Well, you all already know how impressed I’ve been with using VMWare Fusion on my Macbook for those times when I need to dip into the Windows world for something, but today I really stressed out that virtual machine and it handled it like a charm.
The basics, I had to dump a series of Excel spreadsheets into one sheet, so that I could use the magic of COUNTIF and SUMIF to match data across all of them at once and get a sum. Unfortunately, putting all of them together left me with over 300,000 rows, which our Excel 2003 at work just wasn’t going to deal with. So I fired up the Macbook and the Vista VM with Office 2007 on it, and hooked up an external drive to it with all that spreadsheet data. I then proceeded to build that 300,000 row sheet and then do my counts and sums. You’d think working in a spreadsheet with 300,000 rows on a virtual machine running off a laptop would be painfully slow, but it really wasn’t, at all. The only time it paused was when I asked it to calculate the sums of 2000 records all at once, but let’s face it, any machine would pause for that, virtual or not!
In short, I love being able to do something that resource intensive and still have OS X running stuff at the same time! It’s quite awesome.
Before anyone asks, or calls me names, I am aware that I probably could have done this same processing in Numbers just in OS X, but it needs to get done, and get done correctly, and I haven’t been around the block enough with the iWork suite to feel like I could have gotten it done very quickly, so Excel was the choice for me, at least this time.