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I purchased a Macbook Pro Retina 15in (with all the upgrades) and it is very common for me to fire up a virtual machine on it. I may need an application only designed for Windows, or I may need Windows itself (to test web deployments and such). I currently rely on Windows 7 & Windows Server 2012 (Metro) and run everything through those. However, it is becoming more and more desirable to have many smaller machines, like XP, Vista, 7, 8, flavours of Windows Server, and even some Linux distros. However, this will take quite a bit of room, since I have to install a certain amount of programs on each machine.

I want something fast and responsive, but I don't want to

  1. Fill my SSD (768GB, with ~200GB left)
  2. Burn out my SSD by doing an excessive amount of reads and writes

What are my options? I currently have a WD 1TB USB 3.0 external 2.5" drive I primarily use to store disc images and VHD's on, but is there something better? I considered ordering an SSD off Newegg or something, putting it in a USB 3.0 enclosure, and running it through that. Any suggestions?

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Just to be clear: you're asking about what physical storage medium is good for putting your virtual machines on? –  Marcus Chan Jan 30 '13 at 19:31
    
Yes. I want to do some high-intensive operations without burning out my primary SSD any faster than I have to, but I want the flexibility. Primarely looking for a "best practices" or "I do this" sort of answer. –  Nicholas Yost Jan 30 '13 at 19:33
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1 Answer

up vote 0 down vote accepted

You definitely want something else to run those machines on, if it were me I would get an off the shelf server or build my own that ran Hyper V, a small disk drive to run Hyper V on, and maybe three drives in a Raid 5 config to run my VMs on for redundancy (if you need redundancy). adjust disk speed and type (traditional vs ssd) depending on how responsive you need your VMs to be, and your budget of course :-)

Update Based On Comments

You wouldn't need an internet connection, in fact if your server had a network connection, you could

1)Give that network connection to each VM, and connect it physically to your wireless lan router at home, so you could connect to them via wireless

2)If you had TWO network connections, you could give one to a VM that you would remote into (a windows machine) that had the hyper v console installed, and remote into all your other VMs from that one, that way you would stay connected if you needed to reboot them, etc. Common practice.
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That's definitely an option! Is there anything a bit more portable? I was considering something like this though if I remote into them, but that requires an internet connection. –  Nicholas Yost Jan 30 '13 at 20:03
    
@NicholasYost please mark as answer if this helped! –  BigHomie Jan 30 '13 at 20:26
    
It definitely helped! I will mark it as an answer soon. Thank you very much so far! However, I do not work at home, so I would need an internet connection. This is not a problem in this use case, but if I am developing locally and I do not have an internet connection (or it is unsecure) I would not want to remote into the machine(s). This is where the portability factor comes in. –  Nicholas Yost Jan 30 '13 at 20:45
    
I can build a box, but for machines that need to be portable (or accessible at any point in the development stage independent of where I am), what would you recommend? I'm thinking an SSD via USB, but I am not sure what would be the physical bottleneck; the speed of the SSD or the speed of USB. If the limitation would be USB, then would it be any less advantageous to just go with a spinning disk? –  Nicholas Yost Jan 30 '13 at 20:51
    
@NicholasYost I see, in that case: 1. If it's unsecure, you could easily setup a vpn server (virtual if need be) to secure the connection to that virtual network. Not sure where else to go then b/c the HyperV setup is for enterprise type use, so remoting in some sort of way is necessary. Even sitting at the HyperV screen all you'll see is a command prompt. Maybe if you gave me more info we could revise the answer? –  BigHomie Jan 30 '13 at 20:52
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