Any performance tips for running Flare on a VM?

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Any performance tips for running Flare on a VM?

Postby skwpt on Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:46 am

I could use input from those of you who are using Flare on a VM.

My environment/settings:
  • Macbook Pro 13" retina with 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5 processor and 16 GB memory
  • Flare 11 on Parallels 10 VM with Windows 8.1
  • 8GB of memory allocated to the VM
  • No other user-installed programs running on the VM besides Flare (and sometimes Capture)
  • Habitually shut down all non-essential applications or memory hogs (browsers) on the host OS
Desite what seems like a reasonable setup, Flare is frustratingly sluggish and unresponsive for update/delete activities. The UI temporarily flashes and turns transparent/grey to black and returns a "Not Responding" message in the menu bar.

When things seem to be running normally, if I open the \Content\Resources\Images folder, Flare continues to refresh the Content Explorer pane many times (stuck in a loop?). After it finishes looping, Flare freezes at the end of the \Images\C*.* files, and then takes several minutes to render the rest of the image files.

Another thing that brings Flare to its knees is moving files from one location to another. I probably need to open a new topic just for that issue alone.

During these underperforming events, the OS X Activity Monitor shows 4 GB of memory is still free. The Windows Task Manager is under 20% CPU and memory, each. However, I noticed what appears to be two instances of Flare running. One for the app and one for my project?

Are there any performance tweaks those of you using Flare on a VM can share?
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Running Flare 2017 r2 on a MacBook Pro.
Parallels Desktop 12 hypervisor with Windows 10 VM
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Re: Any performance tips for running Flare on a VM?

Postby RamonS on Fri Nov 13, 2015 7:16 am

This is not a RAM or CPU issue. Anything in a VM ends up as drive I/O and especially laptops tend to have slower drives because they use less power. The Macbook Pro comes either with a 1TB 5400 rpm hard disk or a 512GB SSD. My bet is yours has the 1TB 5400 rpm drive in it and that is the reason why performance of disk I/O heavy tasks is in the toilet.
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Re: Any performance tips for running Flare on a VM?

Postby Nita Beck on Fri Nov 13, 2015 7:49 am

Question: Is the Flare project bound to Subversion?

I've had relatively few performance issues with non-bound Flare projects or with Flare projects bound to Git in Flare 11 on Windows 7 Pro on VMWare on a MacBook Pro (with an SS drive, not a hard drive).

But Flare is annoyingly sluggish and often goes unresponsive in projects that are bound to Subversion. My hunch is that the culprit is how Flare has been programmed to communicate with the SVN server. But to exacerbate the issue (and no fault of Flare's), because I've chosen to work on a virtual machine on my beloved Mac, in order for Flare to hit the SVN server, it has to go through multiple request layers: Windows out to VMWare out to the Mac back into the Mac into VMWare into Windows. To overcome these issues, I sometimes purposefully disconnect from the network, start up the project for which now Flare can't "see" the server at all, and work away. (I can even reconnect to the network at this point because Flare still "thinks" there's no server.) Later, when I'm ready to check in my changes, I close Flare, reconnect to the network (if not already reconnected), start up the project, and then check my stuff in.

Last comment, totally anecdotal: One of my Flare user group pals started out using Parallels and was quite unhappy. She switched to VMWare and saw a lot of improvement. I don't recall the details of why she was dissatisfied with Parallels.
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Re: Any performance tips for running Flare on a VM?

Postby skwpt on Fri Nov 13, 2015 10:01 am

Thank you for the input, Ramon and Nita.

According to About this Mac > System Report > Hardware > Storage, my drive is SSD.

My project is bound to Git, but I am doing commits through SourceTree. After much fumbling and failing on my part, IT helped me set it up and said something about SSH not being supported in Flare, which is what my company uses. I do think the performance change occurred after binding to Git.

Thanks for the tip on disconnecting from the server. I'll give that a try.

As for Parallels vs VmWare Fusion, I agonized longer about that choice than on choosing an authoring system!
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Running Flare 2017 r2 on a MacBook Pro.
Parallels Desktop 12 hypervisor with Windows 10 VM
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Re: Any performance tips for running Flare on a VM?

Postby djohnson on Fri Mar 04, 2016 10:52 am

Here are my general notes on using Flare on a variety of VMs

Started on a 2GHz 15" MacBook Pro (ca. 2009) running on Boot Camp. This was unacceptable as I like using the Mac environment (BBEdit can't be beat for mass search/replace etc. in lots of text files).

However, Boot Camp is an option you shouldn't discount if you want better performance.

I switched originally to VMWare, but was continually having performance issues. This may have been hardware or configuration related, or both. But Parallels has better support for multiple displays; I can have one display for Mac software and one for Windows and switch back and forth pretty easily, and use both screens in either environment when necessary.

Conventional wisdom says keep your VMs on a separate drive (not a separate partition) from your host OS. This isn't always practical for a laptop user; external drives suffer from the speed of their interface (USB2?). I don't find this necessary at all with an SSD.

= = =

My current "sweet" setup is parallels 11, Windows 10 (though I think I would prefer 8.1). The Mac is a 2013 (pre-Retina) 27" iMac quad core 3.5GHz i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD (I went wild).
I find that Windows with Flare does fine in 4GB RAM, but definitely the quad-core processor helps; I devote two cores to Windows.

If your Mac is quad core, try devoting two cores to the VM; if it's dual-core, one core should be OK. (I always worry devoting the same number of cores to the VM as the machine has; to me this is a recipe for sluggishness somewhere.)

And absolutely, upgrade to an SSD.
Don Johnson
Flare 2017r3 and 2018, Windows 10 Spring 2018 update in a Parallels VM on a 5K iMac running macOS 10.13.4 [as of July 2018]
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Re: Any performance tips for running Flare on a VM?

Postby skwpt on Mon Aug 01, 2016 3:58 am

I came across this old post of mine and thought I would comment on what my performance problem was, if only to keep other newbies from doing what I did.

When I had installed Flare 11 on the Windows virtual machine, I placed the data files (Contents, Output, Project) on the Mac. Every time I tried to rename a file or folder, or even click between Content Explorer and Project Organizer, Flare took a coffee break while I tried to bend it to my will. I also never understood why the Analyzer folder wasn't where it was supposed to be. I had to go digging for it in C:\Users\me\AppData\Local\MadCap Software on the VM.

When I installed everything directly on the VM with Flare 12, I noticed an immediate improvement in response time.
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Running Flare 2017 r2 on a MacBook Pro.
Parallels Desktop 12 hypervisor with Windows 10 VM
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Re: Any performance tips for running Flare on a VM?

Postby RamonS on Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:53 am

So you were using a shared drive between VM and local system? IIRC that is still considered beta by VM and I use it only for read-only access from the VM. You got also a lot of overhead in there because the shared drive does not use the same file system and everything needs to be pulled through drivers (software) and converted.
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Re: Any performance tips for running Flare on a VM?

Postby skwpt on Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:12 pm

Oops, I just saw your comment, Ramon.

Yes, I was using a shared drive between my host and guest OS! I don't even remember how or why I set it up that way last July, but Flare 12 (installed appropriately) runs so much faster now, and I am slowly getting used to its new features, like integrated Git with SSH support.
__________________________________________________________________
Running Flare 2017 r2 on a MacBook Pro.
Parallels Desktop 12 hypervisor with Windows 10 VM
skwpt
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Posts: 88
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2015 2:39 pm


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