Icon View Thread

The following is the text of the current message along with any replies.
Messages 1 to 10 of 24 total
Thread VMWare Revisited
Sun, Apr 22 2007 11:54 AMPermanent Link

"Johnnie Norsworthy"
Previous readers will remember me posting a message about how nice VMWare
was and how I loved it for developing. Back then I thought it was better
than both sliced bread and beer. Here is a message about my longer term
experience.

Now that I have used VMWare 5 a few months I am a bit disappointed. I have
decided to go back to my old ways of installing IDEs on my local drive and
just maintaining other drives with my source code and other work files.  So
twice a year I'll be reinstalling my development computer.

Here's why:

1. Speed. I didn't realize the difference until I reinstalled D7 out of a VM
and ran it. But I now realize how much productivity I gain by not having the
IDE in a VM. I would regularly pause my VMs and restart them, which was
better than always closing windows, but startup was still slow. After the VM
was loaded, my IDEs were noticable slow (even when only one VM was running
and nothing else on my 1.5GB of memory 2.8GHZ machine). I think someone
programming notices even a 5% speed difference much better than other users.

2. File sharing. I had all kinds of problems trying to keep my source code
out of the VM and on a shared drive. It was either very slow or would
occasionally just lose the connection and could not access the shred drive.
Keep in mind I have a large hard drive partitioned to three drives, and at
times three external drives attached via USB. But I never, never used my USB
drives in a VM.

3. Backup. I was trying to backup my VMs to an external drive and later to
DVDs as a permanent archive. Well, in every case it seems a VM would not fit
on a single DVD unless I compressed it first, and I don't like compressing
my backups because it takes a long time and because I feel it is less
reliable. My "work" backup now is a single DVD which holds all of my
clients' source code, all my emails and other irreplaceable documents.

4. Screen Real Estate. The VM manager does take up a little more room on the
screen, though that could be minimized or removed. But hiding all the VM
manager windows makes it a bit less usuable. And we all know how programmers
love their screen space. VMWare 6, I have read, will allow using my multiple
monitors, but reasons 1-3 are too important to ignore.

5. GUI. To get the most out of a VM you have to not use some things I like,
like ClearType.

6. Testing. I am sure that testing my program in Windows 98 and other OSs
using a VM would be a good thing, but I never did it anyway. Being a one man
coding factory usually means a bit less testing than a bigger shop. I never
got around to installing Vista anyway. I am about to email all my customers
and tell them I won't be supporting anything before Windows 2000 in future
programs. So for other OS testing and debugging, thank heavens I use
madExcept.

So I am back to a "Program/OS" drive, a "Data" drive and an "Other" drive
and don't regret going back at all. I have removed all VMWare programs and
all virtual machines from my computer for now, until I find a compelling
reason to go back.

I can see many, many uses for VMs, but it ended up not being right for me.

-Johnnie

Mon, Apr 23 2007 6:39 AMPermanent Link

"Adam H."
While on the subject of Virtual Machines - just in case anyone's not aware -
Microsoft have released their version - Virtual PC as a free download direct
from their website now.

Cheers

Adam.

Tue, Apr 24 2007 3:35 AMPermanent Link

In article <3E412F5B-FB94-49F6-B68C-FB6BDA9AE788@news.elevatesoft.com>,
jln206@verizon.net (Johnnie Norsworthy) wrote various comments about
VMWare:

In which case you are lucky not to have to support a Delphi5 app using
DBISAM 3, a D5 app using DBISAM 1(!!), a D2006 app using DBISAM 4, a
D2007 app using (v soon) ElevateDB etc. And, of course, they all use
numerous combinations and versions of ReportBuilder, DevExpress,
CodeSite, TMS etc etc.

> 1. Speed.
On a 2GHz AMD (single core) + 2Gb I don't find speed to be an issue.
Yes, it's (probably) slower, but only a tiny bit and no way does it
affect my productivity (maybe I'm a slow worker Smile It's worth the
speed cost for all the other benefits.

> 2. File sharing.
Never had this problem but, even so - keep the source in a source code
repository and check it out to the VM, even in a single developer
situation. So very much safer and much more useful.

