There are a few more things I'm aware off (and I was working with VMWare and VPC before VPC "joined Microsoft" ;-) ) - they also work with Virtual Server or VMWare:
- Keep the file-based disks as less fragmented as possible (Sysinternals provides a tool called Contig which is able to defragment single files).
- Due to fragmentation I'd prefer to keep the VPC-Images on a different partition / drive than documents.
- If you want to use an external Harddrive for your images, use Firewire instead of USB. USB is theoretically a bit faster, however it's harder on the CPU. Firewire is much faster when running VPCs.
- Clean up your VPC-Harddrives - there's a tool in VPC SP1, the Virtual Disk Precompactor. After running it the file will be compacted better (VMWare provides this Option in the Client additions).
- Compact the files on the Host (NTFS-Compression), don't compact them inside the client. I've got this tip (among others) from my friend Ronald Beekelaar who's MVP for VPC and who's one of the best sourcens when it comes to VMWare or VPC.
- If you are running multiple machines with the same OS, use differencing disks. That means you create one disk with the Operating System (configure it how you all your machines prefer) and sysprep it or copy newsid (from Sysinternals) on it (you can also start it using the Runonce-Key). Then create differencing disks for different machines (never run the base-disk again - it'll corrupt your differencing disks). Make sure to change the name, IP and SID on every machine you are planning to run at the same time. Differencing disks will increase your performance when running multiple machines at the same time. E.g. an installation of Windows XP might need a bit over 1 GB, so two machines would make more than 2 GB. If you are using differencing disks, the differencing disks size will be about 200 MB after changing the SID, so two machines of XP would add up to 1 GB (base) + 200 MB (diff 1) + 200 MB (diff 2) which is significantly less than two full disks. Think of the disk caching the host has to perform - much more performance (Note: VMWare is also introducing differencing disks in the next version - or current beta. However you'd be able to create differencing disks with every Version of VMWare higher than version 3 (at least) - but you had to create them manually. But this might be a different topic).
- Increase the RAM of your Host, and decrease the space your Virtual OS is using - clean up temporary files, different caches, resize your pagefile, …
- For a single VM create a full-sized disk instead of a expanding. If the disk is in the final size and defragmented it will not be increased later (thus performing better). If you are using differencing disks use a expanding disk and make it as small as possible.
- If you do WebCasts, Netmeeting or any other forms of Application Publishing use the Virtual Server Remote Client (VMRC) with Virtual Server - it's great for switching between machines easily.
- If you do presentations, use Remote Desktop instead of the VPC Windows (or the Virtual Server Remote Client, or VMWare). Remote Desktop (in Windows 2000 known as Terminal Services in Administration Mode) is faster, and you are able to increase it to full screen. If you have been to any of my classes/presentations you know what I mean - you can present from one machine like it's a monitor connected to a KVM-Switch, which increases the experience for the audience.
I guess that are the most important tips using VPC, Virtual Server or VMWare. I love those products - and I work a lot with them. I've simulated every environment or scenario at customers during my projects in the last years, gave many presentations and classes using them, and you can do almost everything you want. They ROCK!