Performance Benchmarking Dell R910 – Part 1

When someone say’s their Virtual Machine is running slowly, the first thing we do is check out the performance graphs with the vSphere client. Everything looks normal, and so it is easy to dismiss it as an application issue. However, what happens when this issue is the result of a previously undetected problem that appears to have multiple components to it?

This is the problem I am currently working on now with a Dell R910 Server. The Dell R910s are quite a powerful machine designed for more intensive workloads and certainly comes as a surprise that we are seeings performance issues.

This is currently an issue being worked on, and I do not know what the outcome will be. However I will be documenting the steps being taken in order to benchmark performance and how we might improve the performance.

This first post is to outline the hardware involved, and the testing being done.

The server involved is a R910 Generation 11 server from Dell. Some critical specs as follows:

  • 2x Intel Xeon E7-4850 @ 2.00GHz
  • Intel 440BX Motherboard
  • 256GB RAM

We have chosen to the Phoronix Test Suite for our benchmark testing as it would appear to do workload based testing as opposed to working out the raw performance of the server.

This has all come about because we have Hp DL380 G5 with a single Xeon E5430 @ 2.66GHz and 10GB RAM was significantly outperforming the Dell R910 – which is not a good thing 🙂

In the next post, I’ll take a look at what the bare metal scores are before delving into the complications of benchmarking and virtualisation.