Re: Tools: Mac Virtualization

Subject: Re: Tools: Mac Virtualization
From: coliver -at- lexmark -dot- com
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2007 15:46:04 -0500

Quoth Bryan Sherman:
> I recently drank the apple juice (as opposed to kool-aid) and
> purchased a MacBook Pro to replace my Thinkpad. Most of my work is
> still Windows based, so I am looking at the various solutions for
> running Windows on a Macintosh. The options I am exploring are:
> 1. Bootcamp. (free and included)
> 2. Parallels.
> 3. VMWare Fusion.
> I am leaning towards Fusion, but wanted to ask if anyone has a
> solution they particularly enjoy, or any tips or watchouts.

Without any experience with Fusion, my recommendation would be for
Parallels. I've been running a MacBook Pro with Parallels and WinXP for
about a year and a half now, after an abyssmal first experience with Boot
Camp. It's not perfectly seamless, but it's close enough to get the job
done with very few hiccups. With Parallels Tools running inside the
virtual machine, the VM and OS X share clipboards, and you can designate
specific folders in OS X as viewable by the VM for easy file exchange
between the two OSes.

If you go this route, try to configure the MBP with as much RAM as
possible when you purchase it. Parallels will let you use up to 1 GB for
the virtual machine (thus, your Windows image will have a maximum of 1 GB
available, which may not be optimal if you're doing a lot of design work).
By itself, that's not crippling, but my corporate masters' email system
is Lotus Notes. The Mac Notes client and Parallels together are
sufficient memory hogs that out of 2 GB of installed memory, I currently
have 22 MB free.

Likewise, if you're going to be working in multiple virtual machines, get
the largest possible hard drive. My normal production work VM consumes
about 18 GB of drive space; that's a Windows XP installation with Office
'03, Acrobat Pro 7, Dreamweaver, and very little else aside from data
files. Someday I'll figure out where the rest of the space really goes...

When I transitioned from a Windows desktop to the MBP, I used the
Parallels tools to create a disk image of my PC, then pulled that into
Parallels so I could start with a virtual machine whose settings were
entirely familiar. This was immensely helpful in easing the OS X learning
curve, because I was able to gradually move data and tasks from the VM to
the Mac as I grew more comfortable with my new OS. I'm still running the
VM on a daily basis because I rely on some tools that aren't available in
OS X, but a good chunk of my work takes place in OS X and I can
reflexively flip back and forth between the two without having to pause
and think about what I'm doing.

Parallels is particularly nice for me because I have the ability to create
new disk images and virtual machines with minimal effort. I work in a
software development shop and occasionally need "clean" OS installations
on which to examine early builds. My solution has been to create a single
fresh image, then copy it when I need a fresh testbed for something. I do
all my testing in the copy, which I delete when I'm done. This ensures
that I'm consistently testing new builds in the same enviroment without
the possibility of residual files causing unnecessary complications. This
is probably old hat for anyone who's familiar with virtualization, but
it's still new and a bit shiny for me. If you need this sort of
capability, Parallels (or presumably Fusion) would be preferable to Boot

- C.

Clayton A. Oliver
Technical Communication Team Lead
Lexmark International, Inc.
(859) 825-4347
mailto:coliver -at- lexmark -dot- com


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Tools: Mac Virtualization: From: Bryan Sherman

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