white paper has been published that examines how VMware vCenter 5.0 performs in a remote offices, branch offices environment where VMware ESXi hosts are distributed over large geographical distances. These types or networks are wide area networks (WAN) and have low-bandwidth and high-latency links. This white paper shows that despite this challenge, vCenter tasks perform well in terms of both time taken to perform a task and bandwidth consumption used to perform a task.

Types of WAN studied include dial-up, DSL, Satellite, and T1. Data was also collected from LAN for comparison.

Tasks measured include:

  • For hosts:
    • Add and remove a host
    • Enter and exit maintenance mode
  • For virtual machines:
    • Power on and off
    • Create and delete a snapshot
    • Create, remove, and clone
    • Register and unregister
    • Reset and reconfigure
    • Suspend and resume
  • For a virtual distributed switch (vDS)
    • Create and remove a vDS
    • Add and remove a static port group

Testing shows that vCenter effectively and efficiently manages the hosts and virtual machines in a ROBO environment. For a vCenter task, when network latency increases, the time it takes to complete the task increases at a much slower rate. For example, when network latency increases by 4 times, time consumption increases by only 1.5 times. Network bandwidth is not saturated even if it decreases from 1.5 Mbps to 64 Kbps. The bandwidth of current networks is enough for vCenter to monitor and manage hosts and VMs. The results also show that the bandwidth consumption of a host increases linearly (consistently and as expected) with the number of powered-on VMs on a host.

For the full paper, see Performance of VMware vCenter 5.0 in Remote Offices and Branch Offices (ROBO).