High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2010 12:27 PM by CoreyRoth

When my laptop was stolen, I was forced to rebuild a number of Virtual Machines since my new external hard disk had not come in yet for me to back them up.  On my previous laptop, I was running VirtualBox 3.1.8 and my SharePoint 2010 images worked great.  When I got my new laptop, I decided to grab the latest version (at the time 3.2.4).  I noticed immediately that the product was rebranded from Sun VirtualBox to Oracle VirtualBox.  I did have a few existing virtual hard disks in various formats (.vhd and .vmdx) so I created new virtual machines and attached them as normal.  I tried to boot each one of them only to immediately receive a BSoD with a STOP error of 0x0000007F.  At some point during this process, 3.2.6 came out, so I decided to upgrade.  No change.  After doing some research, I discovered this was hard disk controller based.  I looked at my settings and realized that VirtualBox 3.2 had implemented a SATA controller and the hard disk was attached to it.  I finally tracked down one of my existing configuration files to confirm that my hard disk previously were attached as IDE (PIIX4 to be specific).  I reattached the hard disks to IDE and they booted fine.

On my new SharePoint 2010 RTM image (Windows Server 2008 R2 x64), I noticed it wasn’t performing very well.  I wondered if it had something to do with the hard disk controller, but I quickly ruled that out.  What I discovered is that my CPU Utilization was almost always maxed out on the guest (the host OS was fine).  The executables sqlserver.exe, owstimer.exe, and various w3wp.exe processes were consuming most of the memory.  I figured it had some jobs that needed to run and let it sit overnight and the CPU utilization appeared to go down in the morning.  However, as soon as I sent a single page request, the CPUs were pegged out at 100% again.  The VM was pretty much unusable.  I did some research and couldn’t find anything that helped.  In a last ditch effort, I uninstalled 3.2.6 and went back and found version 3.1.8.  I installed it, attached the same virtual hard disks, and the CPU utilization issue has been gone ever since.  During the process I built another separate Virtual Machine and it had the same issue as well.  Maybe it is just my issue or something else, but for now I am avoiding version 3.2.6 of VirtualBox.  I haven’t had a single issue with the product yet, so this was a shock to me.  I’m wondering if anyone else has had issues.  I will continue to use the product but I will be skeptical of any product upgrades until I see some mention of this issue.

Comments

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 1:04 PM by Matt Peters

Random question.. what made you decide to use VirtualBox for your VMs instead of Microsoft Virtual PC or VMWare?  

I'm wondering if I should consider switching.. I currently use Virtual PC on my work laptop and VMWare Fusion at home on my Mac.  

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Thursday, July 8, 2010 2:55 AM by Andrew Wolfe

They also seem to have changed the default network card to one the Server 2008R2 doesn't seem to know.

It really hasn't taken Oracle very long to trash a brilliant product.  I wonder (I don't really as we all know) what there motivation could be for making it not work so well

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Thursday, July 8, 2010 12:27 PM by Mark Schneeberger

Boy, am I glad I'm not the only one. I have been receiving the same performance issues on v 3.2.4. I'll download v 3.1.8 and will let you know how it goes.

Cheers

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Friday, July 9, 2010 10:33 AM by CoreyRoth

@Mark After further research, I have noticed performance improve some in 3.1.8.  A colleague of mine went all the way back to 2.2 to improve performance.  However, the latest thing I have noticed is that emulating one virtual CPU runs much better than emulating multiple.

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Monday, July 12, 2010 6:33 PM by Thomas Young

I landed on this blog Googling high CPU util in virtualbox. I'm experiencing the same issue described here, but with a twist. i built a fresh Ubuntu 10.04 VM with VirtualBox on XP. At first, performance seemed find. On the third boot or so, cpu utilization spiked. Actually, the whole boot sequence slowed way down, even before getting to OS load.

The Host OS is idle. The only thing using any significant CPU is VirtualBox. There's no resource contention on the Host and I'm only running one VM.

So, to make things even weirder. I tried restarting the guest several times, and on one reboot, it came up speedy. CPU utilization in the guest was fine. I'm talking about a twenty second boot sequence instead of five minutes. I was able to reproduce this once more, but now I'm unable to get it to go fast again.

Very quirky indeed. I'm going to try downgrading to 3.18 and see if that's better.

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 11:42 PM by Mark Schneeberger

Right, so I've setup a VM in Virtual box 3.1.8. Emulating one CPU has worked ok but the performance could be better. I can hardly access SharePoint 2010 once I allocate multiple CPUs to the guest.

I then tried VMware Player and have received excellent performance with multiple CPUs. VMware Player is free but can only be used in a personal capacity (i.e. non-commercial)

The reason for not using Virtual PC is that it does not support 64-bit software. The VM I needed to create included Win 2008 R2 Enterprise, SharePoint 2010 Enterprise, SQL 2008 R2 Enterprise, PowerPivot add-ins for SharePoint and MS Office 2010.

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 3:51 PM by CoreyRoth

@Mark I'm pretty much in the same boat.  I never had an issue on my previous VMs hosted on my last computer, but since i have received this new laptop and installed SharePoint on the same base VM as before, performance isn't great.  

One CPU is somewhat tolerable, but the CPU still spikes out easily (just by submitting a single page request).

So next on my list is try version 2.2 as my colleague had or try VMWare Player (which I'm not a huge fan of).

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Thursday, July 15, 2010 4:56 PM by CoreyRoth

I decided to downgrade again to 3.0.14 and can I say the performance difference is significant.  3.0.14 performs way better than anything else I have tried so far.  My CPU utilization actually hits 0% at times.  I've never seen it below 30% ever on any of the other builds I have tried.  I'm hoping it stays that way, but it has been working pretty well so far today.