> 3. Backup.
See above re source code. But at least with a VM you *can* do a backup of
the *whole* environment for an individual project, even if it is big.

> 4. Screen Real Estate.
Granted dual monitor support may be useful (although I haven't tried it
even though I'm using VM 6 beta) but hit F11 in the VM and use it full
screen on a single monitor - no problems.
I tend to use the main screen for a fullscreen VM with the second
monitor for other (local machine) working stuff, eg help file, MS SDK
docs, CodeSite viewer, web browser etc

> 5. GUI. To get the most out of a VM you have to not use some things I
> like, like ClearType.
I've no idea here

> 6. Testing.
....and debugging when the client tells you they have XYZ OS with IE
version N and Outlook version O and Office version P along with numerous
other older versions.

Not to mention the fact that you can create a snapshot then install
samples, trial versions, upgrades and easily uninstall them if it all
goes pear shaped just by reverting to the original snapshot.

I have no affiliation with VMWare but I couldn't imagine having to go
back to developing without it.

Just my thoughts from the opposite angle Smile

Steve
Tue, Apr 24 2007 5:01 AMPermanent Link

> Here's why:
>
> 1. Speed. I didn't realize the difference until I reinstalled D7 out of
> [snip] I think someone
> programming notices even a 5% speed difference much better than other
> users.

5% can be lost in many ways, but yes there may be a small speed loss.

> 2. File sharing. [snip] or would
> occasionally just lose the connection and could not access the shred
> drive.

I suspect that the main issue here is that suspending you mention. The
idea of a PC processor stopping at the end of a clock cycle, waiting a day
or two, and then ticking again and having it still work at all is simply
stunning. But expecting things like network connections to be happy with
this is pushing it a little hard IMO. There are bound to be issues when a
network was quite happy one clock cycle ago, and the next clock cycle the
remote PC appears to have been in a time warp and moved on a few million
seconds and forgotten all about the other.

> 3. Backup. [snip] Well, in every case it seems a VM would
> not fit on a single DVD unless I compressed it first [snip]

I always make sure my VMs are created with the 2Gb file version of disks
for this very reason.


> 4. Screen Real Estate. [snip]

Yes, though you can put it in full screen mode too.

> 5. GUI. To get the most out of a VM you have to not use some things I
> like, like ClearType.

I'd say that was a benefit! 8-)


> 6. Testing. I am sure that testing my program in Windows 98 and other
> OSs
> using a VM would be a good thing, but I never did it anyway. Being a
> one man
> coding factory usually means a bit less testing than a bigger shop. I
> never got around to installing Vista anyway. I am about to email all my
> customers and tell them I won't be supporting anything before Windows
> 2000 in future programs. So for other OS testing and debugging, thank
> heavens I use madExcept.

Me, I'd say that using VMs for testing is the key benefit. Once you've set
up a particular OS, you can run it again and again. Testing on Vista or
Win98 is just a matter of moments apart (or at the same time!).


> So I am back to a "Program/OS" drive, a "Data" drive and an "Other"
> drive and don't regret going back at all. I have removed all VMWare
> programs and all virtual machines from my computer for now, until I
> find a compelling reason to go back.

That's rather drastic IMO - they have many good purposes. Testing is my
main purpose, but I'm also working on using VMs as build machines. I'll
now be doing all development on my main work machine, but as a product
stabilises I'll put all the components etc onto a VM PC along with the
FinalBuilder build script. I'll then be able to make minor adjustments to
the code to fix issues without falling into the trap I do now where
another project gets a component upgraded, and that breaks something else.
I need to know I have a stable development environment and a VM gives me
that.

I'll also mention that I have a dual-processor PC sitting with VMWare
server (the free one) that runs 4 PCs running my 24/7 software project in
test mode, and also happens to run a Linux PC for my family photos. This
PC allows me to do testing of my code without the interruptions of a
desktop PC.

Don't give up on VMs - the love affair may be over for you, but there's
plenty of good friendship in it. 8-)

/Matthew Jones/
Tue, Apr 24 2007 2:04 PMPermanent Link

"Malcolm"
I am playing with the VMWare V6 beta on a new Vista Laptop
with dual core processor and 2Gb RAM.

