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Installing guest OS on Virtual Server 2005 R2 very slow

Posted on 2006-07-11
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The existing threads for VS2005 (R2) all say that any performance bottlenecks are solved by install the VSAdditions, *after* the guest OS has been installed. The problem is that doesn't help me reduce the time taken to install the guest OS in the first place.

I'm new to VS, and my first install took 6 hours to copy the bloody setup files!! Then another day (a day???!!!) or so to do the actual OS install. All the time the disk subsystem was madly thrashing about like a shark attack victim. Hardware specs:
HP ML350 3Gb RAM, host OS working set is less than available physical RAM including 1Gb VS
RAID 5 on non-write caching smartarray 532 controller, 10k disks
VHD is autoexpanding and sits on the host boot drive (hey, I'm only testing at this stage)
Windows SBS2003 SP1 Host
Windows Server 2003 R2 Guest (that's what I had lying around)

Are there any useful tips for deploying Win2003 SP1 on a VS2005 R2 host that reduces the initial setup time?

Does a write-caching controller *significantly* improve this?

Does placement of the VHD file or using static VHD's *significantly* improve this?

After the VSAdditions were installed I am so far quite happy with the overall performance of both the Host and Guest.
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Question by:TEAMnetwork Systems
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5 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Netman66
ID: 17086826
No, the initial time is the longest.  Once you create the VM guest you can Sysprep it, shut it down then copy the VHD off and reuse it for all the other VMs, you only need to change the computername (if you didn't select a random one in Sysprep).

The caching should be split 50/50 Read/Write.  You probably had lots of Host traffic during this and thus the time issue.  If done off-hours it should take about the same time as loading a real server.

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oBdA earned 2000 total points
ID: 17088601
Did you perhaps setup this virtual machine to use a SCSI controller, and then just booted from CD and ran the install? Yes, that will take ages since the Adaptec SCSI driver is used.
If you want to install to a virtual drive attached to a virtual SCSI controller, hit F6 during boot from CD to install additional drivers, map the existing virtual floppy disk "SCSI shunt driver" into the virtual machine, and use this driver.
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LVL 104

Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 17093593
Are you installing off a physical CD-ROM drive? That is very slow.
I do all of my virtual machine installations (whether Virtual Server or VMWARE) off ISOs that are located on the same machine. I can build a complete Windows 2003 server in less than 40 minutes that way.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:TEAMnetwork Systems
ID: 17096028
Thanks for those comments. To oBdA and Sembee, I'm sure both those points will be valid and but I'll need to retry the install to see. Thanks.
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Author Comment

by:TEAMnetwork Systems
ID: 17096803
The SCSI shunt driver did it for me. oBdA, you are a god. Also, using the iso images to install is heavenly. Thanks folks.
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