February 5, 2009

Virtual Machines are the future

Before the holidays the office got to request new computers. This has been going on for at least a year I think. My boss would say, "let's order new computers", I would work it out with my colleagues and we would decide Apple, Dell, Sony, etc. Someone would check out one of the numerous computer review sites and be impressed by the latest offering from Acer, Apple, Dell, or HP. A budget would be drawn and we would all finagle our dreams into the perfect setup and try to stay under budget (ie. smaller screen for more processor, smaller hard drive for more RAM). Requests would be submitted and we would wait for the partners to approve. Complete silence for months. By now state of the art has passed on, our requested machines would be lowered as new products came in, or by unavailable.

So right before Christmas we try one more time. By now I was used to the idea of having my computer forever. It's a Pentium D, quite power hungry, RAM is limited to 3.5GB but it gets the job done. And that's all you can ask for. New Intel Core i7s have arrived and I put in a request for a Dell Studio XPS thinking there's a chance in hell it might actually show up. 2 days before Christmas this little machine is sitting on my desktop. I'm imagining all the simulations I can run, how many virtual machines can run at the same time. This thing is seriously no slouch. I install a trial of VMWare workstation and give it a run. Configuring a Windows 2003 Server to use 4GB of RAM (this is where I notice the problem that Windows can't use more than 3GB of RAM to a virtual machine). Bumped it to the maximum allowable RAM, SCSI drive of 40GB and we are good to go. I was trying to get an application in the VM to use all allowable memory for a mem test. It took a minute to find a good chunk of data. A 12GB dataset on 3 DVDs did the trick. More testing and I can say, yes this application can use more than the 1 or 2GB windows had locked in before.

Posted by yardie at 12:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack