Sunday, December 16, 2007

Boosting your VM Server

If you've ever worked with Virtual Machines (VM) hosted on a VM Server, you might have come across the following situation where the VM itself has not been used for some time and is running very low on resources allocated to the VM. This is noticeable from the initial sluggishness of the VM, while it is getting more CPU cycles and Memory allocated from the VM Server. This process repeats itself until the VM isn't running out of resources anymore, or if the limits imposed on it are reached. I've witnessed some occasions where the server would initially cause timeouts or other MOSS errors because it wasn't running on full throttle yet.

You can use several tricks to get more resources from the VM Server before you start working on the VM:

  1. Open a Remote Desktop session to the VM.
    While building the desktop session, the VM needs more resources. This will boost the resource allocation from 4 MHz CPU cycles and 20 MB Memory used to, say, 400 MHz CPU and 500 MB allocated memory, which is not bad.
  2. A reboot of the VM.
    This will get you even more resources. Needless to say, this can only be used on VM's which aren't serving customers.
  3. 100.000!
    If you're working with a Remote Desktop session, you can also just start Calculator, switch to Scientific Mode (View > Scientific) and let the VM calculate the factorial of 100.000 (or 100,000 if you're from the US). Depending on the VM and VM Server, this will take under a minute, during which the CPU Usage will be 100%. This causes the VM Server to allocate more CPU cycles to the VM, although the memory usage won't be as high as the first two tricks.

You can use all kinds of actions besides these tricks to get more resources, but these will do the trick every time.

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