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Vmware, server 2003 slow, 2008 fast?


We have 2 domain controllers. one of them runs running server 2003 SP2, the other one server 2003 R2 X64)
Our backup server is a Server 2008R2 x64 server with backup exec 2010, the tape drive is a HP LTO4 and connected via SCSI. The backup server has a 2GB network connection.

Our domain controllers are running in a small VMware environment, there are 3 other server 2008R2 server on the same hosts. Both hosts have 4GB network and a separate storage network connected to the HP Left-hand SAN. This is also where all the data is stored.

The problem is that we have a very big speed difference between the 2008 and 2003 servers. The 2003 server stores all our data, so the backup is running for 12 hours! This are the backup speeds from last night:

Server 2008R2 1: 1834 MB/min
Server 2008R2 2: 1847 MB/min
Server 2008R2 3: 1982 MB/min
Server 2003: 738MB/min (This server stores all our data, and runs exchange and AD.)
Server 2003 R2 : 577MB/min (Backup domain controller, intranet server and web monitor server)

Additionally we always have an error while doing a backup from the DC with exchange, Symantec is looking at it but it appears that it is because the exchange database is spread over 4 different drives (this server has been virtualized from a physical one)

How come that only the Server 2003 servers are so slow?
The hardware is the same, same host same san etc. only a different VM.

Other detail, we need to make a separate windows backup from our G:\ drive because of the errors, that backup runs at 751MB/min. So it a bit faster than the VMware backup.
Exchange backup is also separate afterwards and runs at 830 MB/min

Is there anything i can do to speed this up? We are getting into trouble with this slow speeds...

10 Replies

Hi,   Have you verified that



Have you verified that the network is set up correctly from within VMware itself? Have you checked to make sure that the NICs are all hard-coded to the fastest speed of the NICs?


if you mean the network from

if you mean the network from the vmware server, it is set up correctly.
also the server 2008 servers go over the same network connections.

the nics of the vm can't be configured, they are just enabled.
We only use 1 virtual nic per server, this should be enough. Well, for the 2008 servers it is.

I only just realized that both the server 2003 servers are virtualized from a physical one. Could there be any setting somewhere i need to change?
Additionally, the vmware based backups do not use the vm nics right? the data it transferred from the esx host itself?

If it was something like an

If it was something like an HP server for instance, the recommendation is to uninstall all the HP software (IBM/Dell would be the same). Check this and see if this is relevant at all.


all HP software has already

all HP software has already been removed.

I first virtualized the server, then uninstalled all HP software and installed the VMware tools.
Afterwards i also updated the backup exec agents and server to the latest version.

Backup speeds have been at +/- 1200MB/min the first weeks after the virtualisation. It suddenly got worse to +/- 950MB/min

Then we did a power outage test. this means that we just unplugged the PDU and UPS and waithed if everything went down on the normal way using network shutdown. This all went OK, only the backup speed dropped even more and stayed low. i never managed to get it any faster...

...and have you restarted the

...and have you restarted the tape drive itself?

errr, no I did remove the

errr, no blush

I did remove the tape drive from the server and BE, reinstalled it but that didnt make any change.

I didnt reboot the actual drive itself....
I will do it now and i will also clean the drive, i will let you know tomorrow if the backup went faster.

Tapedrive reboot

Well, I rebooted the tape drive yesterday and cleaned it.
Last night’s backup speeds are:

Server 2008R2 1: 1951 MB/min (1834 MB/min)
Server 2008R2 2: 1864 MB/min (1847 MB/min)
Server 2008R2 3: 1757 MB/min (1982 MB/min)
Server 2003: 728MB/min  (738 MB/min)
Server 2003 R2 : 569MB/min (577 MB/min)

G:\ drive: 748MB/min (751 MB/min)
exchange: 1085 MB/min (830 MB/min)
Bold are previous speeds

as you can see, the backup got a bit slower again last night. But that's normal, the speeds are variable.
Only the exchange got a bit faster.

I still believe it is something with BE and server 2003, I only can't figure out what it is..


This weekend speeds: Server

This weekend speeds:

Server 2003: 764 MB/min
Server 2003 R2: 621 MB/min

G:\ drive: 769 MB/min
Exchange: 1186 MB/min

These backups were made friday night. Still not the speeds i hoped to get.
How come server 2008 reached 1500MB/min + when server 2003 on the same hardware is never reaching higher the 800MB/min?

...not sure I can answer that

...not sure I can answer that for you. Might also be worth your while opening up a query on the VMware forums to see if anybody else has had similar experiences (with/without Backup Exec).


Same issue here with a

Same issue here with a straight VM file server running 2003 with a SCSI Tandberg LTO4 Library. Backup throughput is about the same as Denskie. VM NIC settings auto to 10GB.

Other MS 2008 VMs on the same SAN/Hosts have througputs better that twice the speed. Throughput prior to (%$^#) BE2012 (was 12.5) was in the 1800MB range.