TurnKey Linux Virtual Appliance Library

Virtualbox networking all settings 1Gbps measured 100Mbps

MIKE WHITENTON's picture

Hello,

I am at a loss and need help. I have a Windows XP SP3 host with a Gb nic plugged into a Gb switch connecting at 1Gb. I can transfer files to and from a shared folder on the XP Host at 56MB/s. I can copy a large file from D: to E: on the Host at about the same speed. C: is a Compact Flash and the page file is on D:.

The XP Host has 2GB RAM. The Host isn't used for anything except running Virtualbox. I have set the VM to use the Intel 1000 nic and set the VM with the command line to 1000000. Turnkey Fileserver and FreeNAS both report the network as 1Gbps. Which the host also reports. I am using Bridged Networking. Please note, the Host Only reports 100Mbps and I don't know how to change that. But I still want to use Bridged mode if at all possible.

When I transfer a file between client and VM or between host and VM I get almost exactly 100Mbps speeds.

The client shows lots of free memory and the VM shows lots of free memory.

I have reinstalled the Host OS and the client OS several times.

I've exhausted my searching on Google for solutions to the problem. I keep getting suggestions that the Hard Drives are the problem, but they can't be due to the host D: to host E: working at full speed. Also people suggest I haven't set the nic to 1Gbps in VM or Virtualbox or that I am using a 100Mbps switch which I am not.

Again the client to host is many times faster than 100Mbps as well as Host to Host. Everything says I have 1Gbps in the VM, Virtualbox and Host. The CPU use during the transfer is about 20% in the Host and about 5%-10% in the VM.

I am planning on 2 VMs on this system so I don't want to abandon Virtualbox.

Virtualbox 4.0.6, Turnkey Fileserver 11.1, FreeNAS 0.7 & 0.8

Thanks for any suggestions.

Chris Musty's picture

Not sure if this will help

Not sure if this will help you but a few people have reported success with this...

Some LAN cards have the data rate options 10Mb, 100Mb and "Auto" with no strict 1000Mb definition, even though they are indeed 1000Mb.

Try playing with some of the settings on the host OS LAN card.

Also make sure all devices on the LAN are all Gb devices.

This had caused me grief in a retail POS environment and considering the traffic was not huge 100Mb was selected and the network behaved.

Chris Musty

Director

Specialised Technologies

Jeremy's picture

What about the cable between host and switch?

AFAIK it's not possible to get a consistent/reliable 1Gbps connection unless you are using a cat6 cable and even then if there is interference it will drop back to 100Mbps. Some common sources of interference are appliances especially ones that produce significant amounts of EMF radiation like microwaves and CRT monitors and TVs and even speakers, nearby power or data cables - min distance required between data or power cables is 50mm IIRC (the further the better).

Also if you are using the host as a virtual server only why are you running XP? IMO you'd be much better off with Linux. Ideally you'd want something headless (uses less resources, leaving more for your VMs). Personally I love ProxmoxVE (Debian based) but if your hardware isn't up to it, or you wish to stick with VBox (as you said you did) then Rik has made a TKL (headless) VirtualBox TKLPatch.

MIKE WHITENTON's picture

Re: Jeremy

Thanks for the suggestions.

I ordered some Cat-6 cables just in case. I haven't had many problems under 25ft with Cat-5. Over 100ft even Cat-6 has given me some headaches unless the NIC and switch are the same brand. I do get full 1Gbps client to host data transfer speeds which makes me think that the cable isn't the problem. I am only getting 100Mbps data transfer rate between host and VM which is weird. I think something is mucked up between my XP install and VB.

I need to move on to the actual appliance work I need to do. 

I took a look at your other suggestions, mainly to ditch XP as the host. I'm going to give the phpvirtualbox option a serious go. I'm comfortable enough to risk putting it in production if all tests well.

ProxMox seems nice but I need to work with it to get comfortable and for now my test hardware doesn't have virtuaization built in. It will for production though. For now I'm trying not to purchase a bunch of hardware for testing. I'm trying use up a bunch of P4 systems a customer gave me during their last upgrade. Thus the reason for the XP license(s) I was trying to use.

Jeremy's picture

Hopefully I'm not leading you astray...

My personal experience with cat5 cable has been quite different, although perhaps your point re the NICs themselves is also a factor (which I hadn't considered TBH). I think I'l have to do some testing sometime to see if that is a factor. I make a lot of my own cables have found that even with cat6 cable, cheap plugs reduce the chances of a stable Gb connection, but in reflection perhaps it says more for my cabling skills (or lack there of) rather than anything else?! And yes long lengths definately make a difference (and not in a good way).

Another thought is that perhaps to get each VM & the host getting full 1Gbps connections VM you need another NIC or 2? My rationale for this suggestion is that if you have a 1Gbps connection between the host and router, and have the NIC bridged to 2 VMs then rather than 1 Gbps connection, you actually have 3 LAN connections sharing a 1Gbps connection.

