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Our setup is VMWare Esxi system, running on a dual quad core server with 32gb of RAM. It has 4 VM's running on it, and one of them, our file server, ie experiencing high cpu usage for the 'system' process. It's taking up almost 100% of 1 core all the time.

Is this normal? I've only noticed it lately, so I don't think itw as there before? process explorer says ~10% of this is hardware interrupts, 10-20% is deferred procedure calls and the rest is just 'system'

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Looks like heavy I/O load... are VMware drivers/tools installed and up to date? How is the load on the underlying physical server? Did you by chance turn on NTFS compression or encryption?

High CPU usage by the 'system' process usually means the server is busy doing hardware-related things that really shouldn't take so much CPU time.

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+1 VMware tools – Bigbio2002 Jul 20 '12 at 15:43

If it is a "straight" file server, then it should not normally be at a consistent high utilization state. Enabling compression at the folder or volume level and then performing continuous/prolonged reads/writes might stir up some high utilization situations, but not too much else should for "plain" file sharing.

Any other applications and/or specialty drivers possibly "in the mix" on that server?

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