John Howard - Senior Program Manager in the Hyper-V team at Microsoft

Senior Program Manager, Hyper-V team, Windows Core Operating System Division.

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Dilemmas, Upgrades and Decisions.

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<Holiday Thoughts>
Returning back to work mode. Holiday season for me now finally over this year (I've been whizzing, well as much as you can at 3 knots max, up and down the canal networks in the UK). Fantastic time, can't wait to go again. While at the helm though, I've pondered a few times about what to use for my replacement virtual dev/test environment, both for work and home. The trouble is, my work laptop at the end of the day just doesn't have it when you want to push virtualisation - generally most are limited to 2GB Ram and slow-ish disks, and the home budget is, well - you can probably guess. I'd consider building my own shuttle box with a RAID disk subsystem and a couple of dual-core 64-bit processors thrown in. Trouble is, they max out at 2GB too from what I can see, and I need something still reasonably portable. It would do, but I'm still going to need more RAM mid to longer term. But, do I just get one now and deal with the future later? Speaking of the future, what about the forthcoming Pacifica/VT processor? Now they will be seriously cool (with a price tag to match I expect initially). So, what I need to do is find some nice friendly contacts internally here at Microsoft who can put me in touch with one of the processor manufacturers or OEM builders who would like a machine with a stack of ram, a couple of dual-core processors with the additional virtualisation instructions, and a few fast disks "evaluated" on a semi-permanent basis :-). Nah! Even working at Microsoft, I don't think I'll get that lucky. Never mind, I'll just have to make my own decision the old fashion way for the work machine - value for money. For home, the decisions probably already made for me - same old kit for a while....
</Holiday Thoughts>

Comments
  • John,

    I had this same dilemma recently. Unluckily as a contractor in IT, I don't get a work supplied laptop. Luckily, due to the same situation, I had a better home budget to throw at the problem.

    http://www.alienware.co.uk/product_detail_pages/Area-51m_7700/area-51m_7700_features.aspx?SysCode=PC-EU-LT-AR51M7700R1&SubCode=SKU-DEFAULT

    Expensive machine, and built like a Russian tank, but the spec I went for gave me 2GB starting RAM expandable to 4GB. The video card and screen was nothing to sneeze at too.

    I think of it more as an easy to move workstation, than say a laptop. Pretty happy with it so far and a dream with VMware workstation 5.0 running my lab. ;-)

  • Nice Machine - absolute monster! Thanks, Adam. One of very few laptops I've seen which can take 4GB, vital for any form of virtualisation, even if I'd recommend an alternative product ;) Unfortunately though, after spec-ing it up on their site, I think the cost probably runs a little high (or maybe that was just my hopes). Hopefully shuttle will be bringing out a dual-proc 4GB capable machine soon and I'll keep my existing laptop to connect to it remotely. Could be a cheaper compromise....

  • I only bought 2 GB of ram, but then made sure i had a dual proc system when i built a "Virtual test bench" as i call it up (before dual corse where available).

    I am about to buy a new laptop (about to graduate, parents what to put some money in and i cant really tell if an employee will get me one) and there is absolutly nothing really worth buying laptop wise, simple as that.

  • Should also mention the Dell Precision M20 series and M60 series, still onlu 2gb of ram but bloody nice.

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