I find the laptop VM IDE performs much better than the
non-VM IDE on my ageing desktop and I am quite satisfied
with its responsiveness.  OK, the desktop VM does creak a
bit but it is seriously short of memory and power .. just
pondering the spec of the soon to be ordered replacement.
Surprised

In two days time I set off for a four-day user 'event' to
provide live training and support, and I can be confident
that my VM IDE and shared sources will be right up to date
should there any need to make adjustments.

Malcolm
Thu, Apr 26 2007 7:33 AMPermanent Link

"Ralf Mimoun"
Johnnie Norsworthy wrote:
....
> 1. Speed. I didn't realize the difference until I reinstalled D7 out
> of a VM and ran it. But I now realize how much productivity I gain by
> not having the IDE in a VM.

Yes, it is a little bit slower. But just a little bit. I can live with that,
especially because I save so much time by just minimizing the whole dev
machine when I need more screen space. And I know for sure that my physical
machine will break one day before the deadline for an important project.
Right now, I can grab the next computer available, install VMWare or
VMPlayer, restore the vm from my backup, svn checkout, and I'm back. 30
minutes, including fiding a club to argument that I need the computer _now_.
I'd need longer just to find my Delphi installation CD, not to mention
installing all component packs.

....
> 2. File sharing. I had all kinds of problems trying to keep my source
> code out of the VM and on a shared drive.

Then DON'T!. Install a versioning system, eg. svn. Everything else is just a
toy.  have the svn server on a vm on my server machine. so...

....
> 3. Backup. I was trying to backup my VMs to an external drive and
> later to DVDs as a permanent archive. Well, in every case it seems a
> VM would not fit on a single DVD unless I compressed it first, and I
> don't like compressing my backups because it takes a long time and
> because I feel it is less reliable. My "work" backup now is a single
> DVD which holds all of my clients' source code, all my emails and
> other irreplaceable documents.

I simply backup my svn machine if I want to, which is way smaller than the
dev vm machine. Btw, I backup on external drives, they are too cheap.
Permanent backups are for frozen versions, so I export from svn and burn it.
My day-to-day backup is a Acronis backup of my computer to a 500 GB USB
drive. Works like a charm.

> 4. Screen Real Estate. The VM manager does take up a little more room
> on the screen, though that could be minimized or removed. But hiding
> all the VM manager windows makes it a bit less usuable.

Never had these problems: vm on the right monitor (22" wide LCD),
mail+word+everything else on the left monitor (same type). VMWare is running
fullscreen, no extra panels whatsoever. I can reach everything by moving the
mouse to the upper border, suspend is Ctrl+Z, and I can un-fullscreen via
F11. That's all I need

I will never go back developing on physical machines.
Thu, Apr 26 2007 12:49 PMPermanent Link

Jon Lloyd Duerdoth
Fascinating thread!

I've not even tried VMWare but it certainly sounds interesting.

What about the issue of installing Windows multiple times in
several VMs... do you get into activation issues with Microsoft?