I haven't tested Rik's VBox setup, but I can certainly vouch for PVE. I use it both at home and at work. I have it running at home on 4-5 year old desktop hardware. I've been running it now for about 2yrs (IIRC I installed v1.3 - since updated using apt in a few stages to it's present v1.8) and it hasn't skipped a beat. I think I've had it running at work for about a year now and it's much better than the setup I had before. One thing that never ceases to amazes me is the performance. At work I transitioned our Win2K3 server from hardware to (KVM) VM and it actually performs noticably better on PVE than it did on hardware. Admitedly the new hardware (that PVE runs on) is vastly superior, but the resources allocated to the 2K3 VM are pretty much the same as the old hardware (2GB RAM & 2 CPU cores - although the new hardware CPU has a slightly faster clock speed and is no doubt more efficient, regardless it still amazes me how reponsive the GUI is).

Anyway, good luck with it all and let us know what you end up with and how it works for you.

Chris Musty's picture

Proxmox is very easy to learn

Proxmox is an amazing and very easy to use tool. I have used it for a while. highly recomended.

It has saved me countless hours due to the ability to destroy an image and either start again or use the resources for something else. Coupled with TLKBAM its a very powerful solution.

There is a great community if you have any issues on setup but basically get a grasp of the difference between the virtualisation technologies used, different formats and bus types etc

One little trick for traversing NAT is to configure your router to port forward port 80 for the webgui and also port 5900 so you can use the virtual console.

Chris Musty

Director

Specialised Technologies

Jeremy's picture

+1 for everything you said! :)

Although I would like to add that if you wish to have multiple virtual consoles open remotely then you will need to add some more ports from 5900 (the second console will use port 5901 and so on). I open ports 5900-5904 myself (thus allowing up to 5 virtual consoles at once).

Chris Musty's picture

5 Consoles!

I cant say I have had the need for 5 consoles at once, yet I do have 4 screens on my desk. Typically my use is for low maintenance applications plus my router only affords me 20 forwards. I am going to upgrade to a pfSence solution shortly so I can have as many as I want. I guess this thread went slightly off topic :)

Chris Musty

Director

Specialised Technologies

Jeremy's picture

TBH neither do I but you never know :)

Besides I have found that if you open a new one straight away PVE will sometimes use the next port rather than reuse the last used one. Even though I have never used 5 consoles concurrently, I'd rather have the option if need be. Also because I have my server functions split between many different VMs it is not uncommon to require 2 or 3 open at a time, although TBH I generally tend to SSH in rather than use the PVE console (other than if Iam working on somthing with a GUI).

MIKE WHITENTON's picture

Proxmox Roadmap looks very interesting!

I've been reading up on Proxmox VE. The Roadmap for 2.x caught my attention. Looks like a Q2/11 release which would put it a month or less away. I'm very interested in the Spice support. I hope it is as good as it needs to be for full multimedia virtual desktop. That might just be a game changer.

My hope is to eventually build VDI server(s) and thin desktop PCs from now on. Proxmox 2.x looks like my goal may finally become a reality.

Thanks guys!!!

Jeremy's picture

Definately be interesting to see

I am already using PVE clients for virtual desktop at work. All the work PCs run Windows and I much prefer to use Linux these days. Currently I'm running Linux Mint 10 LXDE (Ubuntu 10.10 based) and Debian 6 with Gnome desktop - still not sure which I prefer yet. I install xrpd on the VMs and use Windows native Remote Desktop to connect (full screen). My fellow employees often look a bit baffled if they try to use my PC :)

If PVE 2.x can support full multimedia then that'd be awesome! I guess we'll have to wait and see how well it all works though.

It's interesting that the whole thin client thing has gone full circle. Once upon a time that was how it was all done, then thick clients became all the rage, now we're all (or many of us anyway) heading back towards the thin client model. I like it :)

MIKE WHITENTON's picture

Full Circle...

I'm not against going off-topic, that's how real world conversations are. One thing leads to another and to another.

Actually, we've come "full circle" again and again. The balance keeps shiffing back and forth between centralized computing and specialized distributed workstations & devices.

Just looking back on what I have experianced, first with the PDP 1170 which was a multi-user computer with dumb terminals attached. Then as computers got cheaper the MS-DOS PC & Novell File Server came of age. Lan-tastic put the workstations back in the driver seat. Then came Concurrent DOS which would run multiple dumb terminals in a DOS environment. Then came Windows Servers and PCs. Many retail VHS movie rental companies used dumb terminals connected to a Windows Server. Can't forget the Wyse Windows Terminals. Etc etc into modern times. Now we looking at centralized PCs & Virtual Desktop and Cloud PCs are starting to take off. Now we are finally getting to the point again where we can have centralized computing and high quality remote user experiance. Yet there are more and more special purpose devices that are getting more powerful. Of course the circle has always been a fairly complete loop. It is just that mainstream keeps moving around the circle.

I think we will see the circle go around a few more times. I'm not sure if there will ever be an end to it.

Jeremy's picture

I think you are right

Although I must admit that I haven't been closely involved with computers for long enough to realise that it is more of a cycle than a loop. Thanks for the insight, and I think you're right about it going round and round the cycle, although I think it's likely that in some scenarios one or the other model will be best suited and persistent. Anyway, let us know how you go with it all.

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