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It’s a common question: “Are there any BIOS settings Dell recommends for VMware ESX/vSphere?” Primarily, Dell recommends reading and following VMware’s best practices. Specifically, Performance Best Practices for VMware vSphere™ 4.1, Performance Best Practices for VMware vSphere 5.0," and the VMware Best Practices guide for ESXi 5.5. For ESXi 5.5, Dell has taken a new step with its Server Configuration Profile technology. The Dell Hypervisor Engineering team has built a Server Configuration Profile that can be used to configure a PowerEdge R720 according to the VMware Best Practices guide for ESXi 5.5. This Server Configuration Profile can be used to configure every part of your server – BIOS, iDRAC, NIC, HBA, and even Storage – in a single operation. The profile is in xml format and can be modified to fit any custom requirements for a specific environment.
For more information about using Server Configuration Profiles, please review these two papers: Server Configuration Profile Workflows and Server Configuration Profile File Structure.Here are a list of additional points of interest specifically regarding Dell PowerEdge servers:
For more information on these and other BIOS options, see the “Using the System Setup Program” section of your Hardware Owner’s Manual.For general performance issues in a vSphere environment, a great resource is Troubleshooting Performance Related Problems in vSphere 4.1 Environments.