Jon

Ralf Mimoun wrote:
> Johnnie Norsworthy wrote:
> ...
>> 1. Speed. I didn't realize the difference until I reinstalled D7 out
>> of a VM and ran it. But I now realize how much productivity I gain by
>> not having the IDE in a VM.
>
> Yes, it is a little bit slower. But just a little bit. I can live with
> that, especially because I save so much time by just minimizing the
> whole dev machine when I need more screen space. And I know for sure
> that my physical machine will break one day before the deadline for an
> important project. Right now, I can grab the next computer available,
> install VMWare or VMPlayer, restore the vm from my backup, svn checkout,
> and I'm back. 30 minutes, including fiding a club to argument that I
> need the computer _now_. I'd need longer just to find my Delphi
> installation CD, not to mention installing all component packs.
>
> ...
>> 2. File sharing. I had all kinds of problems trying to keep my source
>> code out of the VM and on a shared drive.
>
> Then DON'T!. Install a versioning system, eg. svn. Everything else is
> just a toy.  have the svn server on a vm on my server machine. so...
>
> ...
>> 3. Backup. I was trying to backup my VMs to an external drive and
>> later to DVDs as a permanent archive. Well, in every case it seems a
>> VM would not fit on a single DVD unless I compressed it first, and I
>> don't like compressing my backups because it takes a long time and
>> because I feel it is less reliable. My "work" backup now is a single
>> DVD which holds all of my clients' source code, all my emails and
>> other irreplaceable documents.
>
> I simply backup my svn machine if I want to, which is way smaller than
> the dev vm machine. Btw, I backup on external drives, they are too
> cheap. Permanent backups are for frozen versions, so I export from svn
> and burn it. My day-to-day backup is a Acronis backup of my computer to
> a 500 GB USB drive. Works like a charm.
>
>> 4. Screen Real Estate. The VM manager does take up a little more room
>> on the screen, though that could be minimized or removed. But hiding
>> all the VM manager windows makes it a bit less usuable.
>
> Never had these problems: vm on the right monitor (22" wide LCD),
> mail+word+everything else on the left monitor (same type). VMWare is
> running fullscreen, no extra panels whatsoever. I can reach everything
> by moving the mouse to the upper border, suspend is Ctrl+Z, and I can
> un-fullscreen via F11. That's all I need
>
> I will never go back developing on physical machines.
Thu, Apr 26 2007 1:27 PMPermanent Link

Jim Margarit
There are issues. I would bet you cannot have several xp vm's with the
same key running with access to the internet without them phoning home
and flags going up. I would love to see any links you might find on the
subject!

Jim Margarit

Jon Lloyd Duerdoth wrote:
> Fascinating thread!
>
> I've not even tried VMWare but it certainly sounds interesting.
>
> What about the issue of installing Windows multiple times in
> several VMs... do you get into activation issues with Microsoft?
>
> Jon
>
> Ralf Mimoun wrote:
>> Johnnie Norsworthy wrote:
>> ...
>>> 1. Speed. I didn't realize the difference until I reinstalled D7 out
>>> of a VM and ran it. But I now realize how much productivity I gain by
>>> not having the IDE in a VM.
>>
>> Yes, it is a little bit slower. But just a little bit. I can live with
>> that, especially because I save so much time by just minimizing the
>> whole dev machine when I need more screen space. And I know for sure
>> that my physical machine will break one day before the deadline for an
>> important project. Right now, I can grab the next computer available,
>> install VMWare or VMPlayer, restore the vm from my backup, svn
>> checkout, and I'm back. 30 minutes, including fiding a club to
>> argument that I need the computer _now_. I'd need longer just to find
>> my Delphi installation CD, not to mention installing all component packs.
>>
>> ...
>>> 2. File sharing. I had all kinds of problems trying to keep my source
>>> code out of the VM and on a shared drive.
>>
>> Then DON'T!. Install a versioning system, eg. svn. Everything else is
>> just a toy.  have the svn server on a vm on my server machine. so...
>>
>> ...
>>> 3. Backup. I was trying to backup my VMs to an external drive and
>>> later to DVDs as a permanent archive. Well, in every case it seems a
>>> VM would not fit on a single DVD unless I compressed it first, and I
>>> don't like compressing my backups because it takes a long time and
>>> because I feel it is less reliable. My "work" backup now is a single
>>> DVD which holds all of my clients' source code, all my emails and
>>> other irreplaceable documents.
>>
>> I simply backup my svn machine if I want to, which is way smaller than
>> the dev vm machine. Btw, I backup on external drives, they are too
>> cheap. Permanent backups are for frozen versions, so I export from svn
>> and burn it. My day-to-day backup is a Acronis backup of my computer
>> to a 500 GB USB drive. Works like a charm.
>>
>>> 4. Screen Real Estate. The VM manager does take up a little more room
>>> on the screen, though that could be minimized or removed. But hiding
>>> all the VM manager windows makes it a bit less usuable.
>>
>> Never had these problems: vm on the right monitor (22" wide LCD),
>> mail+word+everything else on the left monitor (same type). VMWare is
>> running fullscreen, no extra panels whatsoever. I can reach everything
>> by moving the mouse to the upper border, suspend is Ctrl+Z, and I can
>> un-fullscreen via F11. That's all I need
>>
>> I will never go back developing on physical machines.
Thu, Apr 26 2007 2:53 PMPermanent Link

