vmWare vShere 4.1 / Citrix XenServer - Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by gabicava83, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. gabicava83 macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2010

    Ideally as we all know, these products are best installed on servers.

    I'm looking to create test networks locally on my macpro, to test configurations and deployments before implementing it on live environments.

    There are several threads about running fusion/parallels, but only with 1 or 2 concurrent images.

    I'm looking to be running around 6, or more (obviously dependent on RAM)

    The reason why I want to try this out on a MacPro instead of a server or something along the lines of the HP Z400/Z600 is due to noise/usability, as I also build websites & do basic media aspects, plus OSX is a great OS to utilise too.

    MacPro's aren't on the compatibility list of VMware, but the hardware is basically server based and there are some threads on other forums from users testing this out on 2008/2009 mac pro's.

    I'm therefore looking to purchase a 2010, however, unsure of to go for a quad/hex or octo.

    Quad - good robust Mac Pro, specially the 3.2, 32gb RAM (max I can afford) on 8gb sticks.

    The Hex is excellent, a lot more money though, again, 32gb RAM.

    The Octo seems to be good, even though lower clock speed, as there are more cores, maybe more efficient on multi tasking.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    I will also be purchasing an SSD and be utilizing a Software RAID.

    Again, this is for testing purposes, not a live environment.

    Many thanks in advanced,

  2. BobbyCarbn macrumors regular


    Jun 21, 2009
    Same boat my friend... Lower clock speed + more cores + plenty of ram would be my preference. I am holding out for a 12 core 2.66 or maybe even the 2.4. I spoke to a few guys who run 3+ VM instances including Oracle 10/11g without any problems. I plan to assign 2 cores per instance and give Oracle at least 8gb. Also think about your IO. You may also want to run the VM instances off a 2 or 4 disk raid stripe to keep the read and write speeds high. This is no different (minus the upcharge for IBM/Solaris/HP Servers that the managed data center folks do these days). When you compare a mac pro to a solaris v or m series things get put into perspective pretty fast :)
  3. gabicava83 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2010

    What was the config for the configurations they where using, i.e quad/octo/hex ?

    Will be using a RAID purposely for the IO, would be nice to use a RAID card, but apparently noisy and aren't cheap.

    What will you go for?



  4. wafl iron macrumors regular

    Nov 16, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_0_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8A400 Safari/6531.22.7)

    why not use fusion and create vsphere VMs?

    rather than bypass osx

    if these are "proof of concept" installs, why not?
  5. BobbyCarbn macrumors regular


    Jun 21, 2009
    4 WD Caviar Black 1 Tb (64mb) cache will do just fine.
  6. gabicava83 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2010
    Those are certainly the HD's that I'm considering.

    The question is, will a quad 3.2 suffice or is it better to go for the Octo?

    Going to mess around with fusion, the issue is creating virtual LANs isn't too easy on fusion.

    Just need to see What HW Config is better suited, quad, hex or Octo for this scenario.

    Thanks again for the replies :)
  7. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    I used to use multiple VMs at a time, which is why I bought the 2009 8-core model.
    My VMs didn't require much processing power, almost none to be honest, but since I had lots of them, the allocation of physical cores rather than virtual ones seemed to make more sense.
    RAM upgrades are much cheaper (plus you can go up to 64GB if you need it), too.

    I didn't work with vShere rather than Fusion and Parallels and you're right, creating virtual networks with either was, and still is a PITA.

    Regarding IO, I strongly recommend using SSDs over mechanical drives. I started with storing all VMs on a striped array of two 1TB Blacks, but performance wasn't what I expected, so I migrated them to a single SSD. That did the trick.

    But as always when you buy a computer for one project, today the 8-core is way too much for me, which is why I run it with only 4 cores at the moment. Still plenty fast. ;)
  8. gabicava83 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2010
    Transporteur = thanks for your reply.

    Which 8 core did you use?

    Physical allocation to CPU's certainly makes more sense.

    Taking into consideration your findings, it would appear that the performance of the multiple VM's is not really dependent on the CPU speed but more so on the RAM and IO of the HD's, am I correct in saying so?

    I would be purchasing one SSD, and hopefully 16gb/24gb depending on my budget, already have a 30" ACD (which actually doesn't fill that big anymore) so don't need to buy much else.

    How many concurrent vm's where you running?

    Thanks again for everyone's help,


  9. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    I did, and still use the 2.26GHz model from 2009 with 12GB of RAM, Intel G2 SSD and mechanical drive RAID 0 for VM folder shares.

    That actually depends on the workload of the VM's. If you're going to do rendering or similar work within the VM's, I'd suggest higher clocked processors. For the work I had to do (software development which required testing in a networked environment) clock speed wasn't really the concern, rather than RAM and disk IO, just as you said.

    That sounds about right. If I had to buy a SSD now, I'd certainly buy a Sandforce based drive (OCZ Vertex 2 or OWC, depending where you're located).
    I know exactly what you mean with the 30" screen. The day I got my ACD I felt like never needing much space, that idea lasted for about one week. ;)

    2 x Windows XP SP3, 1 x Win 7 Pro, a FreeNas distribution for serving a ZFS share and a single instance of Suse (11 or so, can't remember exactly and don't have the documentation here atm).
    All machines were configured pretty equal (2 processors, 2 to 3GB of RAM).
    The main development has been done on OS X, so all VM's were configured to keep the resources low to maintain that OS X still runs as fast as possible, and I have to say that I never maxed out the processors.
  10. gabicava83 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2010
    Awesome !!!

    Thinking about getting the 8 core 2.66 2009 model, nearly managed to get an 8 core 2.93 but missed out.

    Sounds pretty much the same as I will be doing, however, I will also be utilizing Server 2008 R2, Sharepoint and also Exchange 2010 (test environments)

    I am based in London/Surrey, not too sure on OWC as some people are being shafted by customs on that.

    You've been ever so helpful :)

    Looks like I will be getting the Vertex 2, defo needed.

    Looking forward to this

  11. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    Unfortunately the UK Apple store didn't and still doesn't have any good deals on refurbished 2009 models. The US store had some really nice deals on 2.93GHz octads for about $2000 less than the original price.
    But the difference to 2.66GHz isn't really a big deal, that machine is perfectly fine.

    I still use the 2003 Server from time to time. Works better in an Apple environment as it still has the Mac services installed, which Microsoft decided not to implement in their 2008 version (shame on you Microsoft!).
    But seems as if your test environment will be Microsoft only, so you're fine with 2008.

    The Vertex2 is faster anyway, so not worth buying the OWC drive and hassling with customs, shipping and potential warranty requests.
  12. gabicava83 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2010
    Ok, so still haven't taken the plunge.

    Will buy it today, hopefully.

    The question is, dual 2.4 quad's or the 3.33 hex.

    Simply for VM's, no photoshop or anything like that.

    Will be using 32gb RAM.

    Thanks people,

  13. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    I would say go for the Octo Core. If running multiple VM's then the extra cores will be worth it as can spread the load across the cores, also more ram capability with the dual socket boards, again useful for VM's.
  14. gabicava83 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2010

    Just to let you know, I have just placed an order for the 2.4 octo with the base config i.e 5770 including apple care.

    Let's just hope it goes well.


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