VMWare Stability/Performance

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by davewolfs, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. davewolfs macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    #1
    Hey folks,

    I'm considering a new Mac Pro and one thing that I was curious about was VMWare stability and performance. I have a few applications that are Windows only and was wondering what everyone's experience has been running windows applications through VMWare vs if they were run stand alone.

    Any input is appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. jabrowntx macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    #2
    My Windows XP installation runs faster in a VM instance on my Mac Pro than I've experienced on a physical machine. I assign 2 processors and 2GB of ram to my Windows VM.
     
  3. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #3
    I am running Windows Server 2003 (with SQL Server 2005, IIS, and the Cognos 8.x server components), Vista Ultimate 32-bit, XP Pro 32-bit, and Windows 7 64-bit on VMWare. I don't play games and am using Windows to run professional or server apps that aren't available on OS X.

    I've been using Fusion since it was released. Stability has been rock solid. XP does ok with a 1GB virtual machine but the other OS's prefer at least 2GB. 4GB RAM is pretty much the minimum for system memory, with 2GB going to the VM. I couldn't run a 2GB VM on a 3GB machine (my pre-Santa Rosa chipset MacBook Pro). The Windows Server VM is _much_ happier now running on my new 8-core machine with gobs of memory.
     
  4. Boneoh macrumors 6502

    Boneoh

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    #4
    Thanks for the info here, Cliff3. I'm running a similar setup, 2003 Server, SQL 2005, IIS, and Visual Studio. I am going to try upping the memory to 2 gb and see how it performs. I just moved from the original MacBook Pro to the 09 Pro, the difference is night and day. The question in my mind has always been the recommended memory values seem to be too low.

    I just switched over to VMware Fusion from Parallels and it's been great. I won't be going back to Parallels, too many glitches over the past few years for my liking. The Fusion import feature converted the Parallels image to Fusion w/o any issues. It took about 15 or 20 minutes to convert a 16 gb image.
     
  5. davewolfs thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    #5
    I find it interesting that you can actually define how many CPU's to allocate to the OS. What is the integration like, does Fusion have some sort of cohesive mode where windows appear that they are part of OS X?
     
  6. Boneoh macrumors 6502

    Boneoh

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    #6
    Yes, you are right. In VMware Fusion, you have options as to how you view your running virtual machine.

    1. Full screen - this works very well with two or more monitors. I run Windows in full screen on my second monitor.

    2. Windowed - view the vm in OS X window.

    3. Unity - this is where Windows and OX X combined. Parallels calls this Coherence.
     
  7. SnakeOiler Guest

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    #7
    The main reason I have an 09 macpro is to run vmware fusion. It is what i use as a linux dev plaform. I run three vm virts at all times. My actual dev environ is fedora 10 running Zend Studio. My other two virts are centos 5.2. One runs postgresql and the other runs ZendCore/ZendPlatform as an app server. All virts are 64 bit each gets 2 cores and 4 gigs of memory.

    This mimics a live very active 3-tiered system very nicely. I had been using a dell quad for the last year with similar specs and its night and day.

    As a linux developer, my new mac has saved my virtual sanity. Can't believe I said that.
     
  8. Boneoh macrumors 6502

    Boneoh

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    #8
    Wow! That's awesome, how much memory in your MP? In the old mainframe days, we ran virtual machines nested a few levels deep. Its amazing to me that we are now running similar setups on desktops and laptops.

    If I understand correctly, you are running the 3 VMs simultaneously? You mentioned that the performance is night and day vs. the old setup. What does it seem like in use? Is the performance smooth? Any pauses or glitches at all?
     
  9. SnakeOiler Guest

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    #9
    I have 16gb ram. I do run three at once (they have been up for about 4 days at the moment). They run great, as if they were part of the OS. I have to test in ie6 and ie7 and have separate XP virts for those too. Sometimes I run them all at once. No issues. The problem with the dell was vmware in windows is not as good as mac. Especially running multiple virts. Constant crashes. The dell worked well as a hackintosh/vmware fusion host, with the obvious drawbacks
     
  10. Boneoh macrumors 6502

    Boneoh

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    #10
    Man, this is too cool! I need to do some more experimenting. I have everything setup in a single VM for Win 2003 server, but I'd like to go more on the path you've taken. Certainly was limited by my old MacBook Pro.

    I'm thinking about setting up an XP vm just for IE testing, another for Visual Studio, and keep the 2003 Server for IIS and SQL. This would be a better configuration in the sense that it more closely resembles the real world.

