HiperLogic offers hardware solutions from HP ( and other vendors ), and for Virtualization we are a big fan of the HP DL380 G6/G7. We have noted during our VMware health check service that many DL380 installs that were done by our competitors were not ordered and/or configured for maximum performance. This post is to assist customers in getting it right.
Not having an optimal memory configuration can drastically reduce performance. HP has engineered the DL380 G6 to support large amounts of RAM and still keep the memory speed at 1333MHz (With 95W CPUs ). The memory configuration on new Nehalem based systems is no longer a simple matter of just picking a capacity and running with it like in the old days. If you want to configure your own memory see www.hp.com/go/ddr3memory-configurator
Next is disk performance. You should purchase a Battery Backed Write Cache Module with any DL380 G6 for vSphere ESXi or you will have performance problems, see this HP advisory. Even if you are running ESX today, ESXi may in the very near future be the only path forward, so better to spend a few dollars to future proof your investment.
Having the wrong BIOS settings can really make a huge difference in performance. For example you may consider setting:
Turbo Boost On
HP Power Profile to Maximum Performance
HP Power Regulator to Static High Performance
Thermal Configuration Increased Cooling
HiperLogic also likes to have some fast local disk, the DL380G6 has plenty of internal storage for putting lots of fast disk. Having fast local disk is great even if you use a SAN as you can always storage vmotion to a local VMFS volume when testing or debugging VM disk I/O or VM disk performance issues, and for temporarily working around SAN issues etc. Disk is cheap, and it is nice to have the flexibility.
Finally always check the VMware HCL, for the DL380 G6 that is here