Jon Lloyd Duerdoth
I'm guessing that if you set up a VM with Windows XP
activated and then made duplicates of the VM that it would not require
further activation... probably violates the EULA tho'

Jon

Jim Margarit wrote:
> There are issues. I would bet you cannot have several xp vm's with the
> same key running with access to the internet without them phoning home
> and flags going up. I would love to see any links you might find on the
> subject!
>
> Jim Margarit
>
> Jon Lloyd Duerdoth wrote:
>> Fascinating thread!
>>
>> I've not even tried VMWare but it certainly sounds interesting.
>>
>> What about the issue of installing Windows multiple times in
>> several VMs... do you get into activation issues with Microsoft?
>>
>> Jon
>>
>> Ralf Mimoun wrote:
>>> Johnnie Norsworthy wrote:
>>> ...
>>>> 1. Speed. I didn't realize the difference until I reinstalled D7 out
>>>> of a VM and ran it. But I now realize how much productivity I gain by
>>>> not having the IDE in a VM.
>>>
>>> Yes, it is a little bit slower. But just a little bit. I can live
>>> with that, especially because I save so much time by just minimizing
>>> the whole dev machine when I need more screen space. And I know for
>>> sure that my physical machine will break one day before the deadline
>>> for an important project. Right now, I can grab the next computer
>>> available, install VMWare or VMPlayer, restore the vm from my backup,
>>> svn checkout, and I'm back. 30 minutes, including fiding a club to
>>> argument that I need the computer _now_. I'd need longer just to find
>>> my Delphi installation CD, not to mention installing all component
>>> packs.
>>>
>>> ...
>>>> 2. File sharing. I had all kinds of problems trying to keep my source
>>>> code out of the VM and on a shared drive.
>>>
>>> Then DON'T!. Install a versioning system, eg. svn. Everything else is
>>> just a toy.  have the svn server on a vm on my server machine. so...
>>>
>>> ...
>>>> 3. Backup. I was trying to backup my VMs to an external drive and
>>>> later to DVDs as a permanent archive. Well, in every case it seems a
>>>> VM would not fit on a single DVD unless I compressed it first, and I
>>>> don't like compressing my backups because it takes a long time and
>>>> because I feel it is less reliable. My "work" backup now is a single
>>>> DVD which holds all of my clients' source code, all my emails and
>>>> other irreplaceable documents.
>>>
>>> I simply backup my svn machine if I want to, which is way smaller
>>> than the dev vm machine. Btw, I backup on external drives, they are
>>> too cheap. Permanent backups are for frozen versions, so I export
>>> from svn and burn it. My day-to-day backup is a Acronis backup of my
>>> computer to a 500 GB USB drive. Works like a charm.
>>>
>>>> 4. Screen Real Estate. The VM manager does take up a little more room
>>>> on the screen, though that could be minimized or removed. But hiding
>>>> all the VM manager windows makes it a bit less usuable.
>>>
>>> Never had these problems: vm on the right monitor (22" wide LCD),
>>> mail+word+everything else on the left monitor (same type). VMWare is
>>> running fullscreen, no extra panels whatsoever. I can reach
>>> everything by moving the mouse to the upper border, suspend is
>>> Ctrl+Z, and I can un-fullscreen via F11. That's all I need
>>>
>>> I will never go back developing on physical machines.
Thu, Apr 26 2007 3:14 PMPermanent Link

"Johnnie Norsworthy"
"Jon Lloyd Duerdoth" <jld@welshdragoncomputing.ca> wrote in message
news:08482C23-EA9C-462F-90C7-52F7766CE5C7@news.elevatesoft.com...
> I'm guessing that if you set up a VM with Windows XP
> activated and then made duplicates of the VM that it would not require
> further activation... probably violates the EULA tho'

No, it did not require re-activation for subsequent VMs cloned from the
first one. It probably violates the EULA, I have heard, so I would never,
ever do that.

-Johnnie

Page 1 of 3Next Page
Jump to Page:  1 2 3
Image