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We have a set of servers running VMware ESXi 4 and run a set of Linux machines on them (it's a VMed rocks cluster, actually). One of the nodes on a host is a high-priority server that should always get preferential treatment in terms of processing power if the VMware host machine gets loaded.

What's the best way to setup something like this? The servers have 8 cores. Is there a way to effectively tie one of the cores to the important VM, so that other VMs can't use it? Or is this kind of effect better achieved by reserving MHz under resource allocation? Or is this what scheduling affinity is best used for?

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There's a whole giant part of ESX that helps you with this, VM reservations and shares. Set a VM's reservations to the resource levels you NEED that VM to have as a bare minimum and set its share level to be higher than other less important VMs. I wouldn't go messing around with processor affinity just yet, these should sort you out. Feel free to ask again once you're up and running with more detailed questions.

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Thanks for the pointers. I'm going with these controls first and we'll branch out further if necessary. – Rick Reynolds Sep 22 '09 at 22:39

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