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If I want to run a few dev VMs on a laptop, how fast do my drives realistically need to be? I do not expect lightning fast performance, but the last time I tried this on a Lenovo Thinkpad T400, suspending to disk takes forever, and the host OS (Windows 7 x64 Professional) grinds to a halt with VMWare Workstation 6.5. I understand this is going to happen, and this is not the right platform in general, but how much better would I have it with a 7200 RPM drive? Are there faster drives available? I really want to have the flexibility of VMs on the go, and it takes 3+ or 4+ minutes the last time I tried. The current one is really crappy. I am shopping for a new computer anyway, and I was hoping someone could tell me this is a worthwhile consideration for now and the future or just a pipedream.

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closed as off topic by Zoredache, Iain, Chris S, jscott, Scott Pack Feb 25 '11 at 18:30

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Sure there are drives faster then a 7200RPM, you could go SSD. –  Zoredache Feb 25 '11 at 17:14
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2 Answers

I have had better luck getting a hard drive adapter for the media bay and installing a Western Digital Caviar Black 7200 RPM drive. An SSD would be great but naturlaly more dollars. We have had good success with adapters from newmodeus.com.

This lets the VM run on a separate drive and performance is way better. eSATA external drives have helped as well.

Naturally more RAM is good. Don't assign all cores to the VM

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You don't mention the memory on your system, the speed of the processor, what load you normally run, what you're doing in the VM's...Some of it might be in the links, but for the sake of the question it wouldn't have been all that hard to just post what your system has so people answering don't have to chase links.

Nor do you really say what's acceptable for speed (or perceived speed). That's the biggest issue that specs can't give...what do you consider acceptable?

Best answer I can offer is that 7200 RPM drives would help a little. SSD drives should really speed it up. Bump memory up as much as your system will accept and you'll see another nice boost.

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Sorry I wasn't so specific, but I was asking for more general advice moving forward. Well, I was until it was closed as off-topic. Few people outside sys-admin circles are interested in solid virt platforms in your lap for quick testing. When I ask other places, I get lame suggestions since they only care about video game performance. I guess I should have re-phrased the question, but too late for that now. –  ajstein Feb 25 '11 at 22:24
    
You can try re-asking the question with more specifics, see if that works. But the big thing that influences your VM is memory; drive speed is more relevant if you're hitting the drive all the time. With adequate memory your VM will stay in memory most of the time. Again, depends on what you're doing. If you're slamming memory and this is part of your business, the best thing to get is an SSD drive. –  Bart Silverstrim Feb 26 '11 at 1:14
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