Performance issues, pfSense as guest OS, windows host



  • Alright, I have previously experimented with different ways to combine a HTPC with pfSense. Since I need a screen output to the TV I can not use VMware ESXi. The only solution when using a Windows as OS is then VMware Server or VirtualBox?

    I've tried both of them and fail to get any acceptable performance.

    The box I use is as follows:
    Core2Duo E6550 @ 2,6 GHz with VT-x support
    2GB ram which pfsense uses 1GB
    2x IntelPRO1000GT 1Gbit, WAN + LAN for pfSense
    1x Atheros 1Gbit for windows host (irrelevant..)

    So pfSense will therefore have a core of 2.6 GHz + 1GB RAM + 2 Intel NIC's that will take care of the network instead of the cpu, which should be more than enough.

    I have 100/10Mbit and while sitting behind my current dedicated pfsense box, I get out around 95/13Mbit and CPU usage (an old AMD64 3200 + ~ 1.8 GHz) around 30-40% at full load (11MB / s) and 4000 + connections.

    When I set up pfsense in a virtual environment on the box mentioned above, I get no more than around 50Mbit before the CPU usage reaches 100% in pfsense. In Windows Task Manager VirtualBox / VMware uses around 50% cpu usage when I try to get the max speed from my connection. Torrents eg oscillate between 2MB / s to 4MB / s and ping and normal browsing is incredibly unstable while using more than a few MB / s (obviously, since the CPU usage is around 100%).

    In theory you should be able to run pfSense in this environment without any capacity problems.

    Tips? Your own experiences? Is it possible?

    I know it's best to run a dedicated box for pfSense but now it is so that I need to cut down on the number of servers and it would be nice to combine my "Everyday" server with the pfSense box. Also I would like to virtualize my NIC's to the virtual pfSense since I use multiwan too.

    EDIT: Also, hardware virtualization is forced ON and its confirmed activated. The Open-VM tools-package is also installed.



  • It's funny, I've just started experimenting with the same basic idea.  Trying to consolidate my hardward to save some money on electricity.  I have a Pentium D, Windows 2008 R2 server that is under utilized so I thought I'd virtualize my pfSense with VirtualBox.  I have the same problem as you, 50% utilization in taskman, 100% utilization according to pfSense dashboard.

    Right now I'm attempting to get the Virtualbox Guest additions working.  I'll report back if I make any progress.



  • Yeah, I have not manage to get decent speeds/stability yet. Dunno what to do. Have been trying both vmware server and virtualbox with same result as you mentioned. Looks like its impossible to virtualize pfsense on a windows host?



  • ha HA!

    http://www.freshports.org/emulators/virtualbox-ose-additions/

    ssh into pfSense and run the following or goto shell from console menu

    pkg_add -r virtualbox-ose-additions

    it will take a LONG time to go, but it will install the VirtualBox Guest Additions, and alot of other crap

    Watching taskman during bootup CPU does max out a bit, but that is to be expected during boot.  Now idles very low, <=6%.  Sometimes maxes out still, but that is to be expected especially since I do not have VT-x.  Web GUI is much more responsive now.  Will report back later with more tests if I have the opportunity.

    BACK UP your VM before attempting the install.  Remember this is for VirtualBox only.



  • FYI, in case you guys didn't know you can also run "top" from shell to watch CPU usage.

    Just did several speed tests, I can max my connection out at 60 MB/15 MB, vm does go up to 50% in taskman, but doesn't slow down at all.



  • @ScorchedHands:

    ha HA!

    http://www.freshports.org/emulators/virtualbox-ose-additions/

    ssh into pfSense and run the following or goto shell from console menu

    pkg_add -r virtualbox-ose-additions

    it will take a LONG time to go, but it will install the VirtualBox Guest Additions, and alot of other crap

    Watching taskman during bootup CPU does max out a bit, but that is to be expected during boot.  Now idles very low, <=6%.  Sometimes maxes out still, but that is to be expected especially since I do not have VT-x.  Web GUI is much more responsive now.  Will report back later with more tests if I have the opportunity.

    BACK UP your VM before attempting the install.  Remember this is for VirtualBox only.

    Intreseting. However, when typing pkg_add -r virtualbox-ose-additions is says "unable to get URL file unavailable, file not found, no access. Unable to fetch by URL.

    @ScorchedHands:

    FYI, in case you guys didn't know you can also run "top" from shell to watch CPU usage.

    Just did several speed tests, I can max my connection out at 60 MB/15 MB, vm does go up to 50% in taskman, but doesn't slow down at all.

    Alright, hope this will solve things. Do you feel that all cpu problems and unstability is gone after you done this? That you can now compare the performance to a dedicated box?



  • It's throughput is comparable to a physical.  My internet speeds have not diminished at all transitioning from the physical to the virtual router.  I have been consistently maxing out my bandwidth downloading videos on IRC.  The GUI still gets sluggish from time to time.  I'm having another issue on that server at the moment (one of my HDD's is failing), so it's not a great test.

    Oh hell I forgot to mention, this VM is pfSense 2.0 BETA4, December 17th build.  I totally forgot to mention that.  I apologize.  That is probably why the command works fine for me and not you.  If this is a home router you're working on, you might want to try out the latest BETA for shits and giggles.



  • @ScorchedHands:

    It's throughput is comparable to a physical.  My internet speeds have not diminished at all transitioning from the physical to the virtual router.  I have been consistently maxing out my bandwidth downloading videos on IRC.  The GUI still gets sluggish from time to time.  I'm having another issue on that server at the moment (one of my HDD's is failing), so it's not a great test.

    Oh hell I forgot to mention, this VM is pfSense 2.0 BETA4, December 17th build.  I totally forgot to mention that.  I apologize.  That is probably why the command works fine for me and not you.  If this is a home router you're working on, you might want to try out the latest BETA for shits and giggles.

    Ah nice.

    Aw okey. Im running 1.2.3. Last time I was checking up on 2.0 multiwan didnt work that very well. Will have to check that up before I installs it.

    EDIT: nevermind, installed first :p. Is there some way to verify that vbox guestadditions installed successfully?



  • Im diggin this up again.

    Manage to get a decent performance with vmware server this time. Tho with another quadcore setup..

    However, since im not that familiar with freebsd at all, is there any tool or "command" to test the cpu performance? Like, SuperPI for windows (measure PI calculations in seconds, lower = faster cpu). Would be awsome, since im testing alot of virtualization solutions this could help me finding the fastest one.

    Anyone?


Locked