12 Replies Latest reply on Oct 9, 2007 9:25 AM by etung

    Sharing 1 VM

    brocklee Novice

       

      First of all, I am very excited to say that I'll be moving to Mac OS very soon.  However, I am tethered to Windows for my work and I travel.  My plans are to purchase a Mac Pro to use in the office as well as a laptop of some kind.  I spend most of my day working on the desktop and travel 50% of the time.  My work is always in Windows.  Therefore, I always have to contend with sync issues between my desktop and laptop.  What I was hoping to do was to basically run my work off of a virtual machine.  That way, I can basically move my VM back and forth (since it's really a group of files).  I believe I can achieve this via several scenarios which I am not too sure about:

       

       

      1.  Get a MacBook Pro and run bootcamp on it and create an XP partition

       

       

      2.  When I am traveling, and doing my work on my MacBook Pro, I can just boot directly into Windows.

       

       

      3.  Question here is, can I use Fusion on my Mac Pro (desktop) and have it reference/start the Bootcamp image on my laptop via shared directory or whaver if they are on the same network (like they are in my office)?  My guess is no because it's actually a partition and not a file/directory - moreover, I believe Fusion only polls the machine it's physically running on for Bootcamp partitions - please confirm.

       

       

       

       

       

      Another option would be to:

       

       

      1.  Get a MacBook Pro (or any other laptop if Fusion can run on non-Mac-OS platforms) and run Fusion on it and create a VMWare VM of XP on the laptop.

       

       

      2.  Share the drive of the MacBook Pro on the network

       

       

      3.  Run Fusion on the Mac Pro (desktop) and have it use the VM files off of the shared MacBook Pro drive - is this possible?

       

       

      4.  Even if this works, I know I will forever be running a VM instead of native boot (like BootCamp).  I know performance will suffer a bit (hopefully my Mac Pro's 8 cores will make up for that).  Moreover, I know it would have limited driver support on the XP side.

       

       

       

       

       

      What I want to do is use the horsepower behind my Mac Pro when I'm in the office and use the files/OS that is on my laptop so when I travel, all the stuff is there and up to date.

       

       

      Any other suggestions?  Your help is GREATLY appreciated.

       

       

      Best Regards,

       

       

      Brock

       

       

        • 1. Re: Sharing 1 VM
          Guru

          3.  Question here is, can I use Fusion on my Mac Pro (desktop) and have it reference/start the Bootcamp image on my laptop via shared directory or whaver if they are on the same network (like they are in my office)?  My guess is no because it's actually a partition and not a file/directory - moreover, I believe Fusion only polls the machine it's physically running on for Bootcamp partitions - please confirm.

           

          Your guess is correct. A Boot Camp virtual machine actually uses the underlying drive, which you can't do over a network.

           

          1.  Get a MacBook Pro (or any other laptop if Fusion can run on non-Mac-OS platforms) and run Fusion on it and create a VMWare VM of XP on the laptop.

           

          Fusion is only for OS X, but we do have other products for Windows and Linux. Some (Player, Server) are even free. See also A Beginner's Guide to VMware Fusion: Sharing Virtual Machines Between Platforms.

           

          3.  Run Fusion on the Mac Pro (desktop) and have it use the VM files off of the shared MacBook Pro drive - is this possible?

           

          Yes, I think so.

           

          Any other suggestions?  Your help is GREATLY appreciated.

           

          You missed several possibilities:

          1. If you're willing to give up the native boot requirement, make a normal virtual machine that contains all your data and transferring the VM between your desktop/laptop

          2. If you're willing to give up the native boot requirement, as before, but running the virtual machine over the network (slower, but you won't have to transfer the VM).

          3. Keep your data on a flash/external drive.

          4. Use some other synchronization method.

           

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Sharing 1 VM
            brocklee Novice

             

            Hello etung,

             

             

            Thanks for the great tips.  Basically Bootcamp is out of the question for me given the current limitations.  I have some follow up questions.  Please give me your expert opinion.  I spend most of my time on the desktop.

             

            1. I believe one can create a VM image off of a bootcamp partition - can you do the opposite?

            2. Will Fusion ever support reading the bootcamp partition off of a network drive?  Doubt it as you stated, it's a disk partition

            3. If I have a VM image (from Fusion or any other VMware product), can I natively boot to that image on my laptop (e.g. Dell)?  Or do I have to run XP first and then use a viewer to use the VM client on that laptop?  Seems a bit silly but may be a necessity.

