If You’re Wondering Why I Haven’t Blogged This Week…

There is so much new stuff in SharePoint 2010, and for someone who loves writing, staying quiet for that long with so much information to relay usually indicates that I’m dead. I’m not, at least not this time.

The thing is, I have this VM rig set up at home. I built it in 2007, it has 8 GB of RAM, quad-core Q6600 Xeon CPU, tons of hard drives, and I disassemble the whole thing once every quarter to clean and service fans, fasten cables, etc. I keep it in tip-top shape, and it continues to perform brilliantly.

On a typical day, I run at least 5 VMs off this computer. I run Windows 2003 R2 x64 as the host OS and have workstation VMs running preferably Windows XP, but more recently Windows 7, since I need SharePoint Designer 2010.

Two W2K3 R2 servers handle my home network infrastructure, including the domain services, DNS, DHCP, file server, source control, printers, etc. These require very little performance so they have only minimal amounts of RAM (384 Mb each). They run on the same disk, but separate from any other VMs.

Then I have my writing VM that I use for any kind of authoring, sans blogging. This is a SharePoint development lab really, and I set it up in a very specific manner to speed up writing and development testing. This is where I do most of my productive work, and it has the same setup as I described in Beginning SharePoint Development.

Finally, I quite often run one or more scenario lab servers for investigating a particular scenario that requires a specific setup and server configuration. This is usually either for a customer or for an Understanding SharePoint Journal issue. I’ve run up to four MOSS servers in such a scenario, in addition to all the other VMs I have mentioned.

I absolutely love my VM host, despite being almost three years old, it continues to churn out performance.

But it’s not enough. As I wrote in a previous post, SharePoint 2010 requires massive amounts of performance. In fact, to run SP2010 on my rig, I need to shut down everything but the 384 Mb primary domain controller and my writing lab, even though I’ve put the SP2010 VM on a separate and dedicated disk. I’ve tried reducing the RAM but that almost doubled request and response time and made the Windows interface as slow as James May.

That’s why I have no workstation VM on which to write blog posts if I’m going to run SharePoint 2010. I simply don’t have enough juice.

I tried booting my current workstation Windows 7 VM while the SP2010 server ran, and it took 12 minutes to boot and log in. In theory, there should be enough reserved RAM, and the hard disks are separate from the SP2010 disk, but still, it takes forever to get a fairly quick OS up and running. Close the SP2010 server, and it’s down to about 2 minutes.

So, since I have been writing on issue 2 of the Introducing SharePoint 2010 series for the last week or so, including creating up a full video walkthrough of setting up the SharePoint 2010 lab environment, that I sadly messed up, I couldn’t blog.

In any case, I’ve configured a new VM rig that is ready for order, this time with initially 24 GB of RAM, 14 TB of disks (9x2TB disks), dual quad-core Xeon 5520 CPUs, and I hope that will be enough to run at least one SP2010 server along with the rest of my setup.

But now, however, I’m going to write a couple of blog post for posting later this week, and then I’m off to Edinburgh to spend a nice weekend with my wife for the first time in many months.

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Bjørn Furuknap

I previously did SharePoint. These days, I try new things to see where I can find the passion. If you have great ideas, cool projects, or is in general an awesome person, get in touch and we might find out together.

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