Virtual Machine Speed Tips

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The last time you used a Virtual Machine for anything, how frustrated did you get over how slow everything is? Did it make you curse, or want to give up? Well, here are some tips from a reader to help you speed up the state of your VM, and make you a much happier Geek.

  • Store Virtual machines on separate drive. One of the biggest performance bottlenecks in VMs is the Disk I/O rate. You can greatly improve vm performance by storing your virtual machines on a separate hard drive other than your boot drive. Sorry storing your VMs on the same drive on a different partition wont do it.
  • Don’t pay for anything you can get for free. Alot of VM software costs a good bit of money. Microsoft offers their Virtual PC 2007 as a free download, as does innotek who offers virtual box as a free download. VMware is the leader in VM technology, they offer VMware Server for free, it is kind of a half way between VMware workstation and VMware ESX. VMware server is available for windows and Linux Operating Systems.
  • Test new software on a Virtual Machine. Instead of trying new software on your primary computer, create a virtual machine and test it on that. VMware server offers a snapshot feature that lets you create rollback points that you can use to restore your Test VM in case something goes wrong or you don’t like the software. if you have a lot of extra hard drive space you can also convert your operating environment to virtual and use that to test with. if not next time you reformat you can always use vmware converter to create a clean version of your system in VMware. Symantec ghost also allows you to convert a ghost image to a virtual machine.
  • Always install Virtual Tools. The Virtual Tools make working with vm machines a lot easier. They provide special drivers for input, video, network , and other system devices that improve performance. it also allows you to move your cursor back and forth between your host and virtual machine with out having to manually change focus.
  • Run resource heavy development servers in Vmware. If you are a developer who likes having a test environment (LAMP, Oracle DB, Tomcat JSP,etc) on there primary machine, but don’t want to have it drag down your system when your not using it. try setting it up in a vm, with networking and only turn it on when needed. And then FTP, SSH,or HTTP into it to do what you need to. and then shut it down when you don’t need it.

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