Example Architectural Decision – Transparent Page Sharing (TPS) Configuration for VDI (1 of 2)

Problem Statement

In a VMware vSphere environment, with future releases of ESXi disabling Transparent Page Sharing by default, what is the most suitable TPS configuration for a Virtual Desktop environment?


1. TPS is disabled by default
2. Storage is expensive
3. Two Socket ESXi Hosts have been chosen to align with a scale out methodology.
4. HA Admission Control policy used is “Percentage of Cluster Resources reserved for HA”
5. vSphere 5.5 or earlier


1. VDI environment must deliver consistent performance
2. VDI environment supports a high percentage of Power Users


1. Reduce complexity where possible.
2. Maximize the efficiency of the infrastructure

Architectural Decision

Leave TPS disabled (default) and apply 100% Memory Reservations to VDI VMs and/or Golden Master Image.


1. Setting 100% memory reservations ensures consistent performance by eliminating the possibility of swapping.
2. The 100% memory reservation also eliminates the capacity usage by the vswap file which saves space on the shared storage as well as reducing the impact on the storage in the event of swapping.
3. RAM is cheaper than Tier 1 storage (which is recommended for vSwap storage to ensure minimal performance impact during swapping) so the increased cost of memory in the hosts is easily offset by the saving in shared storage.
4. Simplicity. Leaving default settings is advantageous from both an architectural and operational perspective.  Example: ESXi Patching can cause settings to revert to default which could negate TPS savings and put a sudden high demand on storage where TPS savings are expected.
5. TPS savings for desktops can be significant, however with a high percentage of Power Users with >=4GB desktops and 2vCPUs, the TPS savings are lower compared to Kiosk or Task users typically with 1-2GB per desktop.
6. The decision has been made to use 2 socket ESXi hosts and scale out so the TPS savings per host compared to a 4 socket server with double the RAM will be lower.
7. HA admission control will calculate fail-over requirements (when using Percentage of cluster resources reserved for HA) so that performance will be approximately the same in the event of a fail-over due to reserving the full RAM reserved for every VM leading to more consistent performance under a wider range of circumstances.
8. Lower core count (and lower cost) CPUs will likely be viable as RAM will likely be the first constraint for further consolidation.


1. Using 100% memory reservations requires ESXi hosts and the cluster be sized at a 1:1 ratio of vRAM to pRAM (Physical RAM) and should include N+1 so a host failure can be tolerated.
2. Increased RAM costs
3. No memory overcommitment can be achieved
4. Potential for lower CPU utilization / overcommitment as RAM may become the first constraint.


1. Use 50% reservation and enable TPS
2. Use no reservation, Enable TPS and disable large pages

Related Articles:

1. The Impact of Transparent Page Sharing (TPS) being disabled by default @josh_odgers (VCDX#90)

2. Example Architectural Decision – Transparent Page Sharing (TPS) Configuration for VDI (2 of 2)

3. Future direction of disabling TPS by default and its impact on capacity planning –@FrankDenneman (VCDX #29)

4. Transparent Page Sharing Vulnerable, Yet Largely Irrelevant – @ChrisWahl(VCDX#104)

Example Architectural Decision – Default Virtual Machine Compatibility Configuration

Problem Statement

In a VMware vSphere 5.5 environment, what is the most suitable configuration for Virtual Machine Compatibility setting at the Datacenter and Cluster layers?


1. vSphere Flash Read Cache is not required.
2. VMDKs of greater than 2TB minus 512b are not required.


1. Reduce complexity where possible.
2. Maximize supportability.

Architectural Decision

Configure the vSphere Datacenter level “Default VM Compatibility” as “ESXi 5.1 or later” and leave the vSphere Cluster level “Default VM Compatibility” as “Use datacenter setting and host version” (default).


1. Avoid limiting management of the environment to the vSphere Web Client.
2. The Default VM Compatibility only needs to be set once at the datacenter layer and then all clusters within the datacenter will inherit the desired setting.
3. Reduce the dependency of the Web Client in the event of a disaster recovery.
4. As vFRC and >2TB VMDKs and vGPU are not required, there is no significant advantage to HW Version 10.
5. Ensuring a standard virtual machine compatibility level is maintained throughout the environment and reducing the chance of mismatched VM version types in the environment.
6. Simplicity.


