Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Use Virtual Machine to Evaluate Software

Here at OMII-UK we need to evaluate software generated in the commissioned software project from time to time. For instance, now it is my duty to evaluate SPAM-GP, some JSR-168 portlets for security stuff. I am using VMware Server to do this job. I think it is great! Basically, I build a virtual machine, in which I install, configure and test the software to be evaluated. Benefits by doing so are obvious:
  • It is a VM, where the software is running. So it has all advantages as we dedicate a physical machine to the software. This is a working instance, and we can keep it as long as we wish. It is also easy for someone else who wants to see a demo or to play with it.
  • Compared to a physical machine, the VM only costs around 3GB disk space. Sounds quite large, but it is little in my 200GB harddisk.
VMware Server supports snapshot. A snapshot is a persistent state of the whole VM. It can be used to save the current state of the VM, which we are happy with. Then we can carry on manipulating the VM and come back to the snapshot whenever we want. But unfortunately, in VMware Server, only one snapshot can be taken for each VM. A newly taken snapshot will simply replace the previous one.

My machine has 1GB memory. So sometimes it is slow to run VMware server, particularly when two VMs are running at the same time.

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