I would like to have a virtual machine of ubuntu , that I can access everywhere , without having to carry my Virtual HD , could I put the VHD on something like dropbox or google drive and use it there ? is this practical ? because as far as I know whenever I update the file , it will be uploaded to Dropbox or Google Drive or other cloud services , and if I run a OS it is gonna keep using updating the VHD file....

is this idea practical?


I don't believe that Dropbox could be used that way efficiently. The VHD file is going to change all the time when the VM is running. Dropbox calculates hashes of files to check them with its online copy (it also helps them to de-duplicate the data), it will take ages just to compute the hash of a 15 Gb file each time that it changes. Performance will be horrible.

That said, I know some people that are doing exactly that. The trick is to pause the syncing (using the dropbox indicator) while the VM is running. When they power off the VM, they enable the sync and wait until it is complete (it takes a while).

  • Would it affect the performance of the virtual machine, or just the performance of Dropbox? – Anderson Green Jan 17 '13 at 6:02
  • Dropbox and host performance. The VM will be affected unless it is somehow isolated from the host. – Javier Rivera Jan 17 '13 at 8:14

You can also try Amazon Web Services EC2 [http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/][1]. EC2 is cloud computing facility. You can spawn a Virtual machine there and then install Ubuntu (or whatever OS) you want. There are free tiers in AWS.

Essentially, here is what you should try:- 1. Create an account on AWS. 2. Launch a Micro instance 3. Configure your OS

  • could you explain more, how I can install ubuntu in AWS ? is it free ? – Medya May 7 '12 at 3:20

The minimum requirements for an Ubuntu install is 15GB of hard disk space. To back it up on Dropbox, you would need to go for their 'Pro50' plan which will cost around $10/month.

Further, you would need to ensure that the location you want to use the VHD from has a sufficiently speedy broadband connection, which may not always be the case.

I wouldn't call that practical, but as an alternative, I'd suggest carrying the VHD around with you on a USB drive and taking backups of the VHD on a regular basis, or creating a Live USB with persistent storage so that you can plug and boot wherever you go.

  • I have tried VHD on usb, it is very very slow , and usualy the USB disk gets too hot and stops working – Medya May 3 '12 at 0:00
  • Also, I very much doubt that cloud storage will be faster than a pendrive ;) – Takkat May 3 '12 at 6:35
  • 2
    Dropbox is cloud syncing, not just storage. The file is there on your hard drive and is synced to the cloud. So yes, if you disable syncing while running the VM it will be way faster than USB. – Javier Rivera May 3 '12 at 10:36

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