            4. What is the speed difference when running in virtual mode?

            5. If I had a gigabit ethernet between my laptop and desktop, will that performance decrease be noticeable when I'm using Fusion on the desktop against the VM stored on the laptop?

             

            Thanks again for your expert advice.

             

             

            Best Regards,

             

             

            Brock

             

             

             

             

             

            • 3. Re: Sharing 1 VM
              Guru
              1. I believe one can create a VM image off of a bootcamp partition - can you do the opposite?

               

              I'm not aware of anyone who's successfully done this with Fusion. There are third-party V2P applications, but I don't think they work with Macs.

               

              1. Will Fusion ever support reading the bootcamp partition off of a network drive?  Doubt it as you stated, it's a disk partition

               

              VMware policy is to not comment on unannounced features or products.

               

              1. If I have a VM image (from Fusion or any other VMware product), can I natively boot to that image on my laptop (e.g. Dell)?  Or do I have to run XP first and then use a viewer to use the VM client on that laptop?  Seems a bit silly but may be a necessity.

               

              You cannot natively boot a virtual machine unless it's a raw partition (such as Boot Camp).

               

              1. What is the speed difference when running in virtual mode?

               

              You need to be more specific - which component? I also tend to want to let other people talk about performance...

               

              1. If I had a gigabit ethernet between my laptop and desktop, will that performance decrease be noticeable when I'm using Fusion on the desktop against the VM stored on the laptop?

               

              No idea, I've never tried. This will also be a subjective judgment and depend on your workload.

               

              Basically you have two conflicting requirements: Native boot and portability. Raw partitions are inherently not very portable, but you've said that native boot is an absolute must-have.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Sharing 1 VM
                brocklee Novice

                 

                Hello etung,

                 

                 

                Native boot is a VERY nice to have but not a deal braker (provided the performance of the VM is acceptable).  I understand that it's purely subjective. 

                 

                 

                With regards to mutli-platform VM support - would I get better results (i.e. less problems) if both my desktop and my laptop are Mac OS and running Fusion?  Versus Fusion on Mac Pro and Player on Dell laptop running XP?

                 

                 

                I know that VMWare and Dell are creating a line of servers with bare-metal hypervisor built into the hardware.  Are there any laptops with such a hypervisor at this time that would allow native boot of an image?  Thanks!

                 

                 

                Best Regards,

                 

                 

                Brock

                 

                 

                • 5. Re: Sharing 1 VM
                  Guru

                  With regards to mutli-platform VM support - would I get better results (i.e. less problems) if both my desktop and my laptop are Mac OS and running Fusion?  Versus Fusion on Mac Pro and Player on Dell laptop running XP?

                   

                  Assuming you're not doing anything too exotic, I'd expect them both to work equally well.

                   

                  I know that VMWare and Dell are creating a line of servers with bare-metal hypervisor built into the hardware.  Are there any laptops with such a hypervisor at this time that would allow native boot of an image?  Thanks!

                   

                  No. Also, I think you're confused - even a bare-metal hypervisior will not enable a native boot if you couldn't already do it, it "just" improves performance and security by removing the host OS.

                   

                  I think you might by trying to optimize your problem too early - give a normal VM a try and see if it works well enough for you.

                  • 6. Re: Sharing 1 VM
                    korpy Enthusiast

                     

                    Hi Brock,

                     

                     

                    I'm a little bit confused about both your switch and your problem/solution. Starting with the first: you say you're excited about moving to  Mac OSX and that  you're dependant on Windwows for your work. You also say you want to run windows  via bootcamp or fusion. My first thought is, why-o-why does he want to swicth, because you don't! I went over to a Mac a couple of months ago, triggered by the availability of fusion. I was/am also dependant on some applications only available under windows (like the virtual infrastructure client!!!! ) but I'm happynot using bootcamp. Fusion doesn't have a notable performance hit (except for beta 1.1) for my windows appliaction, while I'm still able to run any native Mac application. All of my data is saved outside my windows vm on my network or on my mac disk. I can totally mess up my windows vm, restore a snapsnap and not losing any data.

