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New install of Mint 17.1 on SSD - Will running VM's on it shorten lifespan?


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#1 cat1092

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Posted 11 January 2015 - 04:22 AM

Have a 180GiB Intel 330 SSD, that was removed from my primary PC yesterday and replaced with an upgraded model. 

 

It's going back into the notebook it came out of, an MSI FX603, decently powered with an i5 480M (1st gen), GeForce Gt 425M & 8GiB RAM. Since I have another SSD in there for Windows 7 & 8.1 Pro, and don't see the need of wasting space on a precious SSD storing data, am considering running MInt 17.1 MATE on the entire drive. 

 

Making like 32GiB for root, 4GiB for Swap, and the rest for /home. 

 

My question has to do with running VM's on the SSD, while I realize that putting them to Sleep or Hibernating them creates huge writes, I'm not running them that way. My VM's are just like my computers, they're on or shut down. This being the case, do I need to be concerned with accelerated wear on the SSD? It still has over 99% of life left, and was the 2nd fastest SSD on my PC, with writes of close to 500MB/sec & reads of 600MB/sec (ATTO Benchmark). Of course, this speed will be cut in half, because the notebook I'm re-installing it in is SATA 2, though it'll come close to saturating SATA 2 speeds. In real life, this isn't noticed at boot, but when doing other work, and still will be much faster than a HDD. 

 

My plans are to run both Windows 7 & XP Pro as VM's on the install, but if it's going to cause excessive wear & tear, will take a different strategy. The SSD was purchased for that notebook in 2012, has a bit of warranty left, has served me well, and was blindsided by the performance on my PC, far more than I expected after it's first 2.5 years in my notebook. Figured that all of the time of being on SATA 2 MB had took some of it's kick away, but didn't. 

 

Anyone know the advantages & pitfalls of running VM's on a SSD? I don't think it matters about the Host OS, any wear & tear is the same. Also, I didn't purchase it to showcase it, but to use it, however not abuse it. 

 

I realize that this Topic may be better placed in the Hardware section for the most views, but am asking current LInux users experience first. 

 

We need to be a little Hardware aware also.  :thumbup2:

 

Thanks for any answers provided.  :)

 

Cat

 


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


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#2 NickAu

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Posted 11 January 2015 - 04:35 AM

 

Anyone know the advantages & pitfalls of running VM's on a SSD? I

I do it, I shut down the actual OS in VM, ................... Its got 5 years warranty, If it fails they fix or repair it.................. and anyway I am looking for an excuse so I can buy a 512 GiB or even a 1 TiB SSD. I treat my SSD like a HDD. Even my swap is on SSD.

Samsung 840 EVO Series 1TB 2.5" Internal Solid State Drive SSD SATA III

 

These SSD makers are not stupid they do not give 3 and 5 year warranty’s for nothing,


Edited by NickAu, 11 January 2015 - 04:40 AM.


#3 cat1092

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Posted 11 January 2015 - 05:26 AM

That's true, they have to honor their warranty, thing is for me, mine about 6-7 months of running out, one reason why I asked. 

 

BTW, if you get a Samsung 850 EVO rather than the 840, you'll have 5 years warranty rather than 3 & a much faster SSD. If you get the 850 Pro, that jumps to 10 years. So if performance is up your alley, the 850 EVO will be for you, pricing is already decent here, and will further drop as time passes. 

 

There's a reason why these top SSD OEM's can do this, and that's because in general, SSD's are now lasting longer than HDD's. Samsung has HDD's, but they turned that over to Seagate when they bought them out, I have two of what was considered Samsung's top HDD's in the US (HD103SJ) many considered this 1TB option better than the WD Caviar Black of the same size (including me), now are great backup drives. They ran cooler & didn't vibrate like the Caviar Black does, and more reliable. 

 

Samsung, Crucial, Intel (the three brands I have), as well as SanDisk has some really great SSD's out there, and I've yet had one to hiccup, other than a Samsung 250GiB 840 EVO, a firmware release fixed that. My first was a m4 128GiB, and the warranty will pass in March, but it's still going strong, has never been in a SATA 3 PC, so will never know how fast it could have been, though I could pull it out & test it, not worth the trouble. But all seven of my SSD's have ran great since I've had them, while at the same time, have has to send two HDD's back for a replacement. So the record speaks for itself. 

 

They wouldn't be guaranteeing these SSD's for 3 to 10 years if they were no good. 

 

The really great SanDisk SSD's, made for servers/workstations and 8TiB large, do run VM's and they're getting ready to jump to at least 12TiB, probably 16TiB, what they're shooting for. 

 

Just wanted to get some type of idea on well the consumer based SSD's hold to VM's. 

 

Thanks for your input Nick, as always. :thumbup2:

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#4 pcpunk

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Posted 11 January 2015 - 03:34 PM

Good stuff guys, I am always interested in reading about how durable this stuff can really be, from people that actually use it.  This is better than a consumers report lol. see ya.


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#5 Guest_hollowface_*

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Posted 11 January 2015 - 05:08 PM

I've run virtual machines on my SSD from time to time. It's an unimportant drive to me so I've never worried about its lifespan, but there are few minor things that come to mind. Of course I have a rather minute amount of first hand experience with nand-flash SSDs so there may be addtional concerns I'm unaware of.

