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Hello,

I'm new and quite eager to get going with a VMware Workstation solution. My question:

I am a Visual Studio developer presently running 4 machines via a KVM switch (Fedora Linux, Windows 2003 Standard Server, Plain XP Pro for installation test and a XP Pro for development.

I just discovered VMware solution today (hmm, where were I for all those years? coding I guess :>)

I'm getting a new computer with Intel Quad Core Q6600 with 4GB DDR2-800 RAM and 2 500GB SATA2 drives and two 24" LG monitors (for dual monitor arrangement).

Can I pack all those four computers into this new system? Would 4GB RAM is adequate? What's about performance? I wanted a new system to shorten the delay with Visual Studio 2008. Would it slow down much?

Any suggestion, idea is quite welcomed and appreciated

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Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I am running VMWare WS 6.02 on a new Quad X5365 with 4 GB RAM and running a Linux 64Bit host. You should have no problems, depending on how much RAM you give each VM. I usually give W2K 256 MB, XP 512MB, W2003 512MB (Sharepoint server, 1GB), and Vista, with VS2008, 1GB. I typically run 2-3 VM's at a time. I am running VS2008 in a Vista VM with 1GB of RAM and compile times seem faster than a 2Ghz laptop with Core 2 duo, running native.I have not benchmarked.

error messages pop up about the same Smiley Happy

You can always add more RAM. I don't see any difference in performance when 3 VM's are running versus 1. I suppose that, if I did a bunch of disk intensive stuff at the same time, that would impact performance. Mostly, I run VS2008 in the Vista machine while administrating 3 different networks via a W2K VM and another Vista VM, over VPN connections. Here, Internet access is my bottleneck. I occasionally use a W2003 VM for Sharepoint testing and another for Domain server (PDC) testing. Rarely at the same time. I try to keep the most used VM's on different hard drives.

Prior to this system, I was running a dual Xeon 2.8 Ghz system and the Quad Core is a little faster.

As someone already pointed out, to use all 4GB you should use a 64 bit host, especially if you are running Windows. This system came with 64 bit XP, but I installed 64 bit OpenSUSE 10.3 ( I have also tried Ubuntu 64 bit).

Assuming you never run out of RAM, the performance block will be hard drive speed. I had been using 15K RPM SCSI drives, but the new system came with the new SATA drives connected to a SAS controller (I will probably add SAS 15K drives later) and disk performance, measured with hdparm, is comparable to the old system with the 15K SCSI's). By contrast, an older SATA drive performs at about 60% the overall speed of the new ones. I use old ones (removable tray) for backup.

Lou

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Hot Shot
Hot Shot

I am a Visual Studio developer presently running 4 machines via a KVM switch (Fedora Linux, Windows 2003 Standard Server, Plain XP Pro for installation test and a XP Pro for development.

I just discovered VMware solution today (hmm, where were I for all those years? coding I guess :>)

I'm getting a new computer with Intel Quad Core Q6600 with 4GB DDR2-800 RAM and 2 500GB SATA2 drives and two 24" LG monitors (for dual monitor arrangement).

Can I pack all those four computers into this new system? Would 4GB RAM is adequate? What's about performance? I wanted a new system to shorten the delay with Visual Studio 2008. Would it slow down much?

What Host Operating System? 32 bit Windows systems can only see about 3.5GB of RAM. That being said, your system should be fine for what you are doing. You can suspend VMs that are needed right away, but they can resume quickly. VMware workstation 6 has integrated debugging features with Visual Studio that you may find to be quite handy.

Another huge advantage to VMware is the ability to take a snapshot. Before you install a new build, click snapshot, if the install doesn't go as planned then revert to snapshot and the VM goes back to exactly the way it was. Workstation allows for multiple snapshots.

The performance hit is not that significant since it is a virtualization, not an emulation. You may want to code on the host though. Compiling could use all four cores.

Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I am running VMWare WS 6.02 on a new Quad X5365 with 4 GB RAM and running a Linux 64Bit host. You should have no problems, depending on how much RAM you give each VM. I usually give W2K 256 MB, XP 512MB, W2003 512MB (Sharepoint server, 1GB), and Vista, with VS2008, 1GB. I typically run 2-3 VM's at a time. I am running VS2008 in a Vista VM with 1GB of RAM and compile times seem faster than a 2Ghz laptop with Core 2 duo, running native.I have not benchmarked.

error messages pop up about the same Smiley Happy

You can always add more RAM. I don't see any difference in performance when 3 VM's are running versus 1. I suppose that, if I did a bunch of disk intensive stuff at the same time, that would impact performance. Mostly, I run VS2008 in the Vista machine while administrating 3 different networks via a W2K VM and another Vista VM, over VPN connections. Here, Internet access is my bottleneck. I occasionally use a W2003 VM for Sharepoint testing and another for Domain server (PDC) testing. Rarely at the same time. I try to keep the most used VM's on different hard drives.

Prior to this system, I was running a dual Xeon 2.8 Ghz system and the Quad Core is a little faster.

As someone already pointed out, to use all 4GB you should use a 64 bit host, especially if you are running Windows. This system came with 64 bit XP, but I installed 64 bit OpenSUSE 10.3 ( I have also tried Ubuntu 64 bit).

