analysis of post..... done
possible bottlenecks in this setup...listed
a) filer side I/O
b) network side Througput
c) host system memory & cpu management
d) VMware host setup
e) VMware guest setup
sorting in order if likehood based on personal experience...skipped...
begin of human interaction...
let us assume the netapp is the problem, i would start looking at the raid group design
if i had found out about netapp-sided disk i/o shortcomings.
(one way to find out is to open a support case, and run the 'perfstat' analysis tool over the installation)
if you have a large raidgroup on which the aggregate, and subsequently volumes resides - then you have
a better disk i/o in comparision to having several small raidgroups - due to the combination of spindles and r/w heads.
This is true only to a certain extend (imagine a logarytmic curve).
However, direct access of data (you refer to your laptops sata drive) may still be faster than any kind of access through a network
no matter how expensive your storage backend is. Despite Network bandwidht limitations, you get also the protocol overhead
from SMB (most overhead) or NFS (least overhead).
("user wants file, is he allowed to? dont ask me, ask DC. Read, write or change? dunno, lemme ask DC..... DC says change... check.. ok lets give him that file.... check")
The good news is, your data is protected by industry proven raid technology (unfortunately you have 0 spares, which kind of takes this feature away,
after a disk fail your volume will be "degraded" 24hrs later in order to protect your data - it goes to read only. Yes, its tweakable, no i wouldnt do it.
A more spohisticated answer is difficult, the beauty of a filer is many can use it at same time, and still get a decent speed.
try having 500 users access that single laptop-sata drive
Support case may give you certainity whether there is anything tweakable on the netapp.
If you run ESX server, then there would be a number of things to verify for "best practises" as well. But it was
not entirely clear what vmware software youre using.
Probably not the best Answer one can give, but i figured i cannot let your question remain