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How well does it work to run VirtualBox machine images from a location in my Dropbox?

How well does it work to run VirtualBox machine images from a location in my Dropbox?

Helpful | Level 6

With two Mac I am thinking of storing my VirtualBox machine images in my Dropbox - on the 1TB plan I have plenty of space. Then i could use the iamge (at different times) from both computers without any hassle.

 

How well does it work to have the images in Dropbox and run them from that location? Will the syncing process be overwhelmed? Might the image files get corrupted?

 

What experience do other have with this setup? - Thanks for any tips!

 

(Please note, I am not talking about using Dropbox in the VM OSs - only storing and accessing the VM images in my Dropbox.)

4 Replies 4

Re: How well does it work to run VirtualBox machine images from a location in my Dropbox?

Dropboxer

Hi @waldalla; how are you today?

 

If you're indeed referring to running a VM from within your Dropbox folder, note that the VHD file is going to change all the time when the VM is running. Our desktop app calculates hashes of files to check them with our servers' database and could take some time to compute the hash of a 15 Gb file each time that it changes.

 

The performance will also be affected so what I'd suggest - if you really have to move forward with this configuration- is to pause the syncing while the VM is running.  After you turn off the VM, resume the syncing process and wait until it is complete. 

 

In any case, note that your mileage may vary so proceed with caution! 

 

I hope this helps to some extent and please let me know if you have any follow up questions or how it goes if you give it a go after all. 


Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: How well does it work to run VirtualBox machine images from a location in my Dropbox?

Helpful | Level 6

Thanks Walter. Makes sense.

 

So running VMs in Dropbox is not a good idea. How about the idea to copy a copy of the VM to the DRopbox each time after shutting down the VM?

 

Do you have any knowledge about such a setup?

 

Regards,

Walter

Re: How well does it work to run VirtualBox machine images from a location in my Dropbox?

Dropboxer

Hey @waldalla, just wanted to jump in and mention that, generally, such a setup may result in a number of unwanted behaviors, such as copies of files taking a longer time to sync. 

 

For this reason, although it's not something we'd recommend, we'll leave this thread open in case any other like-minded users have any additional ideas to share on this. 

 

In the meantime, if you have any other questions, just give us a nudge. Cheers!


Lusil
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: How well does it work to run VirtualBox machine images from a location in my Dropbox?

Helpful | Level 5

I have just tested this on a 50GB *.vdi file and it seems to work fine:

 

The Dropbox client (windows 10) shows "indexing" for the file while the VM is running. But its CPU utilization is low - which perhaps means that dropbox is not constantly re-indexing the file as it changes but, rather, that it takes into account that the file is locked by VirtualBox?

 

Once the VM is stopped (file lock released?), Dropbox resumes uploading the delta.

 

Very handy.

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