                     

                     

                    That being said. I would not mess with moving around with a virtual machine back and forth between your laptop and your desktop. If data has to be on your laptop I would either create some sync solution (for only the data!) between your laptop and desktop or to use your laptop as a server when inhouse.

                     

                     

                    Either way, I would use fusion to run my windows apps and use a shared folder to access my data. I would never advise bootcamp, because it makes it harder to use MacOS which is a very, very nice OS. It should be right around the corner of your fusion.in my case, I'm finding alternatives for lots of windows apps, and I'm using Windows less and less every day!

                     

                     

                    Good luck!

                     

                     

                    regards -frank-

                     

                     

                    • 7. Re: Sharing 1 VM
                      brocklee Novice

                       

                      Hello etung,

                       

                       

                      Does Fusion or any other desktop VM product from VMWare use Intel VT?

                       

                       

                      Best Regards,

                       

                       

                      Brock

                       

                       

                      • 8. Re: Sharing 1 VM
                        brocklee Novice

                         

                        Hello Korpy,

                         

                         

                        Thanks for the info.  Sorry if I confused you.  I know deep in my heart (and my education background) that Mac OS is 10,000 times better than Windows.  However, I am a software developer and certain tools only work in Windows (and it's power hungry).  However, my favorite pass time is A/V stuff which Mac OS is much better at.  That's why I'm making the switch.  I "need" to run windows for work but I "want" to run Mac OS for everything else.  Get my issue?

                         

                         

                        So your suggestion would be to just run Fusion on Mac Pro desktop against a VM stored on a network drive which happens to be my laptop's shared drive.  From there, I can have my laptop running native XP and use VM player to operate my VM client.  When I travel, obvisouly I don't use Mac OS.  Just work stuff.  That way, I can save a bit of money on buying a Dell instead of a MacBook Pro and put that extra cash in the Mac Pro desktop.

                         

                         

                        Do you see any issues with this?

                         

                         

                        Thanks!

                         

                         

                        Brock

                         

                         

                        • 9. Re: Sharing 1 VM
                          Guru

                          Does Fusion or any other desktop VM product from VMWare use Intel VT?

                           

                          Yes, but we've found that the current generation of hardware assisted virtualization is actually slower for 32-bit guests (it's necessary for 64-bit guest to work at all). It's possible to force VT usage if you want.

                           

                          So your suggestion would be to just run Fusion on Mac Pro desktop against a VM stored on a network drive which happens to be my laptop's shared drive.

                           

                          I don't forsee any problem with not using a Mac laptop. Be sure to use either Player 2 or Workstation 6 on the laptop to avoid virtual hardware version issues, and a split disk format for maximum filesystem compatibility. If performance is not sufficient you could try keeping the VM or just the data on an external drive or use some other sync method.

                          • 10. Re: Sharing 1 VM
                            korpy Enthusiast

                            Hi Brock,

                            So your suggestion would be to just run Fusion on Mac Pro desktop against a VM stored on a network drive which happens to be my laptop's shared drive.  From there, I can have my laptop running native XP and use VM player to operate my VM client.

                            Not exactly. I would not recommend storing a vm on the other end of an ethernet cable (unless it's iSCSI on an esx server ) I would run the virtual machine localy and get only the data from elsewhere. This way you have a virtual machine on both your machines and the data on a share on your laptop. If you ever update a program on your desktop-vm, you could copy that vm to your laptop so it's available over there too, but that would only be every now and then....

                             

                             

                            regards -frank-

                            • 11. Re: Sharing 1 VM
                              brocklee Novice

                               

                              Hello etung,

                               

                               

                              Thanks.  I heard (as well as per your responses) that VMWare has several free offerings - Player 2 I know.  But Player 2 will only use but not create a new VM.  What other products can I use to create a VM which is free?  I want to see what the performance is like first before diving in.  Thanks!

                               

                               

                              Best Regards,

                               

                               

                              Brock

                               

                               

                              • 12. Re: Sharing 1 VM
                                Guru

                                Server is free, but it creates the previous generation of virtual hardware. You could also try a virtual appliance or a third-party tool for creating a virtual machine such as EasyVMX or VMX Builder (I'm sure there are more). Also, there are time-limited trial versions of Fusion and Workstation.