To benefit from virtualization, a common compute platforms should be used. The right choice of servers and NICs is very important in supporting workload acceleration. Once the servers are procured and installed, server-level configuration is required. The generic or default BIOS settings are not always configured for high performance. The BIOS settings that control the CPU play a significant role in making every CPU cycle available to the demanding workloads. Because the names of BIOS settings differ between servers and BIOS manufacturers, generic terms are used here.

  • Power Management. Set this option to high or maximum to ensure that the processor CPU cycles are always available, and the processor does not slow down to preserve energy. On some systems, this option is called High Performance Profile. In certain cases, setting the Power Management configuration to high or maximum might not be sufficient. The Extreme Performance Series: Performance Best Practice VMworld 2017 presentation provides excellent information about BIOS configuration that is related to CPUs.

  • Hyperthreading. Enable this option in the systems that support it. Hyperthreading allows a single processor core to execute two independent threads simultaneously. On processors with Hyperthreading, each core can have two logical threads that share the core's resources such as memory caches and functional units. BIOS providers might refer to this as a Logical Processor. More information about hyperthreading is available at VMware vSphere 6.7 Documentation.

  • Turbo Boost. Enable this BIOS option. It allows the processor to operate faster than the rated frequency for peak loads. More information about Turbo Boost is available from the Frequently Asked Questions about Intel Turbo Boost Technology page of the Intel Web site.

  • NUMA Node Interleaving. Make sure that this option is disabled. With NUMA node interleaving enabled, the hypervisor sees the available memory as one contiguous area. Consequently, the ability to place memory pages local to the CPU is lost, that is CPU and memory pages on same the NUMA node.

Recommendations

  • Use common compute platforms.

  • Configure BIOS for optimal performance.

  • Enable CPU hyperthreading.

  • Enable Turbo Boost.

  • Disable NUMA node interleaving.