If the OS was installed on a real machine, as files are deleted TRIM or garbage collection would free that space for overprovisioning, and the next time a write occurs there would be more pages available to choose from. However on a virtual machine the virtual disk will take up more room than a normal installation (because freed blocks on the virtual disk remain filled on the host), which leaves less locations for host OS writes. SSDs use wear leveling to make sure that pages are worn as evenly as possible by writing to pages that are the least worn. Two concerns would be particular pages being more quickly worn compared to a native install because less pages are available to write to, and additional write amplification caused by re-writing data deemed static to the most worn pages. The worst part being that potentially some of the write amplification could be writing data that is empty space on the virtual disk. Every piece of data you write to an SSD has an effect on it, and when using a virtual machine with a virtual hard drive, the hard drive file's total size will be nearly always be larger than a native install once the virtual machine sees some usage. Many SSDs have guestimations, like it can write X amount of data every day under typical use and it will last X number of years. So you'd just be potentially tacking on a bit of extra data to your daily amount written, compared to a native install.

Both Windows 7 and Windows XP create pagefiles by default, if you're concerned about wear you may want to disable them, though this could negatively affect performance if the guest OS runs low on ram.

Windows 7 uses NTFS, which is a journalling filesystem. Journalling helps protect your data, but it also results in additional writes.

Anyways, those are the only things that come to my mind. To me, they don't seem like anything worthy of concern, aside from the pagefiles.

 



#6 cat1092

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 02:15 AM


 

 

If the OS was installed on a real machine, as files are deleted TRIM or garbage collection would free that space for overprovisioning, and the next time a write occurs there would be more pages available to choose from. However on a virtual machine the virtual disk will take up more room than a normal installation (because freed blocks on the virtual disk remain filled on the host), which leaves less locations for host OS writes.

 

This was a major concern in my decision, once say, a 35GiB virtual disk is created, it's there. It will always be 35GiB until the VM is deleted from the OS. Add another, that's over half of the /home partition on what is, after formatting, a drive space of 167GiB. The root would be 40GiB, that cuts down /home to 133GiB after allowing a 4GiB Swap partition. Am creating that size of a Swap from here on out, because who known when a software may require it? Plus, unlike my PC, where there's 24GiB of RAM to lean on, am sorely limited to 8GiB, the max that the MB & CPU supports (1st gen Intel Core i5 480M mobile series). Later moblie series allowed for up to 16GiB, then 32GiB with the last round of i5 & i7 CPU's, though the OEM may limit this with the installed MB. 

 

While at the same time, cut out hyper threading for the i5, which I currently have. My suspicions are this was a move to force consumers to step up to an i7 for this feature, which in the mobile series didn't offer a true quad core option until the 4th gen series, then stripped that away & instead reintroduced hyperthreading with the 5th gen mobile series. Seems like regression, rather than progression. Notebook users power is being slowly throttled away, with maybe exceptions for some $3,000+ units, such as top line Alienware models. Will be looking at a very possible upgrade to a 1st gen i7 on this one, used models are creeping down in price. 

 

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/core/core-i7-processor.html

 

So until I can figure out how to run VM's externally, which will involve purchasing a good USB 3.0 enclosure & adding a ext4 partition for this purpose with a existing HDD (500GiB WD Scorpio Black), have chosen to install a testing version of Windows 7 Ultimate & dual boot with LM 17.1 MATE, this gives me two SSD's on the system. If this SSD were newer & a bit larger (at least 250GiB), I'd be more apt to go for it, but with around 6-7 months tops warranty remaining, am a bit hesitant. At this time, am focused on other hardware upgrades, with 7 SSD's total on two notebooks and main PC (3 are in the PC), there are other pressing needs. That final 16GiB set of RAM to max out the PC to 32GiB, and a possible GPU upgrade, in addition to the CPU upgrade on this notebook. 

 

The cool thing about upgrading the CPU on this notebook, this i5 is a drop in fit to a 2010 Toshiba that my wife uses, that has an i3 of the same series & socket, and will offer at least one feature to it that it doesn't have, Turbo Boost. So by hand-me-down options, I'm allowed to upgrade two computers in one sweep, just as with the two Samsung 840 EVO's that was purchased for the Dell (120 & 250GiB), one went in this one, the smaller in the Toshiba. 

 

One final thing about running VM's on a Linux host where the root is on a SSD & /home & Swap are on a HDD. There's an option to use the host's I/O cache, which allows the VM's to run at speeds they could not otherwise attain. The VM pic I'm pasting is actually on a HDD, with graphics being the lowest score at 6.0. The next lowest score is that of the drive at 6.9, even though it's on a HDD. 

 

Screenshot-10-1.png

 

If this were a physical PC, it would likely outperform 80% of those on retail shelves (as purchased), especially those at high volume, low priced department retailers. Their "premium" PC's are way overpriced, just seen a Dell Inspiron with probably the lowest cost i5 included, for only $50 less than I paid for this one. Sure, a flimsy monitor was included with the Inspiron bundle, but I'd be willing to wager $100 that the VM I've posted would run circles around it (as purchased), and it's using just a third of my computing power. So the difference between running a VM on a SSD or HDD may not be that much, at least on a consumer oriented computer. 

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 





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