Jon Galloway rips on using virtualized machines as a way to get work done. His point is that we take fast PC’s and make slow machines of yesterday out of them by creating virtualized OS’s inside of/on top of them.

In some ways I agree, but in other areas I think he is off base a little bit.

For the most part it looks like he is talking about Virtual PC on a Windows host, and yes I agree the performance level in this type of setup is completely sub-par.

Jon, I invite you to try out the wonderful world of Linux and virtualization. I run 2 Linux (Ubuntu) machines utilizing both VM-ware server and Virtual Box to host multiple (yes multiple) virtualized OS’s running at the same time. Loss of performance is a mute point.

A fresh install of XP SP2 on Virtual Box will boot in about 15 seconds with only 512 MB of RAM. You can’t even do that with dedicated hardware. (Out of the box anyway)

The best part about using a Linux host for virtualization, is that you can take all the memory but about 256 MB from the host and dish it out to the VM’s. Linux doesn’t need much more than that to run efficiently as a VM host. I do it all day long.

Another thing you missed about virtualizing machines is the portability factor. If I want to take my entire development environment with me on the road via only my usb hard drive, I can. When Microsoft releases a new “patch” that completely hoses my development machine I can roll back via snapshot. When I want to save huge amounts of electricity by only running 2 decent (dual core, 2-4 GB ram, 1TB hard drive) machines instead of the 8 equivalent machines it would take to reproduce my environment, I can.

I agree with you Jon, that virtualization may not be the most elegant solution, but it is, so far, the best solution especially when utilized on a Linux rather than Windows host.

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