Memory Resource Management in VMware

October 27, 2010

Memory ManagementAdvanced memory resource management is one of the key features that sets VMware apart from its competitors.  However, understanding these techniques can be like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.
Fortunately, the information that you need is already available on the web.  In this post, I link to some of the best resources to help you quickly understand VMware memory management (MM).

VMware’s guide to Understanding Memory Resource Management in VMware ESX 4.1 (

This is absolutely the best place find everything that you need to know about how VMware manages memory. It covers how ESX abstracts physical memory pages from VMs, all of the MM techniques (Transparent Page Sharing, ballooning, host swapping and compression) and tests showing the effects of MM on application performance.

The rest of the links are supplements to this white paper or best practices for utilizing MM.

VirtualCenter Memory Statistic Definitions (

This document is a great reference for keeping straight all of the memory statistics available in VirtualCenter.  It also has a nice description of the distinction between Memory Granted/Consumed and Memory Shared/Common.

Java in VM on VMware: Best Practices (

This white paper is specifically focused on Java applications, however the majority of the best practices are related to memory tuning. Included are techniques to help ensure the JVM heap stays in physical memory and improving JVM performance by  5% – 20% by setting VM and JVM to use large memory pages.

Impact of Memory Reservation (

As the title suggests, this article gives a good overview of the affect of setting memory reservations.

Virtual Machine Memory Overhead (

A bit more detail on the memory overhead associated with VMs.

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