kthorn
Contributor
Contributor

Increase hard disk space by syncing cloud storage to external drive - or - run VMWare / Win7 off external drive?

Hi all,

I run VMWare Fusion v8.5.8 on MacBook Pro OS Sierra v10.12.5 with Win7 installed. MacBook Pro: (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013); Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7; Memory: 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 Hard disk: 500 GB. Currently allocating 200 GB to VMWare.

On both the Mac OS and Win7 OS I'm syncing selective syncing Dropbox and Google Drive.

My problem is I'm constantly getting "out of space" warnings for both Dropbox and Google. Having to adjust selective sync per project. The challenge is when I have multiple projects that have considerable files that I'm having to turn "off" a folder while I work on one project, and then turn it back "on" again. Oddly, I don't have the same problem on the Mac side.

Two questions:

  1. Is it possible to sync Dropbox and/or Google to an external drive?, or
  2. Can I install VMWare on an external drive and still access/share folders/drives connected to Mac?

I've been using VMWare since v4 and have had zero problems with the client itself! This is more frustrating to workflow than it is VMWare as a tool.

Any help appreciated. Thanks!

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4 Replies
mhampto
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

Here are some options that could work around this issue:

  1. Use the Dropbox/Google Drive only on the Mac side, then share that folder to the VM using VMware Fusion Shared Folders to reduce the the storage required to sync the cloud storage.
  2. You can use a VM from an external hard drive, this is not recommended because of possible performance issues.
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wila
Leadership
Leadership

Hello,

You can use a VM from an external hard drive, this is not recommended because of possible performance issues.

Umm.. well I will just have to disagree with that statement.

There are potential issues with using an external hard drive, but it is not performance issues per se.

In fact if the internal harddisk is slow, like the 4200 rpm disks that they put in some of the mac mini's then you can get a faster VM by running from USB3 (or even better running from lightning).

For example I do exactly that on a mac mini down here, because the internal disk is so agonizing slow.

By spreading the IOPS over multiple disks the VM gets faster and that can be very noticable (it is in my example).

If OTOH your internal disk is an NVMe disk then yes the VM run from an external disk is likely to be slower.

The reason why it is not recommended is that it also increases the risk of data corruption (by quite a bit). If you run your VM and then unplug the cable.. that VM might be corrupted beyond repair. So having good backups is important as is the correctly guessing the chances of having the disk get unplugged by accident.

--

Wil

| Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation and Player |
| More info at vimalin.com | Twitter @wilva
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mhampto
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

Wil,

Valid points on this that I was not thinking of at the time. Thank you.

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wila
Leadership
Leadership

No worries.

I don't like doing the "I'm sorry, but I disagree" kind of post, but had to point out when it actually helps to run of an external disk and what the risks are of using it that way.

Running VMs of a USB disk isn't much of a way to run production. Certainly not if you try running many disks of the same disk, but this isn't vSphere, so it might actually be just fine.

Just don't do it on VMs that your business depends on as in that case investing on faster hardware would make more sense.

--
Wil

| Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation and Player |
| More info at vimalin.com | Twitter @wilva
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