I have a need to carry VMWare Virtual Machines with me for work. These are very large files (each VM is 20GB or more) and I carry around about 40 to 50 VM's to simulate different software configurations for different client needs. Key: they won't fit on the internal hard drive of my current laptop.
I currently execute the VM's from an external 7200RPM 2.5" USB-2 drive. I keep copies of the VM's on other 5400 external USB-2 drives. The VM's work from this drive, but they are slow, costing me much time and frustration. It can take upwards of 30 minutes just to make a copy of one of the VM's. They can take upwards of 10-15 minutes to fully launch and then they operate sluggishly.
I am buying a new laptop (Core I7, 8GB RAM and other high-end specs). I intend to buy an SSD for the O/S volume (C:). This SSD will not be large enough to hold the VM's.
I have always wanted a second internal hard drive to operate the VM's. To have two hard drives, though, I am finding that I will have to go to a 17" laptop which would be bulky/heavy. I am instead considering purchasing a 15" laptop with either an eSATA port or USB-3 ports and then purchasing two external drives. One of the drives might be an external SSD (maybe OCX brand) for operating the VM's and the other a 7400RPM 1TB hard drive for carrying around the VM's not currently in use.
The question is which options would give me the biggest bang for the buck and the weight:
1) 2nd Internal SSD hard drive. This would mean buying a 17" laptop with two drive "bays". The first bay would hold an SSD drive for the C: drive. I would leave the first bay empty from the manufacture and then purchase/install an aftermarket SSD drive. This second SSD drive would have to be very large (256 GB), which would be expensive. I would still also need another external hard drive for carrying around the VM's not in use.
2) 2nd internal hard drive - 7400 RPM. Again, a 17" laptop would be required, but there are models available with on SSD drive for the C: drive and a second 7200 RPM hard drives. The second drive could probably be large enough to hold the VM's in use as well as those not in use. But would it be fast enough to drive the VM's?
3) USB-3 with External SSD. I could buy a 15" laptop with an SSD drive for the C: drive and a second hard drive for general files. I would operate the VM's from an external USB-3 SSD drive and have a third USB-3 external 7200 RPM drive for holding the VM's not in use.
4) eSATA with External SSD. Ditto, just eSATA instead of USB-3
5) USB-3 with External 7400 RPM drive. Ditto, but the drive running the VM's would be USB-3 attached 7400 RPM drives rather than SSD.
6) eSATA with External 7400 RPM drive. Dittor, but the drive running the VM's would be eSATA attached 7400 RPM drives rather than SSD.
Any thoughts on this and any creative solutions?