I’ve recently installed virtualbox on my MacBook. Originally I wanted to be able to run a copy of IE so that I can fully access some of our corporate portals. Yes, they keep building stuff “optimized” for IE, but that’s another rant.
Installation was smooth and I soon had a working copy of Windows XP running in the virtualbox. That’s when it hit me. I could use this as a testbed for deploying applications that will be running on hardware with limited resources. We can limit the disk space, and also the memory that is made available to the client system. If our application can run successfully under these limits, then it is reasonably safe to deploy it to a VPS or another similar system. If it can’t perform under these strict limits, then we can start shopping for another VPS with more resources 🙂
The idea came to me because I was recently asked to help install a CMS system complete with a database and image resizing on a VPS that only has 256 MB of RAM. It can be done, but if it gets more than a few requests, it will surely crawl to a halt. Using this technique I should be able to see how the app will behave under such strict limits, and try some tweaks to reduce memory usage.