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I have an solid state drive that I develop websites on. The reason I do this is because I work on a few different computers. Historically, I created separate developing environments to use for each machine. This was OK, but if the system changed for some reason, eg, new OS install, it was a pain. So I bought a USB 3.0 enclosure and put a solid state drive in there and it's pretty darn fast, which is good.

I was working with three Windows machines and I could simply hook up the drive, launch my XAMPP server and away I went, developing websites: using Dreamweaver, Komodo, Notepad++, Eclipse, etc.

Recently, however, one of my Windows machines' hard drive went down and instead of going back to Windows in this case, I went with Ububntu 12.04. I have several Ubuntu workstations and servers and I like Linux, so I thought his was a great opportunity to transition.

I went to work installing and trying to set up a LAMP server and, besides from XAMPP 64-bit compatibility out of the box, I'm seeing other issues with getting this Linux server running. I will keep trying to resolve this, but in the meantime...

my question is, has anyone ever successfully run both WAMP and LAMP from the same SSD (formatted to NTFS)? I'm sure there are lots of barriers to this happening, like local file system, OS libraries, dependencies, etc. But I was thinking it would be cool if it could be done.

I'm no expert, so if this is just plain old stupid, please don't hesitate to let me know.

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You have asked if it is feasible to run WAMP (Apache/MySQL/PHP running on Windows) and LAMP (Apache/MySQL/PHP running on Linux) on the same SSD. The answer is yes, you can, but the only sensible way to do this is with virtualization. I would suggest creating two virtual machines, one running Linux (for LAMP) and one running Windows (for WAMP).

You have many options for your hypervisor, but the simplest free virtualization platforms are VMware Player and Oracle VirtualBox. You can configure each virtual machine for either host-only networking (if your development sites should be accessible only locally) or bridged networking (if you want them to be accessible on your local area network).

If you format your physical USB disk with FAT32 and use VMware Player as your hypervisor, you will be able to start and run your virtual machines on any host computer that runs VMware Player (or Workstation/Fusion), regardless of whether the physical computer is running Linux, Windows, or Mac OS X. This might work well for you since you are experimenting with different operating systems for your physical computer. Just be sure to select the option to split the virtual disk into 2GB chunks when you create each virtual machine. When you set up your virtual machines, you will be able to format their virtual disks using whatever file system you want, e.g. NTFS on your Windows VM and EXT4 for Linux; the underlying FAT32 file system on your USB 3.0 drive is not visible to each VM.

Note that the only good reason to use FAT32 is to share files between computers running different operating systems, some of which may not have read/write support for NTFS. If you are going to be using these virtual machines only on Windows hosts, it makes more sense to format the physical drive with NTFS.

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Thank you for the very well-thought out reply. I guess I didn't really consider virtualization. Now that you mention it, it makes good sense. I'm familiar with VirtualBox so this may be a good place to start. Looking forward to testing your method. Thanks again. –  nicorellius Sep 19 '12 at 23:04
    
I recall that, at least a few versions back, VirtualBox wasn't always as seamless as VMware when moving between different host operating systems. If you decide to use VirtualBox, I'd be interested in whether things go smoothly when you try to launch virtual machines created under Linux on a Windows host, or vice-versa. –  Skyhawk Sep 20 '12 at 21:53

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