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Similar to other setup questions, but slightly more complicated.

With two 500GB drives, please help determine the best setup for web development:

  • RAID 1 for mirroring
  • Partitions:
    • Windows 7
    • Linux (Ubuntu)
    • Linux Swap (if necessary)
    • Storage - to be used by both OSs (data, documents, etc.) - NTFS
  • XAMPP on each OS for development
  • Single settings file for PHP (also MySQL, Firefox, etc.) used by both OSs

Each operating system has its own uses during development and I really want to be able to develop in one OS and then switch back over to the other OS and still be able to continue development without missing a beat. I was wondering if this seems feasible or if it's not worth the hassle. And if it is feasible, how do I go about achieving the 'single settings' for XAMPP to be used by both OSs.

I assume that someone is going to tell me to just use virtual machines, but I would prefer to dual boot.

share|improve this question
If you have any questions that will help you answer this, just ask. – ServAce85 Jun 4 '11 at 15:47
You really shouldn't use RAID in a workstation setup. It's just not worth it. – Hello71 Jun 12 '11 at 22:43
@Hello71 Why do you say that? I am open to suggestions. – ServAce85 Jun 13 '11 at 1:35
It would be more efficient (and effective) to just use 1 hard drive as a regular backup. This would both allow you to keep older versions and save space. You could also compress as you go along. RAID is only sort of useful if you need to bring the system back up quickly after a failure. In fact, it's becoming less and less useful simply because of logical failure (calculation of MTBF inaccurate and such). Google for more details. – Hello71 Jun 13 '11 at 1:47
@Hello71 OK, I'll check it out and think about it. Thanks for the input. – ServAce85 Jun 13 '11 at 1:58
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I would still suggest you to use Virtual Machines and I say it from own experience. The switching between two or more OSs will be really annoying, especially if you are in a "workflow". There will be situations when you've switched to another OS, realized you've forgot something in the first one, switched back, done the stuff you forgot and switched back again.....wast of time and your nerves.

Furthermore, it will be more complicated to set up, LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP), Autobackup (especially if you gonna use RAID) an so on. I don't know how familiar you are with Linux, but it could be really difficult. VM allows you to perform "snapshots" (1-click-backup) so if you "crashed" your Linux you can always rollback/restore.

VM has also "Shared Folders" - kind of a "easy-way" to set up the "communication" between OSs. So you can do it like I did: At Win7 created a folder "WebDev" (which is the place for all projects. It also could be placed at separate HDD), then created shared folder in VM (with Read/Write access), soft-linked it (Linux ln -s command) to the Apache's www folder and voilà! One place with all projects which could be accessed from both OS and even at the same time!

share|improve this answer
Sounds great! One question about doing it this way, can you tell me if it's possible to have a single settings file per application (eg. php.ini for PHP, something for mySQL if necessary, etc.) that can be used across the Shared Folder by both Win7 and the Linux VM development environments? Or if those files are too OS specific, could I have one file to append to those files? That way I only have to make changes to that specific file to alter the environment on each system. Thanks again for the reply. – ServAce85 Jun 15 '11 at 19:26
I think it's possible, but only if Host OS (OS wich runs virtualization software) is Windows. It is still necessary to install apache, mysql and PHP on both OSs. But you could really try to create shortcuts to config files, so both configuration would look like pretty similar. – V-Light Jun 15 '11 at 20:11
great, that's what I was hoping you would say. thanks for the insight. – ServAce85 Jun 15 '11 at 20:20

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