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Windchill 11 on VM for OOTB testing

SOLVED
Alexandrite

Windchill 11 on VM for OOTB testing

We are attempting to share a Windchill 11 VM to several folks throughout our company for testing purposes.

We are running into issues with sharing our current 250 + GB image.

 

Anybody have suggestions on reducing the size of that image? What is the size of the VM you are using?

 

Thanks,

 

Josh

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions

Re: Windchill 11 on VM for OOTB testing

We struggle with similar distribution issues.  I use 7-zip to compress and split the image into ~1GB segments.  Compression takes several hours when using the highest compression level but I believe it is worth the effort.  Today we use a Dropbox business account (unlimited size) for distribution.  In the past we used FTP site and FileZilla because FileZilla would pick up where it left off.

 

Other ideas to reduce image size...

Does your virtualization solution have a 'disk cleanup' capability?  When finished building the image, I shut it down and run 'clean up' on the image.  This releases unused space and reduces the size of the virtual disks before compression.

 

FYI: The smallest OS footprint would be Linux (CentOS).  However, most people don't know how to run Linux and if production is a Windows environment, you don't want to build a Development environment in a non-Windows OS.  Windows Server Core is the smallest Windows image footprint.  It is not supported (i.e. not tested) by PTC but I have successfully installed and run Windchill on it.

 

We access all VMs either thru VMWare Workstation/Fusion Console or Remote Desktop.  All VMs are configured to act as server and client.  I install Windows Desktop Experience, supporting applications (Notepad++, 7-zip, Chrome, etc.), and configure the browsers for use with Windchill.  Users can integrate with their desktop if desired but the idea is the image is self-contained and usable without any special setup steps.  The entire image is ~100GB, even with all the extras installed.

 

For larger images I work around the distribution issues by hosting them in my VM lab and let everyone connect to them via VPN/Remote Desktop.  There are a lot of benefits for VM administration.  I can also build more complicated environments with separate servers for Windchill, PSM, Navigate, cluster configurations, etc.  The only negative is the developers need to be online and connected via VPN/Remote Desktop.

 

The last challenge is the size of the data.  What developers really need is your business configuration and a sample set of test data.  They don't need your entire database dump file or all the file vaults content.  However, that is a whole other topic with many alternative solutions...

4 REPLIES 4

Re: Windchill 11 on VM for OOTB testing

Josh,

This is high level but if you can share the business requirements we can get more specific.

I build development/training images regularly.  Image size is primarily driven by its purpose, how it was created (clone or fresh installation), and the data set (database and file vaults). My smaller [Windows] images are 4 cores, 16GB RAM, and 100GB (C and D drives combined).  They always include Windchill, SOLR, WVS and Creo Parametric.

Recommendations vary by use case.  Can you explain the business purpose of these clones?

  • Will all clones be on the same network when in use?  Can they 'see' each other or a common location?
  • What are you testing, PTC's OOTB or your company's current business configuration?
  • Do you need data for testing or will testers create it as needed?
  • What optional software components are required: WVS, SOLR, Navigate, etc.?

Most common offenders of disk usage:

  • Copies of installation media image
  • Full backups of Windchill from previous patching events
  • %WT_HOME%\temp\* (be careful in here, not everything can/should be purged)
  • %temp%
  • Remove unreferenced files and/or clone empty file vaults.

For Development clones, I create a new Windows VM, install SQL Server Developer Edition or Oracle XE accordingly, and rehost Windchill into it.  Building the OS takes the better part of a day, but the disk utilization remains clean.  I also don't pre-allocate disk space.  Disk utilization is more important than performance in Development environments.  There are a lot of virtual machine performance tips and tricks available on the Internet if performance is really an issue.

When working from a full clone of production, remove all unnecessary content (backups, log/temp files, installation media, etc.) and then shrink the volumes.  This may be easier said than done, depending on the virtualization solution.

Kind Regards,

Matt

Re: Windchill 11 on VM for OOTB testing

Hey Matt,

thanks a bunch for the detailed input!

Mainly what we are after are small local VM's for architect-type folks in different regions (globally). Main challenges we fight are timezone differences between our Windchill Dev. team and our architects.

I copied your comments to my Dev. team to see if that will help clean up our current image from the 250GB size it is now. Primary issue is sending that image across the network from one side of  the globe to another. Second issue is maintaining that size of data set on a laptop.

 

Thanks again!

 

Josh

Re: Windchill 11 on VM for OOTB testing

We struggle with similar distribution issues.  I use 7-zip to compress and split the image into ~1GB segments.  Compression takes several hours when using the highest compression level but I believe it is worth the effort.  Today we use a Dropbox business account (unlimited size) for distribution.  In the past we used FTP site and FileZilla because FileZilla would pick up where it left off.

 

Other ideas to reduce image size...

Does your virtualization solution have a 'disk cleanup' capability?  When finished building the image, I shut it down and run 'clean up' on the image.  This releases unused space and reduces the size of the virtual disks before compression.

 

FYI: The smallest OS footprint would be Linux (CentOS).  However, most people don't know how to run Linux and if production is a Windows environment, you don't want to build a Development environment in a non-Windows OS.  Windows Server Core is the smallest Windows image footprint.  It is not supported (i.e. not tested) by PTC but I have successfully installed and run Windchill on it.

 

We access all VMs either thru VMWare Workstation/Fusion Console or Remote Desktop.  All VMs are configured to act as server and client.  I install Windows Desktop Experience, supporting applications (Notepad++, 7-zip, Chrome, etc.), and configure the browsers for use with Windchill.  Users can integrate with their desktop if desired but the idea is the image is self-contained and usable without any special setup steps.  The entire image is ~100GB, even with all the extras installed.

 

For larger images I work around the distribution issues by hosting them in my VM lab and let everyone connect to them via VPN/Remote Desktop.  There are a lot of benefits for VM administration.  I can also build more complicated environments with separate servers for Windchill, PSM, Navigate, cluster configurations, etc.  The only negative is the developers need to be online and connected via VPN/Remote Desktop.

 

The last challenge is the size of the data.  What developers really need is your business configuration and a sample set of test data.  They don't need your entire database dump file or all the file vaults content.  However, that is a whole other topic with many alternative solutions...

Re: Windchill 11 on VM for OOTB testing

This is great feedback!

It will no doubt take some time for us to build and repackage our system with these tips. Hopefully I will remember and do my due diligence and update this thread with our results!

It will be good to hear what others have experienced with their own VM's, but I am marking this thread resolved.

Thanks again Matt!

 

Josh