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 10:28 AM by spex66

Hi,

I'm really happy to found your information, that it is not all about me. My MSFT IW 2010-7a images are working *incredible* slow. 4 cores and 8GB attached :-/

Only reason that I didn't run Hyper-V is that my new HP 8540w seems to have an issue with i7 CPU running Hyper-V.

Throwing BSoD: “A clock interrupt was not received on a secondary processor within an allocated time”

I just need a working virtualization.. sigh

(=PA=)

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 9:10 AM by Chris Breitner

I've been experiencing the same problem, and came up with a workaround: stop and disable the SharePoint Server Search service. My development doesn't rely on search, so I'm okay for now.  CPU utilization and disk read/writes down to such a degree that the VM is actually comfortable to use.

Chris

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 1:52 PM by Nicholas McCready

Has anyone tested 3.2.8 to see if this is fixed. I know you are all dying to leave your reliable 3.0.14 :)

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 2:10 PM by CoreyRoth

@Nicholas Nope!  I haven't tried it yet.  Would love to have some of the 3.2.8 features but I am afraid to break what I have that is working. :-)  If anyone tries it, please give us a report.

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 3:13 PM by Nicholas McCready

I just tried it and it seems pretty good. Only issue is Oracle seems they can't get their head of their butt on the monitor issues. Only issue I have now is on a second monitor full screen does not work. But it does seem speedy with no thrashing. Woot!!!

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 3:40 PM by CoreyRoth

@Nicholas Hey, that's good news!  Of course I thought that things were working good with specific versions before. :-)  I may still give it a try soon.  Thanks for the report.

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 4:15 PM by TheManFran

I installed 3.2.8 and I still have the problem. Guest is maxed out the whole time. Infact I find it worse then 3.2.6. That damn Oracle logos fault.

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 9:50 PM by Funky

I'm also seeing the same issue that spex66 mentioned: "Throwing BSoD: “A clock interrupt was not received on a secondary processor within an allocated time”"

This is on my HP 8540w laptop running Server 2008 R2 and HyperV.  Spex (or others) - did anyone resolve the issue with this BSOD or sort out a workaround?

Thanks!

Funk

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 1:23 AM by James

Hi Guys,

I have the same problem, on the latest version 3.2.8

Allocated 4 GB RAM,

4 CPU's and a standalone sharepoint environment is 100% CPU all the time.

I will be trying to downgrade.

ORACLE? Do you have anything to report on this issue?

Cheers

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 6:05 PM by James

Seems the downgrade to 3.1.8 has not worked, the CPU is still maxing out at 100%.  If anyone has a solution please share it with us.

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Thursday, September 2, 2010 8:59 AM by CoreyRoth

I seem to have the best luck still with 3.0.14.  It's still has moments of high CPU spikes but not nearly as bad as the newer versions.

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 10:22 PM by EdwardW

Great to see this discussion.  I have had the exact same problem.  Let me add to this already messy issue.  I had been using 3.2.8 for a while, with an AMD Athlon 64 x2 with 8GB RAM, it was doing ok actually, CPU keeping at 80%.  I got greedy and upgraded the CPU to AMD Phenom II x4, and it bundles with the CPU problem.  :(  I have tried downgrading to 3.1 version and had no luck.  i am now trying 3.0 and moving up the chain.  Sometimes i wonder it has to do with the CPU.  Any idea?

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 8:41 AM by CoreyRoth

@EdwardW You know host CPU might have been related for me.  I never remember having any issue on my previous laptop which I believe was some kind of Core 2 Duo.  When I got my new laptop which is an i5, I have nothing but trouble with the guest CPU.

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 9:38 AM by Nicholas McCready

Yah the problem is intermittent for me, it comes and goes. Corey I also have an a newer processor (i7) 8 cores! Still got issues sometimes!

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Saturday, September 11, 2010 12:53 AM by EdwardW

After playing around with different versions, and many hours of trials, I might have found the source of trouble.  I now have a pretty stable (at guest CPU Util at 10% when idle, and it does not stay at 100% when hitting SQL.  I am even assigning 2-core processors!  FYI, i had disabled nested paging, this seems to be giving the 100% cpu.  See if it helps you too.

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Monday, September 13, 2010 8:51 AM by CoreyRoth

@EdwardW I guess I need to try turning off nested paging as well on a newer version and see how the performance changes.  Thanks for the hard work.  I know we're all excited to get VM performance back where it was.

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Monday, September 20, 2010 10:00 PM by Richard Echeandia

Let me add to the voices that stepping the VPUs down from 2 to 1 dramatically reduced the amount of CPU in use with 3.2.8.   With 2, its 100% CPU, 100% of the time. Knock that down to one and its usable.    Now to downgrade my version of VirtualBox....

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 1:47 PM by CoreyRoth

@EdwardW Thanks again for the info on the nested paging fix.  I've tried it with 3.2.8 and so far things are looking good.  I'm not pronouncing judgement yet since I thought things were better and I've gotten burned. :)  However, it definitely seems to be looking better.

# re: High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox 3.2.6 and other issues

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 3:18 PM by CoreyRoth

@EdwardW A day later and things are looking great.  For those that are not familiar with the setting see this quick post I wrote up on it.  Thanks again!

www.dotnetmafia.com/.../fix-high-guest-cpu-utilization-in-virtualbox-by-disabling-nested-paging.aspx

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