Virtual Machine Performance Tips

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Shane Corellian|April 11, 2011
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I spend most of my time working on virtual machines. Mostly VMWare but also occasionally Parallels and Hyper-V. I’ve learned a few things about getting the best performance out of these machines, and here are my top recommendations.

1. Fast Hard Disks

Fast disks are critical to a well functioning virtual machine, particularly if you have several machines on the same computer.

2. Speedy Disk Drives

Coming in a close second is the need for speedy disk drives, especially if one computer is hosting several virtual machines.

3. Performant Persistent Storage

Following closely on is the need for high performance storage for the virtual machines, most critical when there is a plenitude of artificial computers operating within the confines of an individual physical device.

In all seriousness, I have found nothing that gives a greater boost to the performance of VMs than fast disk drives. It’s also important to keep the VMs running on a separate physical disk from the operating system.

It’s also very important to turn off as much of the UI pizzazz as possible. Windows 7 Aero themes just suck up the processor. VMs seem to lag furthest behind hardware in the graphics adapter department.

Other than that it’s just a matter of tweaking the right balance of virtual processors, RAM, and other software that may be running on the same system. A few extra percent of performance can be wrung out with some trial and error.

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Shane Corellian

Shane is the co-founder of PDQ.

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