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Does it work if Windows is installed inside virtual box of Ubuntu and on an external USB hard drive?

My laptop is Lenovo T400. I am using Ubuntu 12.04, and would like to install SAS 9.3 (its system requirement is here). But I can't find or purchase SAS linux version for Ubuntu. So I guess I have to install SAS under Windows.

Also on my internal hard drive of my laptop, the partition with the most free space has about 23 GB. I am wondering how much space is needed to install Windows 7 and SAS 9.3 under the virtual box of Ubuntu 12.04?

If the space of my internal hard drive is not enough, is it okay to install them on an external USB hard drive? Will that be inconvenient and slow to run Windows 7 and SAS 9.3 under the virtual box from the external hard darive?

Thanks and regards!

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3 Answers

If you have enough memory, you should be fine. Having the vm on a usb drive is perfectly fine. As to the performance, you will only know when you run the vm. I have not run SAS though and just for general use (mostly to have a dedicated vm to connect to corporate vpn that only worked in windows).

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It should be possible, but be aware any PC virtualisation has nearly horrible I/O performance, and your external hard drive being USB it is likely it will be a painful experience. If you could get a FireWire or eSata drive, preferrably SSD, it would be nicer all around.

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I would like to add two things: 1) Yes, an SSD would help. But an SSD over USB would still be slow. 2) I disagree with any PC virtualisation has nearly horrible I/O performance There are ways to get quite decent performance (e.g. VT/d (Intel) or AMD-Vi and a pass though RAID controller). I agree that in general I/O is slower in a VM than on bare metal. –  Hennes Jul 24 '13 at 15:15
    
Granted all points, but (1) I emphasized a better connection first, only then suggesting SSD, (2) a RAID controller is unlikely to be considered by someone who is using VirtualBox, due to cost, and (3) while there are ways to minorate the I/O cost of PC virtualisation, I remain to be convinced by PC virtualisation on the I/O front, given the general inefficiency of MS Windows and business applications in general. –  lfd Jul 24 '13 at 15:21
    
True on both fonts. I just hate to have leave a generic statement on this site which is not always true. But I grant that it will be true in 99+ % of the time. –  Hennes Jul 24 '13 at 15:29
    
So we are on the same page, and thanks for the qualifications! –  lfd Jul 24 '13 at 15:47
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I am wondering how much space is needed to install Windows 7 and SAS 9.3 under the virtual box of Ubuntu 12.04?

Windows 7 takes up about 16 GiB.

Windows 7 plus a single program is likely to fit inside those 23 free GIB, but your disk will be quite full. (16GiB + SAS + some free space).

If the space of my internal hard drive is not enough, is it okay to install them on an external USB hard drive?

Yes, that would work. By default Virtualbox stores the information of the OS it emulates in a .VDI file. You can put this file anywhere you want, including on the local harddisk or on an USB attacked harddisk.

Will that be inconvenient and slow to run Windows 7 and SAS 9.3 under the virtual box from the external hard drive?

It will be slower. How much depends on the drive, the USB version and how much SAS uses the disk. Just starting win7 from an image on an USB drive is not a problem. Just wait 30 seconds longer while it starts.

But I can't find or purchase SAS linux version for Ubuntu

However there are package for Red Hat. And you could convert a RPM to a .deb. For more information on that see http://askubuntu.com/questions/193117/i-have-a-rpm-file-how-do-i-convert-to-deb-file-for-running-on-ubuntu.

Briefly:
sudo apt-get install alien
sudo alien -d package-name.rpm
alien -i package-name.deb

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Thanks! I have asked SAS, their linux version of SAS is thousands of dollars, and is not for individual to buy. –  Tim Jul 24 '13 at 15:41
    
In that case a win 7 install in a VM might be the best solution. Or, if it work with wine, try wine. This would leave your disk relative full though. (As reference, my 4 year old windows 7 installation + OpenOffice+mozilla,opera, thunderbird etc etc is 25GB). –  Hennes Jul 24 '13 at 15:48
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