Microsoft Virtual PC...



  • I tend to work on a lot of Microsoft stuff since my company are up to their elbows in MS certifications and partner accreditations. I sometimes work on one of their ERP systems (Great Plains) occasionally, doing data integration stuff etc

    Turns out that apart from not letting us have any other source control software aside from a 15 year old VSS database, I can't even convince management to let us create a test environment for trying out software builds. I'm expected to run a virtual machine on my dev laptop from an external hard drive (which is shared amongst people in the office - often resulting in consultants plodding over to my desk saying 'can I have the HD when you are finished, I need to test something for a client'). This virtual machine, being one of MSs demos with GP, MOSS, SQL etc etc requires at the very least 2 gigs of ram to get it up and running - which means that my laptop is already crawling...

    Open up a couple more apps, like Outlook, Visual Studio and a SQL instance or two (because I'm sick of getting whinged at for having too many database instances on the dev server!!) and you've already experiencing 'slug in shit' speed and a hard disc that sounds like it's having a seizure. Then add to that the problems that occasionally plague VPC where the mouse will occasionally stop responding or maybe lose the ability to recognise a mouse click, or occasionally the VPC loses the ability to respond to tab or control key presses which requires the creation of a new VPC settings file...

    They expect me to be productive...

    Anyone else experience the "'we sell it, but we won't use it because we fear change" attitude?



  •  A Virtual Machine over USB! Now that should be fast. 



  • I don't get why you have to pass around a USB drive. Surely you could just run the VM on your laptop directly right? (I mean, it won't really help your performance problems, but at least you're not passing around a USB drive.)

    @Charleh said:

    Anyone else experience the "'we sell it, but we won't use it because we fear change" attitude?

    Our company is heavily invested in marketing, so our problem is almost the opposite. We sometimes hook on to the newest hottest web 2.0 site, and then all that effort is wasted when it turns out nobody other than "social media experts" gave a crap about it.



  • We can't copy it locally because we have 80 gig HDs in our laptops - most of that is taken up by 'stuff'. The VPC images are over 40 gigs - that's half my HD eaten, and something I just don't have room for!



  • @Charleh said:

    We can't copy it locally because we have 80 gig HDs in our laptops

     

    Here's the real WTF.  Does your employer have no budget for the little things, y'know, like equipment?  I think the laptop I got in early '04 had at least 60 gigs, and that was not a very high-end model.  Will they let you buy your own equipment?  A few hundred bucks might be well worth it to alleviate the pain.



  • If you can articulate your pain in time wasted, which equates to money wasted, they will listen.  Just tell them "if I had a 500 gig SSD installed, wasted time would go down by at least 6 hours a week".  They'll multiply that by all the devs on the team which are using the village bicycle and see that it's worth giving you some new equipment.

    And when they don't listen you install a time coded easter egg somewhere deep in your app (lets say, set string.Empty to " ", or something equally genious) and land a new gig where they give a shit about their people.

    EDIT:

    Seriously though, how much is a new HD now?  Probably not anything close to how much they bill you out to the client...



  • @Charleh said:

    Then add to that the problems that occasionally plague VPC where the mouse will occasionally stop responding or maybe lose the ability to recognise a mouse click, or occasionally the VPC loses the ability to respond to tab or control key presses which requires the creation of a new VPC settings file...

    Wow. I've never used VPC. I hadn't heard of this before. Have you considered VMWare player?



  • You would love working in environments where I get to spec the developer's laptops. Standard configuration:  i7 processor, 8 [for juniors, and "line" developers]or 16 GB [for seniors, leads, architects], 256GB SSD, 500GB SATA (both internal).

     Also, EVERYTHING is run inside of Hyper-V VM's - and there are NO performance issues.



  • I'm used to my dev workstation being more powerful (non-graphics-wise) than my home machine, but dannnng... a 256GB SSD??



  • @Sutherlands said:

    I'm used to my dev workstation being more powerful (non-graphics-wise) than my home machine, but dannnng... a 256GB SSD??

