Slow file sharing

Discussions about using Windows guests in VirtualBox.

Slow file sharing

Postby mannheim » 24. Sep 2007, 16:20

I am running a Windows XP guest under a linux host with VirtualBox 1.5.0, and am using NAT networking. Although internet access from the guest is very fast, one thing is very slow: accessing one of the hosts shares from the guest.

I am not using VirtuabBox's "shared folders" as such: I am running samba on the host and connecting to that network share from the guest. Copying large files from the host to the guest in the guest operating system, I only get about 4 Mb/s.

This behavior is the same in two independent installations: one under Ubuntu 7.04 and one under Ubuntu 7.10 (prerelease). When using VMWare in the same scenario, copying from the share runs about 10 times faster.

Does anyone else experience this, or have any suggestions as to what I could try?
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Joined: 24. Sep 2007, 16:07

Postby garythornton1956 » 19. Oct 2007, 15:03

I have the same (or very similar) problem where uploads from the XP guest to remote machines are very slow but downloads are very fast. I have tried tracing some FTP traffic and it seems that the data is sent in blocks of 32k with handshaking required before the next block can be sent. This seems to take around 10 seconds to complete each time so the data rate is poor.

I also have a similar situation if I connect to a Samba server (fast download, slow upload).

I have tried various network bridge configurations on the VirtualBox interface and have now gone back to NAT. All give the same result.

One previous contributor said something about a firewall setting but I think I have firewalls disabled on my local network and I can find no evidence of anything like that causing the problem.

Last but not least (it may be related but then again...) XP tells me that the virtual network card is running at 10Mbps, and it remains like this whatever I do. It should automatically default to 100Mbps according to VirtualBox but something is preventing it.

Keep persevering.
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Joined: 15. Oct 2007, 12:03

Postby arfsoftware » 28. Jan 2008, 03:00


I am using XP pro as the host, virtual box 1.5.4, and Vista, Windows 2000 and Ubuntu guests. Can't get NAT to work so set up virtual adapters all bridged together. ALL the virtual adapters are reported as running a 10 Mbps on the XP host.

Have not found a solution. Windows firewall disabled, using ZoneAlarm Pro with rule to allow internal routing between adapters. Shutting down the firewall makes no difference. Given we are using different hosts would seem to confirm the problem is not with VirtualBox.

Would seem to be an XP problem. Now there's a surprise.

Slows transfers down in both directions with any of the VM's
Under XP transfers to and from a floppy drive are also painfully slow.

I too would be interested in a solution.
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Joined: 25. Jan 2008, 01:48
Location: Melbourne Australia

Postby realm » 3. Feb 2008, 18:36

I also have a similiar problem

XP Pro host and guest.

Guest is running an application as a server (accessible via outside via browser)

accessing the server via browser (ie or firefox), even from the host, is way too slow (pages take as long as 15 secs to load). guest has plenty enough ram and disk space.

network is setup as interface networking bridged on xp host.

it seems as though the drivers for the virtual network cards that virtual box installs are maybe a little inefficient (this is just a guess though since I can't really figure out what it is).

I have tried disabling all firewalls, and other things and have found no solutions.

Give a shout out if anyone comes across a solution.

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Joined: 29. Jan 2008, 04:09

Issues here too

Postby themonkeyspanner » 22. Feb 2008, 06:12

Hi there,

I have same issues... I use Ubuntu 7.10 as host with Vbox 1.5.6 installed and have Windows XP Pro guest VM. On the guest OS browsing and genieral downloading of files via networked maped drives is fast. i.e I can download and iso image file of about 600MB in about 2 mins average.

The problem is the application speed of data retrival to server running a database on another Windows 2003 real server. To retrieve of data is painfully slow when retrieving records etc from database.

I have all windows firewall settings on guest disabled too... :( :(

I admire this piece of software and all working well except for this networking issue on my Xp guest OS. If only there was something we could see that was plainl obvious maybe?

The NIC reports 10mbs too in my XP VM but my host has 1gb real nic card.
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Joined: 20. Feb 2008, 16:05

Postby arfsoftware » 22. Feb 2008, 10:21

The slow connection speed (10 Mbps) of the Virtual Box virtual network adapter appears to be a function of the device driver supplied by Innotek (VBoxTAP.sys) and the INF file supplied that Windows uses when installing a virtual network adapter.

An examination of the device driver reveals that there seems to be no provision for specifying the connection speed so Windows defaults to the lowest common denominator - 10 Mbps. The INF file is consistent with this - there are no topics or localised strings that refer to connection speed. Adding them to the INF file is pointless without support in the driver itself.

Until Innotek fix this we are stuck with it as reading between the lines in the INF file suggests Virtual Box looks for only virtual network adapters created by itself. There are other virtual NIC drivers but it seems unlikely that Virtual Box would be aware of them. Note that I have not verified this to date.

As for your slow DBMS data retrieval you don't say whether it is faster when running in a non-virtualised environment. There is every chance that the DBMS software itself is at fault as you suggest that data transfers between network drives is inherently fast in other circumstances.

Would be an interesting test to run the DBMS on real (non-virtualised) boxes and compare results
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Location: Melbourne Australia

db testing

Postby realm » 22. Feb 2008, 15:44

arfsoftware -

I was one of the people experiencing some of these problems.

I was running a CRM DB called SugarCRM within virtualbox and the response times to access the pages served up by the virtualbox were horrible (15sec or more per page) I experienced this even from the host to the virtualbox.

I finally had to move it onto the host, and give up on virtualizing it. Now pages take less than 2 sec to load on the host. Across the local network it takes about 4 sec to pull up a page. While this is still not fantastic this is better than what I was experiencing.