    Thanks! :D
     
  11. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #11
    When I moved the VM over to the Mac Pro (which I've had for less than a week), I upped the memory allocation to 4GB and 4 virtual CPU's. That should be sufficient for what is a development sandbox. I may end up running additional Windows Server VM's to simulate a multi-layered deployment environment. Previously, the VM was running with 2GB and one virtual CPU on a Santa Rosa Macbook with 4GB system memory. My 3GB Macbook Pro couldn't support a 2GB VM at all.

    Fusion seems to have a much smaller memory footprint on the host system than Parallels does. I switched over to Fusion from Parallels a long time ago.
     
  12. Boneoh macrumors 6502

    Boneoh

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    #12
    Yes, the virtual machines are certainly making life easier for us developers, especially in setting up and maintaining our sandboxes. I've been doing windows development since '91, win 3.1, vb 2, access 1.1. Seems that about once a year I would have to take a couple of days re-installing everything. I an always very careful not to download junk, shareware, freeware, etc. on my development PCs. No matter how careful I was, registry issues, incompatible ms releases, etc. would have me cussing and pulling my hair out.

    I got the original MacBook Pro about 3 years ago and went with the Parallels beta. It was kind of a risky gamble at the time, but I was lucky and it has really paid off for me. From that point on, I've been hooked. It's too easy to save the vm images and revert back if needed.
     
  13. SnakeOiler Guest

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    #13
    I thought about doing a virt for Visual Studio but decided to go with bootcamp for that. I have converted it to a vmware virt but havent tried it yet - took forever to convert.
     
  14. kaks macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    #14

    2 cores/virtual cores? Im interested in running Fusion/Parallels as well. I've got 8gb on the machine (which im still waiting for ;p) and its the 8 core 2.26 mac pro.

    I understand we get the 16 virtual cores through hyperthreading and forget my ignorance since its been years since i have anything with thats much processing power (previous desktop was a pentium 4 1.4 :p); should i just assign 2/4 virtual cores? How does it work? Or you just assign 2 (not virtual) cores in VM?


    Thanks in advance,
    Kyriacos

    p.s i found a recent review (early march) that said Parallels was much faster than fusion ill try and find it again, but whats does everyone recommend here?
     
  15. SnakeOiler Guest

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    #15
    In vmware fusion, they are reffered to as "Virtual Proccessors". You can assign 1, 2, or 4 virtual processors to a vmware virt.

    Currently, I'm using 4 virtual processors for fedora 10 and 2 virtual processors for my app and db server each. The 4 vprocs really helped the ZendStudio debugger. Not really using the mac host much (other than its serious hardware)

    My preference is a Xen virtual host. Sure wish it was available on the mac os platform.
     
  16. brendon2020 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2007
    #16
    vmware works great, i also have a few apps at work that only run under windows. I've also noticed that certain apps do run worse under any vm but for the most part its the same.
     
  17. Boneoh macrumors 6502

    Boneoh

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    #17
    I recommend VMware fusion. I've used Parallels since beta, almost 3 years ago. Had a few support issues, and relatively poor support. I switched to VMware a few weeks ago with no problems at all. Supposedly, VMware 2.0.2 has some new feature that is supposed to improve the performance on the Nehalem machines. Good luck!
     
  18. kaks macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    #18
    Thanks! Actualy i havent tried the new Fusion (2). Parallels 4 seems to be in good shape.

    Honestly the only extra i would do with windows besides visual studio would be mame/kawaks/cps2 basically so i hope it works under Fusion okay with XP.

    Was thinking of installing Win7 as well just to play around...anyway my main concern is XP (and possibly Vista).

    Thanks for the heads up on the Nehalem performance news :).
     
  19. kaks macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    #19
    Never tried Xen so i wouldn't know...

    So you're using all your 8 cores then ? :) heh
     
  20. PowerPaw macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    #20
    The 2009 Mac Pro will only work with VMware Fusion 2.02 as the CPUs are pretty new. I have only heard seen a bunch of posts on Parallels being faster and only a few on its relative stability.

    All the big businesses are using VMware, they have big $$$ for Rand D even in this environment which I guess makes it a longer term win.
     
  21. wino david macrumors newbie

    wino david

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Location:
    NorCal
    #21
    The primary purpose of my Nehalem MP is to run multiple concurrent VMs: Server 2008, 2003, Vista & XP.

    My initial results over the past few days reflect what others are experiencing. Anywhere from very good to blazing fast speeds with VMs.

    So far I couldn't be happier. No problems whatsoever with VMware 2.0.2. No experience with Parallels though, so I can't compare the difference.
     

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