    They are not expensive ( under $500) - I prefer the one by Crucial.... http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&q=256+gb+ssd+2.5&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&biw=1659&bih=923&wrapid=tlif130756871453610&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=4341925322498748560&sa=X&ei=j-rvTaz9B-Pu0gHX9PD7DA&ved=0CGQQ8wIwAg#



  • We had a similar problem, well, also no budget for real upgrades. But more on the network/server side. We solved it by requesting a place to book our hours when we couldn't work because of network/server problems.



    After a few weeks the management could see how many hours where lost, and a solution was quick in place. If management is causing problems, then talk in something management understand, which is numbers, mainly money numbers.



    Saying "We cannot work all the time because our environment is not up to speed" doesn't have much effect. Saying "15% of our work hours are lost because we don't have the right equipment, here are the numbers, see for yourself" suddenly causes all kinds of changes.



  • @Sutherlands said:

    but dannnng... a 256GB SSD??

    We all upgraded to 120 GB SSDs over here and some got RAM upgrades to 8 GB too; it was not expensive at all compared to all the server hardware that we buy in a year. I'm actually considering getting a 3.5" 240 GB SSD for my home system for about €300. The performance increase really is worth it.



  • @SlyEcho said:

    @Sutherlands said:
    but dannnng... a 256GB SSD??

    We all upgraded to 120 GB SSDs over here and some got RAM upgrades to 8 GB too; it was not expensive at all compared to all the server hardware that we buy in a year. I'm actually considering getting a 3.5" 240 GB SSD for my home system for about €300. The performance increase really is worth it.

    At home I use a 120gb ssd drive for my OS and "heavy duty" programs.  all the other stuff goes on a seperate drive.  Your right it really is worth it.   MLC ssd drives make a huge difference alone.  Now if you happen to buy an SLC, the price goes way up but the benefits may be worth it to you.  I'm using an MLC ssd drive.

     I tend to try to work from home since my work computer is old and slow.  It takes up to 2 minutes to open a single email, although this could also be the fact that my company uses lotus notes 7 for email. Switching between programs can also take up to 5 minutes.



  • @galgorah said:

    Now if you happen to buy an SLC, the price goes way up but the benefits may be worth it to you.
     

    I googled "MLC SSD" and ended up on a forum that explained it. They estimated MLC life as 7-10 years. The forum post was from 2008. I think that MLCs have improved. Sufficiently. To be not. A concer. N.



  • @Charleh said:

    [ ... ] a 15 year old VSS database [ ... ]

    RUN FOR YOUR LIVES EVERYBODY SHE'S GONNA BLOW!!!

     

     



  • @dhromed said:

    @galgorah said:

    Now if you happen to buy an SLC, the price goes way up but the benefits may be worth it to you.
     

    I googled "MLC SSD" and ended up on a forum that explained it. They estimated MLC life as 7-10 years. The forum post was from 2008. I think that MLCs have improved. Sufficiently. To be not. A concer. N.

    There is also a difference in access speed.  However for most people the simple upgrade to a MLC SSD is more than good enough 🙂 a 120gb SLC can run you $800 today vs a a 120 MLC for $250.


  •  Time to take stock of my applications' sizes, I guess.



  • Speaking of SSDs, I bought an 80GB Intel X25-M a bit over a year and a half ago, and had to replace it recently ... twice. Using my (pretty fast, hardware) RAID as the system drive instead of the SSD in the mean time was painful.



  •  As a benchmark, what your launch times of things like Photoshop, Illustrator and games?



  • @dhromed said:

     As a benchmark, what your launch times of things like Photoshop, Illustrator and games?

    Photoshop cs4 extended loads in 4 seconds.  Games like wow I never even see the loading screens. It just sort of flickers for a sec, it loads so fast. 



  • @galgorah said:

    Photoshop cs4 extended loads in 4 seconds.  Games like wow I never even see the loading screens. It just sort of flickers for a sec, it loads so fast. 
     

    My CS3 loads in 12, so I guess there's more CPU time than drive time involved in launching it.