1. Virtual Machine Hardware Compatibility automatic update must be DISABLED to prevent the VM hardware being automatically upgraded following a shutdown.
2. vSphere Flash Read Cache (vFRC) cannot be used.
3. VMDKs will remain limited at 2TB minus 512b.


1. Virtual Machine HW Version 10 (vSphere 5.5 onwards).
2. Virtual Machine HW Version 8 (vSphere 5.0 onwards).
3. Virtual Machine HW Version 7 (vSphere 4.1 onwards).
4. Older Virtual machine HW versions.


Competition Example Architectural Decision Entry 3 – Scalable network architecture for VXLAN

Name: Prasenjit Sarkar
Title: Senior Member of Technical Staff
Company: VMware
Twitter: @stretchcloud
Profile: VCAP-DCD4/5,VCAP-DCA4/5,VCAP-CIA,vExpert 2012/2013

Problem Statement

You are moving towards scalable network architecture for your large scale Virtualized Datacenter and want to configure VXLAN in your environment. You want to make sure that Teaming Policy for VXLAN transport is configured optimally for better performance and reduce operational complexity around it.


1. vSphere 5.1 or greater
2. vCloud Networking & Security 5.1 or greater
3. Core & Edge Network topology is in place


1. Should have switches that support Static Etherchannel or LACP (Dynamic Etherchannel)
2. Have to use only IP Hash Load balancing method if using vSphere 5.1
3. Cannot use Beacon Probing as Failure Detection mechanism


1. Optimize performance for VXLAN

2. Reduce complexity where possible

3. Choosing best teaming policy for VXLAN Traffic for future scalability

Architectural Decision

LACP – Passive Mode will be chosen as the teaming policy for the VXLAN Transport.

At least two or more physical links will be aggregated using LACP in the upstream Edge switches.

Two Edge switches will be connected to each other.

ESXi host will be cross connected to these two Physical upstream switches for forming a LACP group.

LACP will be configured in Passive mode in Edge switches so that the participating ports responds to the LACP packets that it receives but does not initiate LACP negotiation.


1. Use LACP – Active Mode and make sure you are using IP Hash algorithm for the load balancing in your vDS if using vSphere 5.1.

2. Use LACP – Active Mode and use any of the 22 available load balancing algorithm in your vDS if using vSphere 5.5.

3. Use LACP – Active Mode and use Cisco Nexus 1000v virtual switch and use any of the 19 available load balancing algorithm.

4. Use Static Etherchannel and make sure you are using IP Hash *Only* algorithm in your vDS.

5. If using Failover then have at least one 10G NIC to handle the VXLAN traffic.


1. Fail Over teaming policy for VXLAN vmkernel NIC uses only one uplink for all VXLAN traffic. Although redundancy is available via the standby link, all available bandwidth is not used.
2. Static Etherchannel requires IP Hash Load Balancing be configured on the switching infrastructure, which uses a hashing algorithm based on source and destination IP address to determine which host uplink egress traffic should be routed through.

3. Static Etherchannel and IP Hash Load Balancing is technically very complex to implement and has a number of prerequisites and limitations, such as, you can’t use beacon probing, you can’t configure standby or unused link etc.

4. Static Etherchannel does not do pre check both the terminating ends before forming the Channel Group. So, if there are issues within two ends then traffic will never pass and vSphere will not see any acknowledgement back in it’s Distributed Switches

5. Active LACP mode places a port into an active negotiating state, in which the port initiates negotiations with other ports by sending LACP packets. If using vSphere prior to 5.5 where only IP Hash algorithm is supported then LACP will not pass any traffic if vSphere uses any other algorithm other than IP Hash (such as Virtual Port ID)

6. The operational complexity is reduced

7. If using vSphere 5.5 then can use 22 different algorithm for load balancing and also Beacon Probing can be used for Failure Detection.


1. Initial setup has a small amount of additional complexity however this is a one time task (Set & Forget)

2. Only IP Hash algorithm is supported if using vSphere 5.1

3. Only one LAG can be supported for the entire vSphere Distributed Switches if using vSphere 5.1

4. IP Hash calculation if not done manually by taking VM’s vNIC and Physical NIC then there is no guarantee that it will balance the traffic across physical links

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