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Thread: Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

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    Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

    I have a Virtual Machine of about 8Gb which I use on two computers. What I'd like to do is have the VM experience be identical on both computers. eg I open Word on one VM, close the physical computer down, startup the second computer, open the VM and have an exact replication of the first VM. Hope that's not too confusing!

    So what I was thinking was having the VM synced using something like SugarSync or Dropbox. Firstly, is this workable? If so, then am I right that after the initial 8Gb sync, only the changes made to the VM will be synced rather than the full 8Gb?

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    Re: Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

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    Re: Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

    So you have 2 machines that connect to the same, single, VM or am I not reading this correctly? What cloud is your VM stored in and are you running it locally on each computer?

    Syncing VMs with likes of SygarSync is unlikely to work - if anything it will have to sync the entire 8GB file each time as there is no way of telling what exactly changed (which blocks as you're syncing single file etc.)

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    Re: Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

    Nope. Obviously I've not explained it correctly. I have one VM, a copy of which resides on each of the computers. There is no connection whatsoever between the two at the moment which is what I want to change.

    So what you're saying is that I would have to close the VM down before it would sync so SugarSync would be able to tell what has changed within the VM. I'm sure that I read somewhere that most sync apps only synced the differences in changed files rather than the entire file in order to reduce bandwith usage but I'm unable to find any confirmation of that now.
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    Re: Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

    what hypervisor is the VM running on?
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    Re: Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

    Parallels.
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    Re: Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

    Hmmm, not sure of anything that backs up Parallels at the hypervisor level :S

    You cannot really back up the underlying files either, at least not without shutting the VM down first.....although if you can schedule a power off, you could probably use RSync to do a differential copy of it....although not ideal and would require some slightly clever scripting.


    Although, TBH, I would just use the power of cloud directly and just have it in one place and available "in the cloud"....unless of course there are sizeable workloads you are uploading/downloading from it.....
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    Re: Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

    Surely you would be backing up the vhd instead of the VM?

    If it's a standard OS why not cloud host it? Amazon offers a free micro instance on AWS for windows etc
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    Re: Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

    Funny you should mention that as I was just looking at the Amazon stuff. Still trying to get my head around which of the billion options I need, how they work and how I'd get my VM/ vhd onto it.
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    Re: Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

    could also use a vps, which is effectively a vm hosted in the clouds that you can vnc onto.

    though the simpleton in me just thinks its time to buy a well speccd laptop...

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    Re: Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluecube View Post
    Funny you should mention that as I was just looking at the Amazon stuff. Still trying to get my head around which of the billion options I need, how they work and how I'd get my VM/ vhd onto it.
    If it's anything like the Azure stuff it's really easy, image the machine, upload vhd, configure the vm machine for the vhd, done

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    Re: Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

    With vmware you could maybe do something flashy with change block tracking and (say) Veeam, but I'm not aware of any cheap / easy way of doing this with non-enterprise products. Or perhaps use differencing hard disks that only track/sync the changes ?


    Probably better to use something like Citrix XenDesktop to keep the VM 'in the cloud' rather than constantly trying to resync the virtual machine.

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    Re: Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

    Coming at this from an outsiders point of view, it seems to me that unless you are going to actually run the VM in the cloud, you shouldn't bother with the cloud.

    Can you not have the VM instance on a USB stick and move that between machines? That would save you from having to sync an 8GB image every time you shut down and start up, and it would save you from having to get rally complicated with file diffs etc.

    Just a though from someone that has never done any work with VMs

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    Re: Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

    I don't know about using a USB drive. However, the nub of the issue is would 8Gb be synced every time a change is made? As I said earlier in the thread, I'm sure I read that Dropbox and SugarSync only sync the changed data within a file rather than the entire file.
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    Re: Syncing a VM stored in the cloud

    My gut instinct is that whatever you're trying to achieve, there is a better way to do it than trying to keep 2 VM's in sync as separate VM's.
    Forget what you think the solution is, what is the problem?
    Perhaps someone has a suggestion for a completely different way of doing things that you hadn't thought of?

    However there is a product that does exactly what you ask. Unfortunately it'll be expensive and not suited for just 2 VM's
    It's called VMware View and is a VDI product. A worker has "their" VM in their companies cloud which is kept in sync with a VM on their laptop/other mobile device with only changes synched. I'd expect the licensing to be astronomical however. Plus there's the fact it's a product designed to scale to tens of thousands of VM's so it's not going to be simple to setup to someone that's never used it before.
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