    I've never launched WoW so I can't really compare, but I guess a flicker is pretty fast 😃

     



  • @dhromed said:

    @galgorah said:

    Photoshop cs4 extended loads in 4 seconds.  Games like wow I never even see the loading screens. It just sort of flickers for a sec, it loads so fast. 
     

    My CS3 loads in 12, so I guess there's more CPU time than drive time involved in launching it.

    I've never launched WoW so I can't really compare, but I guess a flicker is pretty fast 😃

    cs4 extended is also a lot bigger than cs4.  However a lot of the crazy load time when starting photoshop is the plugins.  If you can disable enough of the crap loaded on app startup you should be able to reduce that 12 seconds a bit. 

     Wow has loading screens that can last a minute or two when entering an instance.  It loads maps, textures, videos, etc from the HDD at that time. 



  • @dhromed said:

    @galgorah said:

    Photoshop cs4 extended loads in 4 seconds.  Games like wow I never even see the loading screens. It just sort of flickers for a sec, it loads so fast. 
     

    My CS3 loads in 12, so I guess there's more CPU time than drive time involved in launching it.

    I've never launched WoW so I can't really compare, but I guess a flicker is pretty fast 😃

     

    Misleading response; WOW doesn't load much at launch, just a small 3D environment with the bare minimum resources needed to show the title screen. WOW does its loading after you connect.

    My laptop has a 160 GB SSD, and it boots OS X in... 3-4 seconds. Not as instant as people say, but pretty good.

    (Stupidly, sometimes it takes longer than that to wake from sleep. And as an added insult, when that bug happens, it displays the content of the screen as if it were already woken, but won't yet accept a typed password. So you type your password, if only gets the last 3 characters, then tells you your password is wrong when you hit enter. Oh and even worse, if you put it to sleep with a movie playing, it'll play the audio of the movie underneath the login screen. Hey OS X: here's a concept! If I'm not logged-on, why the fuck are you still playing a movie? All it does is annoy the shit out of the people around me, and make me miss part of my movie! Don't even let anybody tell you OS X is free of bugs.)



  • I was referring to the load screens when you say enter an instance.  at that point it does load a lot of data.  You are right though it does continue loading as you move about. 



  • @galgorah said:

    I was referring to the load screens when you say enter an instance.  at that point it does load a lot of data.  You are right though it does continue loading as you move about. 

    Eh. I have a normal spinning HD, and honestly that only takes maybe 5 seconds for me, max.

    Then again, I have plenty of RAM, and Windows 7 is really, really, really fucking good at aggressively filling the cache.



  •  @TheCPUWizard said:

    You would love working in environments where I get to spec the developer's laptops. Standard configuration:  i7 processor, 8 [for juniors, and "line" developers]or 16 GB [for seniors, leads, architects], 256GB SSD, 500GB SATA (both internal).

     Also, EVERYTHING is run inside of Hyper-V VM's - and there are NO performance issues.

     

     Makes sense. Less experienced developers tend to use about half as much RAM as their senior counterparts.

    Also, this forum software is horribad.



  • Wow, just wow. Where I work used to be a similar thing. They refused to buy anything if what you had worked. So I kept a excel spreadsheet stating exactly how long it took us to do certain things and an estimated time scale of how long it took with better equipment along with how much it cost for the various outsourcing. It wasn't long until they asked us to spec for new PCs. Yes, they asked us to spec our own PCs and they just signed the PO 🙂 (Our IT department really just bought standard "off the shelf" PCs and had no real understanding of what we did or what was required). 

    Now we have more staff, oursource about a 1/10th as much, the minimum machine spec is a Core i7 3.4Ghz with 8GB RAM, and have two dedicated rackmount development servers on a decent UPS, which all seniors have full local administrative access to (although they are sitting on a desk in the corner rather than in a rack, but hey, you can't have everything).

     



  • @Mole said:

    although they are sitting on a desk in the corner rather than in a rack
     

    They're not terribly noisy?


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.