance.  Yes the default networking built into ESXi isn't extremely robust, but there is not an issue with network latency that I am running into whatsoever.  Not taking anything away from Xen, but I would go with whatever you are most comfortable with.

Offline CDeLorme

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
I just setup Xen and my file transfer speeds over LAN range from 70-130MBps with an average above 80, which doesn't sound much different from ESXi reports here.

I tried a passed through NIC with near-identical performance (80-115 MBps with an average of 90).  I don't see enough of a difference to justify passthrough, but I haven't tested long term stability yet so maybe there is more to it.

I am using consumer hardware, so my biggest problem with ESXi was the lack of drivers, I had two boards with Broadcom chipsets that weren't supported without modifying the install CD.