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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Nov 25, 2011
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    Thunderbolt Fast Enough For Multiple VM's?
    Hi - I'm new to this forum but have been around OSX for several years.

    I have a new 2011 mac mini (2.3 i5 - 8GB) and I do a fair amount of virtualization testing using VirtualBox on Sever 2008 etc. Even though I use fixed sized VHD's, I'm always running low on disk space as it's only got 500GB internal storage. So the question is, if I moved the VHD's onto a thunderbolt external hard drive such as the Lacie variant, am I right in thinking that it should easily cope with the constant throughput? Or am I missing something obvious?

    I'd rather be sure before buying one

  2. #2

    BrianLachoreVPI's Avatar
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    If it's the Lacie SSD variant - then yes - I think you'll have sufficient bandwidth.

  3. #3


    Member Since
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    Thanks for the reply.

    I was thinking more along the lines of the 1TB model, rather than SSD. Bearing in mind the internal drive is only a 5400rpm drive, through a logic board and onto the PCI-express bus. I was kind of thinking thunderbolt drives should technically be even faster, over that interface with 7200rpm disks. I have no speed issues at presen tho, and that's with running two server 2008 machines, each with 2 VHD's attached - just not much space left after iTunes content and photos etc

  4. #4

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Thunderbolt has more than enough bandwidth for a disk array of any kind. The bottleneck will be the latency of the HDDs, not the bus. There's no reason why you would see a difference in performance over an internal drive.
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  5. #5


    Member Since
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    This is sounding like a plan then - I'll report back once I've bought one and got it up and running!

  6. #6

    XJ-linux's Avatar
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    All of my VM's at work are boot from SAN (DS8300 and XIV) over fiber. So, it's definitely possible with a decent connection. The physical disk is usually more of a bottleneck than throughput of the connection, and mine at 15000 rpm drives. You wouldn't be competing with a whole network's worth of traffic either so I would have no big concern with contention. Assuming you aren't serving up a very active database to a large user pool, I bet it works fine. You may find that some extra RAM on the host OS helps performance more than anything else as far as passing data through the connection.
    Never judge a man, untill you have walked a mile in his shoes...
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  7. #7

    Dysfunction's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJ-linux View Post
    All of my VM's at work are boot from SAN (DS8300 and XIV) over fiber. So, it's definitely possible with a decent connection. The physical disk is usually more of a bottleneck than throughput of the connection, and mine at 15000 rpm drives. You wouldn't be competing with a whole network's worth of traffic either so I would have no big concern with contention. Assuming you aren't serving up a very active database to a large user pool, I bet it works fine. You may find that some extra RAM on the host OS helps performance more than anything else as far as passing data through the connection.
    It's amazing just how many systems out there boot off of either DASD or SAN connected devices. FWIW, the 10Gbit/s throughput is much faster than that DDM's installed in the enclosures, so the bottleneck will be the drive itself as stated above. It doesn't, btw, matter if it's rotational or solid state storage. That will still be the case.
    mike
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