Using VMware and CruiseContro.NET on a Dell XPS 670 workstation

A few months ago I was able to order a new machine at work, a $g(Dell XPS 670 workstation). It’s a pretty serious workstation and in fact, around the office we’ve been calling these boxes “our mainframes”. Mine has two dual core Intel Xeon CPU’s with 4GB of RAM and two 250GB 7200 RPM hard drives configured using $g(RAID 0).

Keeping this machine from idling all the time can be a difficult task so I just setup a $g(VMware player) running Windows XP SP2 Pro using CruiseControl.NET to run our ASP.NET smoke test. The VM runs minimized in the taskbar and builds whenever the source repository changes. At this point, CruiseControl has been running for 2 days and built and run the smoke test successfully 28 times.

I figure this should help chew up some of these spare cycles

9 thoughts on “Using VMware and CruiseContro.NET on a Dell XPS 670 workstation

  1. You would do better to use vmware server, as you can do more with it, but especially have it run as a service so in event of the machine going down and coming back up, the guest can be automatically started.

  2. Hi Liz,
    I’m using VMWare player because it’s free. My group has a VMWare GSX server and a few ESX servers but I’m interested in keeping the machine in my office busy not to mention there really is no configuration necessary other than installing the player.

  3. Hi Steve,
    regarding VMWare server: it is now free even for use in commercial environments. In my opinion it has the big advantage of including the VMWare tools that can speed up virtualised windows or linux systems a lot. So it might be a good idea to just try it out.


  4. Steve, what do you use to trigger CruiseControl.NET from StarTeam checkins? MPX events or something else?
    BTW, your comments fail to post without an error message in some cases — perhaps when cookies are disabled?

  5. Maik,
    Thanks for the info regarding VMWare server I didn’t realize that it was also free. However, before I were to switch to using it I’d need some really compelling evidence that it would really improved the performance of the VMWare Player as it seems fine to me.
    The team switched to Subversion many months ago. It was around the time when the JBuilder team was looking to include it in their upcoming product (which is now shipping). So now, BDS R&D/QA and Doc all use SVN and of course, CruiseControl.NET has built in support for sync-ing an SVN repository.

  6. Liz,
    I just checked out the VMWare server and the download is 130MB whereas the player is like under 30MB. It hasn’t completely discouraged me but I’m sure as heck a lot less excited about it.

  7. Steve,
    never mind if you do not intend switching to VMWare server. I use it on my Precision 690 because it runs as a service and can be managed remotely. As I see it there are some issues with it that may let you stick to other VMWare products.
    1. It does not support multiple system snapshots.
    2. It does not offer DirectX acceleration.
    I cannot estimate how it the server product would behave on your machine. If you should have some time you could just give it a try. (Could also be good to use other peoples’ spare cycles for testing.)


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