By the way my host was Win XP Pro SP2 with all updates, 1.5gb ram with virtual machine hd on a second sata drive internally connected.

I haven't had a chance yet to try this in other virtualization software on the host to see if it is virtualbox specific, but I intend to. When I get around to it I will post my findings here.

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Joined: 29. Jan 2008, 04:09

Postby arfsoftware » 22. Feb 2008, 19:49

Hi Realm

Your host is not dissimilar to mine. 15 seconds or more per page would make the app almost unusable. Even 2 - 4 seconds per page suggests either a lot of data being transfered, or rendition of the pages by the application is very slow, or both.

As a test I just transferred 2 Gb data from a real box running XP Pro to a Vista VM running on another box on the LAN also running XP pro as the host. Peak transfer rate was about 7.7 Mb/sec which is about what I would expect with a 10 Mbps NIC (the virtual network adapter Innotek provides). I am using a virtual network adapter for each VM bridged to the real NIC with a DHCP server on the LAN.

Assuming on the non virtualised boxes that 2 seconds per page is due mostly to data transfer suggests around 140 Mbytes of data transfered per page on a 100 Mbps LAN. This is a huge amount of data to render one page. Interestingly if we slow the LAN down to 10 Mbps at a real transfer rate of 7.7 Mb/sec this equals about 115 MBytes of data.

There appears to be some consistency here.

Only other factor that may be a consideration in the amount of memory assigned to the VM. XP is a dog in anything under 500 Mb and running Vista in less than 1 Gb is a waste of time. I have 4 Gb physical memory in the XP host (it can only see about 3.5 Gb of this but that is another story). Allocate 1 Gb to Vista and 500 Mb to Linux VM's and W2K VM's and everyone seems to be happy. VM's also stored on a separate drive like you do.

Is there any way of determining how much data is transfered to render a page? Would tell us where the bottle neck is - is the page just slow to render due to to processing overhead in a low memory situation or is the slow virtual NIC responsible.

- adrian (arfsoftware) -
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Location: Melbourne Australia

Postby themonkeyspanner » 23. Feb 2008, 08:51

HI there all...

Just read te psot updates from you guys here. :(

I can confirm that my DB software I run on a non VM enviroment is way faster. My real world Windows Ddesktop machines all have 1GB Nics in them. The real world Windows 2003 server that the shared database is on is also 1GB Nic. So the issues is consistant with an issues I think with VB`s network drivers as you sugest.

I use the VMs to connect thru RDP form remote site Windows clients machines. Similar to Terminal services enviroment which I run in a real situation solution, but the software our guys use is uniquely licienced for one per desktop and a central database server hub.

I would run the app software that connects to the DB server from the real desktops in Terminal services but the software company who develope and maintain our application would not support the terminal services enviroment way of working.

Therfore VB is an ideal way to save time and money on future real desktop machine purchases. :)

As you say yet to be confirmed or verified but certainly points to a common issue.

I hope the guys at VB are reading these forums and maybe look into this..
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Joined: 20. Feb 2008, 16:05

Postby themonkeyspanner » 23. Feb 2008, 09:04

Futher Mote guys..

I agree with arfsoftware in hgis last few statments..

My test enviroment for VB is as follows.

Host machine consiting of P4 3,2GHZ, 4GB RAM, Sata 750GB HDD. 1GB NIC. I use Virtual Box 1.5.6.

Host runs Ubuntu 7.10 desktop enviroment with VB installed.
My Windows XP VMs are on the same drive tho..

I alocate 256 to Win XP Vms with 16meg graphics from VB. Vms nics in windows show me 100mbps.

Memory overhead for linux host software is about 465MB consistant.

I run 4 Windows Vms on the Host. My total memory overhead according to the Linux Host system monitoring software is about 2.3GB in total for everthing running. Linux see a total anyway 3.4GB physical ram. My CPU overheads on idle rwith everthing open and sitting there waiting for connestions is at about 33%. When Clients connecto to the 4 Vms the CPU overheads go close to 98% fluctuated accordingly. I realise that a single processer (P4 I know) is not ideal but still does not explain to me the issues with the networking sde of this from Win XP vms back accross the network to real world machines on my LAN.

Hope this helps guys
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Joined: 20. Feb 2008, 16:05

Postby arfsoftware » 23. Feb 2008, 10:35

Just some more info

I agree with themonkeyspanner. I too hope someone at Innotek is monitoring these forums and add this to the 'to do' list. I use VB for software development and testing mainly so that the slow network connection speed generally not a big issue except with client/server stuff and then it does slow things down somewhat.

On the Ubuntu and Linux Mint VM's running on an XP Pro host both report that the link speed is 'unavailable'. The Vista and Windows 2000 VM's report a link speed of 100 Mbps which is somewhat inconsistent with the 10 Mbps link speed that the host reports for the virtual network adapters.

Tests indicate that the true link speed is that reported by the host. So the questions become

1. Why can't the virtual adapters run at 100 Mbps
2. Why do the Windows box report a link speed that is obviously incorrect
3. Why can't the Linux VM even determine the link speed

Would respectfully suggest to Innotek that VBoxTAP.sys (and its Linux host equivalent) needs some urgent attention.
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Location: Melbourne Australia

Postby lsemple » 22. May 2008, 05:43

I have the same issue

I am trying to run a files sharing app on the guest os (xp), Linux host,

it downloads great, but when I want to upload someone a files from the shared folder it goes terribly slow

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Joined: 22. May 2008, 01:14

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