Suggestions for distributing CTPs as VirtualPC images
I finally got around to trying the Sept. CTP of Orcas. I loaded up the VPC images on VPC7 Beta (which seems to perform much better than VPC2004). If this is going to be the way that MS is going to release CTPs in the future here are a few suggestions:
- Don't have undo disks enabled. This just slows things down. If I hose out the vm image I can redownload from MSDN or just recopy it from a backup. This just makes things slow.
- Don't install every single option of VS.NET. Are there really CTP changes to Crystal Reports in this release? This is just a waste of hard drive space and makes the experience more frustrating.
- Tweak the .vmc files so that they don't have some MS developers local paths to the E drive in them. This makes the end user have to relocate the hard drives on first launch. This is a little thing but its so simple to fix why not do it.
- Please, please, please allocate more than 384M ram for a VS.NET + SQL + IIS install. At least up it to 512M. I would not advise that anyone run the Orcas CTP in less than 512M ram. It was painfully slow on my 2 Ghz Core Duo MacBook Pro. I quickly upped it to 1Gig allocation and it was like night and day. I realize that not everyone can allocate 1 gig ram so a better compromise would be 512M. If you only have 512M mem in your host PC then your virtualization experience is going to be horrible anyway. Again this is a small thing but its so brain dead simple it should just be setup correctly to begin with.
- Make the simple tweaks to make win2k more developer workstation friendly. For example: do we need to have the shutdown logging feature enabled in order to preview a CTP? The performance options were still set to Background Services and System Cache!?! These tweaks could be made to the parent differencing disk at the beginning so that the OS install is set and ready to go for developer use.
One of the advantages of a virtualized CTP is that we developers don't have to sit through an install process. This is negated if we have to do alot of fiddling with the VM settings in order to make it run at an acceptable level.
These are all little nit picks but I think the effort is really small and would give the end users a much better experience when trying out the CTPs.
P.S. also consider using a tool like http://www.invirtus.com/ to shrink down and optimize the vm image. VM Optimizer works wonders for shrinking the size of the virtual machine which in turn improves over all perf.