VPC v4 behind the scenes – the release process

You may have read the recent post on the VPC v4 announcement.

Wanted to give you a small glimpse behind the scenes. This update was fully done on Windows 7 RC in the Virtual PC for Windows 7. I also was testing new SSD OCZ Vertex. In practice the SSD gives you approx half time for boot and application launches and at least 3-times as fast “warm-up” script execution. But it’s also very good for compacting the image and merging “undo” disks. So this was very handy. Christophe did a blog post on various benchmarks using Samsung SSD (DELL ships them as OEM) with very similar results. The only thing to keep in mind while using SSD is not to limit the bandwidth by the connection to the computer – SATA or eSATA are perfect solutions. USB 2.0 is not sufficient. USB on my desktop (DELL Optiplex 755) gives the “theoretical” limit of 60MB/s but on the laptop (DELL E6500) it’s just about a half – have not gone to the bottom of this…

The SSD *may* compensate for lack of RAM on your PC for running Virtual Images – e.g. you have multiple images DC and APP server –or- you have a very greedy image to run on one 4GB Laptop. Try this option before saying – I can’t I need to get 8GB Laptop. It really works. 🙂

Another nice feature on Windows 7 I used was the ability to mount and edit VHD files. The task was to increase the size of the primary partition in the VHD. The solution is easy – mount it in Win7 using Disk Management and then “Extend Volume…”. Cool 🙂 I also used another VHD for data exchange – I have created this VHD in Win7, mounted it, uploaded all necessary files (including new EULA :)), then dismounted and added this “helper VHD” as HardDrive 2 in the VPC. You may argue why not to use “Virtual Machine Additions”? Good point – the goal was to have a minimal impact on the state of the VPC (if it works – don’t touch it) and the installed additions did not work with the version of the VirtualPC I was using. I could have grabbed the required files from a network share – yeah but all the work with network credentials…

There’s also an option to convert this image to Hyper-v. For this purpose I have added “Loopback Network Adapter” that always sits in the image and has the right internal address and all services start no matter what happens outside. So if you wan to run this in Hyper-v just remove the “Virtual Machine additions” and install “Hyper-v Integration Services” and you are good to go! Christophe did a blog post on this as well.

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