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My WVD Azure v3 Haswell Instance is now Skylake…What’s up?

It’s like pulling the handle on the slot machines at the casino.

Could you win big if your VM lands on a hypervisor with a Skylake processor (2019 Intel Gen 6), or even better, a Cascade Lake processor?

I guess that could also change after a reboot when the VM could also be moved to a hypervisor with a Haswell (2013 Intel Gen 4) processor. This matters if the latest and greatest processors provide better performance. It could also be that the best processor frequency gives you the best performance. Either way, a processor change between reboots could have you wondering how it will affect performance.

The Scoop

Lately, I’ve been doing some performance testing on both Azure D-series v3 and v4 instances and noticed something interesting when it came to the v3 instances. In some places (see below), you might read that the v3 instances are based on Haswell (2.4GHz), Broadwell (2.3GHz), Skylake (2.1GHz), or Cascade Lake (2.5GHz) processors.

Login VSI Blog - My WVD Azure v3 Haswell Instance is now Skylake…What’s up? - Image 1

Microsoft Documentation on v3 processors

In other places it doesn’t really mention it (see below)…

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Microsoft’s other documentation on v3 processors

Let’s Find Out What’s Up

Testing is one way to find out what is happening. Testing between reboots and benchmarking the machine’s performance is the best way to get the answers you are looking for, and it is relatively easy to find out. First here’s how I find out what processor my instance is running on. I ran a tool from CPUID called CPU-Z, which will query the processor for the information we are looking for. When I ran CPU-Z on my D4s v3 after building the machine, I saw that I was running on Haswell (see below)

Login VSI Blog - My WVD Azure v3 Haswell Instance is now Skylake…What’s up? - Image 3

CPU-Z will query the processor for the information we are looking for

After several reboots and some performance testing, I checked again, and guess what… it changed (see below)

Login VSI Blog - My WVD Azure v3 Haswell Instance is now Skylake…What’s up? - Image 4

Things changed after several reboots and performance testing

Why Does It Matter?

It might not matter because you might not be pushing the system very hard, or Microsoft has done an excellent job of keeping the performance similar no matter which CPU you might be running on.

In WVD, Windows 10 Enterprise Multi-session is a shared host for desktops and applications where the more sessions a host can support, the lower your cost is for Azure. And, it is easy to push the CPU to its limits with this workload. If that is the case, I want to optimize and maximize the system's performance to limit the number of v3 machine instances I will be paying for. I also want to check to make that processor performance is the same, no matter which CPU I land on.

The Rest of the Story

I know my base processor has changed, but I will still be doing more testing to see if the performance varies as well. Stay tuned for more…

Thanks for reading my blog. Stay happy and healthy, and please share.

About the author

Blair Parkhill (@SANspyder) joined Login VSI in the summer of 2015 as the director of products. Blair has been a marketing leader, avid architect and supporter of customer-focused technology solutions and technical marketing since the late 1990s. Residing in tiny homes located in the mountains of Colorado and jungles of Costa Rica, he tries to spend as much time as he can traveling, playing music, exploring the jungle, walking on beaches, and hiking in the mountains – when he’s not playing with the product, geeking out with the latest tech, presenting, testing or blogging.