Assuming you never run out of RAM, the performance block will be hard drive speed. I had been using 15K RPM SCSI drives, but the new system came with the new SATA drives connected to a SAS controller (I will probably add SAS 15K drives later) and disk performance, measured with hdparm, is comparable to the old system with the 15K SCSI's). By contrast, an older SATA drive performs at about 60% the overall speed of the new ones. I use old ones (removable tray) for backup.

Lou

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Contributor
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Thank you Clayton.

My host operating system would be XP Pro. And now that you've mentioned, I'll venture out of my way with XP Pro 64bit. Any word on the problem with XP 64-bit?

If I can reduce 4 computers to one I probably can add more RAM to it (12B?).

Do you forsee any problem with having Windows 2003 Server as a VM?

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Contributor
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Thank you Lou.

I am curious (if you don't mind me asking) that why you would use Linux 64bit as host o/s. I thought the mostly used O/S would be the host and you use mostly Visual Studio 2008?

Your configuration is very much similar to what I planned/have.

- My current XP is running on U320 SCSI 36GB 15000rpm Cheetah with a SATA2 second drive to host source codes, data, etc. I'm unsure if I'd replaced this SCSI drive with the Western Digital SATA2. Is SATA2 and SATA 15K same? I'm not sure which one is faster (for development works) and thinking of running some benchmark.

- What is your experience with using Vista (which one?) with Visual Studio 2008? Would you recommend that? I have an MSDN Pro subscription that I can use to install any flavor of Vista. I did not see a Vista 64-bit o/s. Can Vista access more than 4GB RAM?

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Virtuoso
Virtuoso

>I am curious (if you don't mind me asking) that why you would use Linux 64bit as host o/s. I thought the mostly used O/S would be the host and you use mostly Visual Studio 2008?

I don't mind......

1. I do not run any AV programs which slow down all disk operations, if you have them set for disk protection. My ISP where my web site is, scans all email. Probably very subjective but the machine seems to multitask better in Linux.

2. It is easier to limit resource use by removing bloatware. Yes, some distro's add bloatware.

3. I change configurations a lot and don't have to worry about activating anything. (activation frequency in Vista VM's can be a problem)

4. I enjoy the challenge. It reminds me of my days in the service Smiley Happy

5. No zealot feelings here, most of my work is on Windows systems.

I would not run VS2008 in a real machine anyway, most of my work has to do with the OS and registry and such and I would never test MY software on my host system. I am working on a project using the Volume Shadow copy Services API's. I can destroy an OS in a keystroke. I do run VMWare in a laptop running Vista some of the time, new laptops are a challenge with Linux. This one runs OpenSUSE pretty well but I have not gotten it to do dual monitors satisfactorily. I still do development in a VM on it as well.

I installed a 39160 SCSI controller in this system (I didn't have a 320) and connected a 72 GB, 15,000 RPM drive to it. The hdparm results are almost the same as the SATA 3 or whatever model the new ones are.If there is an advantage in SCSI these days, it is primarily in overlapped operations... like maybe multiple VM's.I will test a 15K SAS drive as this system has a SAS controller built in. Probably won't bother with RAID although the Linux software RAIDs are almost transparent. We have a file server running a (Linux) SAMBA server on a software RAID and performance is very good. That system has vanilla SATA drives but the load is pretty light.

If you want to use RAM above 3.5GB, you will need to run the 64 bit version of Vista. That is not really a Vista or XP or whatever thing, it is a 32 bit addressing thing. I have a copy of Vista Ultimate that I won in a meeting and it has both 32 and 64 bit. I have not even opened it. I do all my testing on Vista Business. I am not sure if there is a 64 bit version of anything below Ultimate.

Word of caution: If you have to activate your version of Vista, do not do so until you have your VM just the way you want it with RAM, number of hard drives, CD/DVD drives and any other configuration stuff. I create System Snapshots and mount them as drive letters (during testing) and every now and then Vista gets mad and wants me to re-activate.

Lou

AAAAA: The Organization for Drunk Drivers

Hot Shot
Hot Shot

  • What is your experience with using Vista (which one?) with Visual Studio 2008? Would you recommend that? I have an MSDN Pro subscription that I can use to install any flavor of Vista. I did not see a Vista 64-bit o/s. Can Vista access more than 4GB RAM?

The main problems with 64-bit Windows is driver support. Vista 64 bit can access more than 4GB of RAM, but not the 32-bit version. Personally, I would use XP 64 for the host, unless you like the Aero eye-candy, or Linux as louyo recommended. Note that there are two different licenses for VMware workstation for Linux and Windows, and they are not interchangeable. There is the free VMware server for each OS as well, but it doesn't have as many features specific for a developer and the Windows version requires a server host OS. If going for workstation the Virtual Studio integrated debugging feature may only exist in the Windows version.

Server 2003 runs fine in a VM. The dozens of 2003 production VMs I've supported have worked well.

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Virtuoso
Virtuoso

>Personally, I would use XP 64 for the host, unless you like the Aero eye-candy, or Linux

Good advice. If you must host with Windows, I would also choose XP 64bit and do Vista development in a Vista VM. 64 bit drivers can be a challenge, make sure your video card has 64 bit drivers with a good track record. Google is your friend.

Lou

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