When SharePoint 2010 beta was released, everyone wanted to get their hands on it as soon as possible, and so did I. I went away installing it as a vm on my Dell XPS 1530 with a duo core processor and 4 gigs of memory on a 7200 rpm harddrive. Well I soon came back disappointed, the performance was crap (which is an understatement).
Then I noticed that it was possible to boot from VHD (see Scott Henselman post for instance), eureka :) Now it was possible to dedicate all my hardware resources to just one operating system and make the most out of it. And I must confess it actually worked rather great, that’s what I call “paddle with the paddles that you have available” (an expression that we use in Holland). So I actually was getting some performance even during my development. This is definitely something that I would like to recommend to anyone that doesn’t have the option to get a new laptop, use a bootable VHD instead and start cracking with SP2010. Besides the performance advantage you can also make backups quite easily, just copy - paste your VHD and you’re all set :)
To avoid booting from VHD you can also consider an memory upgrade to 6 gig (if supported) and insert an SSD harddrive and use that together with your duo core processor. Although I haven’t tested this myself this configuration should let you run SP2010 in a VM as well, see Mike Walsh hispost.
Recently I am lucky enough to own a new Dell studio XPS which has an i7 core, 8gigs of memory and a SSD, in short A BEAST! It also matches my feminine white iphone :) Anyway this thing runs like crazy, I can hardly keep up with it. I reckon the SSD is the key performer in this configuration. You will experience a virtual environment that is just as snappy as your host operating system, it’s that fast. Unfortunately I only have an 128 gig SSD drive and soon ran out of disk space, so I thought I will make use of my eSata connector which has twice as much read/write speed then a USB 2.0 port and run my virtual machine from there. I can’t exactly tell why but I had high expectations, but still got a bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still reasonably fast but just not as fast as running it from my local SSD, I got spoiled I guess. The eSata drive will still come in handy as it is faster then USB and will be perfect to cover my lack of storage space.
To keep a long story long, get a new laptop with an i5 or i7 core, 8gigs and an SSD drive, otherwise run your SP2010 dev environment from a bootable VHD. As you noticed I didn’t pull in any facts and figures of the hardware technologies I have been using, it’s just my personal experience while working with SP2010.
Some useful links:
- Less Virtual, More Machine - Windows 7 and the magic of Boot to VHD by Scott Henselman
- Solid State Drive/SSD and SharePoint Server, Project Server Demo Image Benchmark by Christophe Fiessinger
- The myths of the requirements for SharePoint 2010 – by Mike Walsh