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Found many similar questions but not exact. First of all, I tried to setup VPC once and it was kind of slow. It was about 3-4 years ago and hardware wasn't best so I'm not sure where we at...

Here is where I'm coming from:

  • I'm developer and use my machine for development
  • I develop with Microsoft technologies Enviroment consist of IIS, SQL Server, Visual Studio, etc, etc.
  • I also develop for Android so I have JAVA, Android SDK, slow-starting emulators, etc.
  • I need to be mobile (laptop)
  • I need to be able to restore my system ASAP

I keep all files on server, source code check ins, etc. However, just to restore my environment I need couple days.

I was thinking RAID 1. I have 24hr on site service warranty. Well, I'm stuck for 3 days with my laptop - they overnighted part but it is not helping. It's a PAIN

Currently I have Lenovo W510 with i7-820 CPU, 10G RAM, SSD and this system does OK for development.

My questions are..

  • Can I have same level of performance on stronger desktop hardware running virtual?
  • If I can, then will it work if I will have basic setup desktop and basic setup laptop and work only in virtual? This way I can take backups of my image.
  • If I need to go somewhere I can copy image to laptop and go? In case of hardware failure I can always run it somewhere else. I can always have backup of whole system.
  • Is this possible today?

EDIT:

I have bunch of licensed software. Should I double-check with vendors to make sure it will work?

If I do lot's of TCP testing - is that doable? Web server, USB debugging of Android devices, etc.

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migrated from serverfault.com Aug 14 '12 at 18:02

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Make sure to check with vendors if licensed software will not only work, but is also legal. Some count VMs as a separate machine/user, some don't. –  Darth Android Aug 14 '12 at 18:19
    
Well, thats OK, since I'm planning to have 1 VM only for those tools. As long as they work... –  katit Aug 14 '12 at 18:21
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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted
  1. On better hardware, you will get better performance, no doubt about it.
  2. If what you mean is port the image file containing the VMs between the two machines, that will work. Note, that if you want to see increased amounts of power when you move, you will have to change how much RAM you give it, how many cores, etc. This works fine with Ubuntu, I am not sure that it will work as well with windows (you might have activation problems, but probably not)
  3. Yes, basically same as number 2
  4. Absolutely, I have done it with Ubuntu and other linux flavors.

With regard to the licensed software, I have no idea as to the legality of what you are doing, but from a technical standpoint, there is nothing that should be going wrong.

You can do whatever kind of testing that you were doing on a real machine on a desktop machine as a rule (some exceptions are things like the GPU, but overall, I would not expect problems in this regard)

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Given my specs above - you say I can get better running machine with desctop and VPC (better than what I have with laptop today)? That would be very cool since I have laptop for mobility but I work 99% at home. –  katit Aug 14 '12 at 18:24
    
If your desktop is more powerful than the laptop by some relevant amount (there is overhead in running a VM, though with hypervisor and the like it is very low) then yes. You can also have a virtualized version of a physical computer, and then have a VM on the desktop, but have it run on the metal for the laptop. –  soandos Aug 14 '12 at 18:29
    
Ok, too many new words for me :) But I've got your point, proper hardware will do. I work with hardware I listed and it's 2yo and laptop and it works good for me. –  katit Aug 14 '12 at 18:50
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First, it is hard to get the power of a desktop in a laptop. Xeon processors and much higher RAM are usually available as well as more drives and faster drives. Naturally, there is a cost either way.

For our developers we came up with a couple of solutions that let them be mobile and recover quickly

We obtained a media bay hard drive caddy from NewmodeUS ( there are others out there as well) and installed a 7200RPM Western Digital Black drive in the bay. There are other suitable drives as well and an SSD would be better. Avoid “Green” drives and 5400/4200RPM drives

We added an external RAID1 eSATA drive as well. Not as portable but good for a few things. USB3 would be good as well.

The team could then keep a copy of a VM on both drives and then if one failed, they were covered. They could also run one VM on the internal drive caddy and one on the external RAID drive at the same time. With proper RAM and CPU assignment, this worked well. Some experimenting is usually needed. Some of the team carried a couple of 2.5" USB3 drives rather than the RAID unit and just did regular backups of the VMs. Smaller and lighter but a drive failure could be an issue. You do need to check with vendors to see if it supports virtualization. Even if they say not, give it a shot. We had several say there was no way their software would work and we ran it on many VMs without issue. By saying no, they can avoid support. Licensing can be tricky and you will need to check further on this

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Dave, I was thinking opposite. My main concern is quick recovery. If I will take backup of VM every night - that will do. Given that - I was thinking about RAID0 to give it even more boost. Have 2 SSD's on RAID0 should be blazing fast. No? I have backup with RAID1 and so on on my server. –  katit Aug 14 '12 at 18:52
    
Is the RAID 0 array the drive with the OS? If so, using the external USB 3 drive would likeley be faster. Point is to get VMs off the drive running the OS. –  Dave M Aug 14 '12 at 20:32
    
Good point, I didn't know. So, likely I would go with small HDD for host OS and RAID 0 for virtual. SATA should be faster than USB3, right? –  katit Aug 14 '12 at 20:58
    
USB3 faster than eSATA unless they have a 6Gbps adapter –  Dave M Aug 15 '12 at 18:14
    
Im talking regular SATA inside box. SATA3 should work faster just because of latency –  katit Aug 15 '12 at 18:50
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