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I'm going to build a computer on which I'm going to run 2-3 VirtualBox guests. The main system will be Fedora. On my current desktop (8GB RAM, one 7200rpm drive), disk I/O seems to be the bottleneck.

On my new system, which is going to be my best option to increase the performance of VirtualBox with 2-3 guests?

  1. Running 7200rpm drives in RAID-0 or RAID-5
  2. Using one fast 10K drive.
  3. Going from 8GB to 16GB of RAM

All my code will be in SVN, so I'm not worried about the increased disk failure with RAID-0. I simply want a tuned VirtualBox host.

Finally, what if I could pick two of the three? I might just splurge.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'd go with the higher amount of memory first and foremost. The more data you can hold in memory at a time, the less frequent you need to access the disk. If you can pick 2 of 3, go for the RAID-5 for sure. 10k rpm drives are fairly high priced and not really worth the price to performance ratio. RAID-5 offers performance and redundancy all in one.

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I thought RAID-5 was horribly slow – Earlz Jun 11 '11 at 23:38

Instead of using RAID for your disk setup, you might get a better return on your investment if all of your virtuals live on different high speed hard drives.

Good luck, and have fun!

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and disk I/O will always be a bottleneck when you have more than one active VHD on the same drive, RAID or no RAID. scrap the 'RAID idea' and place your virtual hard disks on 3 separate hard drives instead.

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Assuming that I'm only actively using one guest at a time, wouldn't I get much better, read/write performance with simultaneous use of all my drives? – anon Nov 19 '09 at 4:13
ahh, that's different then i thought you had disk I/O problems when running multiple VMs simultaneously. – Molly7244 Nov 19 '09 at 4:34

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