Sophos Email Appliance: Analyzing your VMware server hardware

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  • Updated: 22 Oct 2015

Note: The diagnostic testing tool for the Virtual Email Appliance is recommended only for advanced VMware administrators who have experience with benchmark tests.

Performance of your VMware guest operating system depends on a variety of factors. It is important to choose the correct disk size, CPU, and memory that correlates with the amount of mail traffic you will be processing. Even then, performance varies, depending on how your Virtual Email Appliance and VMware server are configured.

In addition, you can run system diagnostics on a VMware server using the tool included with your virtual appliance. It will provide benchmarks for disk read/write, CPU, and memory. You can then compare these to benchmarks from other appliances to estimate performance expectations.

Important: If your Virtual Email Appliance is performing as expected, it is not necessary to run a hardware analysis.

What to do

  1. In VMware, open a console for the Virtual Email Appliance that you want to analyze.
  2. At the command line, type "3" to select Run System Diagnostic Benchmarks from the Network Configuration menu.
  3. Press Enter.

    There will be a delay while the tests run. The results are displayed at the command line.

  4. Compare your benchmarks to the Input/Output and Bandwidth numbers in the table below. The right side of the table shows the Results in messages per second that you can expect with a given virtual configuration, using a default policy.

The following table shows the test results for a virtual appliance running on a 2 quad core with 2.266 GHz Xeon CPUs, 36 GB of RAM, and a SAN-based VMFS filesytem.

Benchmarks Configuration Results
Input/Output Bandwidth Virtual Machine Messages
Per Second


Read Write CPU Memory CPUs Memory Server
166 KB/s 8.59 MB/s 200705 76009 1 512 MB ESX 3.5 14.83
213 KB/s 8.56 MB/s 193040 69880 1 1 GB ESX 3.5 34.44
188 KB/s 9.30 MB/s 392242 127929 2 2 GB ESX 3.5 72.04
138 KB/s 8.03 MB/s 392242 136797 2 3 GB ESX 3.5 78.02
124 KB/s 7.02 MB/s 733177 77072 4 4 GB ESX 3.5 107.11


Note: The benchmark numbers are generated using the ubench and postmark utilities. If you determine that your results are equal to or greater than those stated in the table, your performance is likely within the desired range.

Keep in mind, however, that even if you have a system with comparable hardware, there are many other factors that can influence the test results. For example, a customized policy and the use of features such as Data Loss Prevention and Content Control Lists may have an impact on message throughput.

If you need more information or guidance, then please contact technical support.

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