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advice on solid state hard drive to use for vmware sharepoint vm

Posted on 2010-08-22
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I heard that using vmware and a solid state external was a good way to do some sharepoint development.  I have no experience with this.  Can someone please let me know what stats I should look for and a good model/place to get one?

Thanks
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Question by:jackjohnson44
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TechnoButt earned 250 total points
ID: 33497659
The defacto 'good choice' in solid state consumer grade drives is the Intel X-25m series (I recommend the 80GB or 160GB, depending on space and budget) X-25m Generation 2 (supports a feature in Windows 7 called TRIM, so down the road, it's superior to Gen1.  For VMWare, it may not matter.

I assume you're planning to use VMWare Server or VMWare Workstation to host a virtual machine.  You'll get good performance from the SSD, but I'm not sure if it's easy to find or reasonably costed if you do find it to purchase an external model.  

Most consumer SSD drives come in 2.5" 9.5mm form factor (ie, a standard laptop sata drive replacement).  You can buy inexpensive external enclosures for 2.5" sata hard drives (which will also work with solid state drives).

Most of those run on usb or firewire, and while that's pretty good, the connection will bottleneck your solid state drive if you have a good one.  You may not be able to tell in the way you're about to use it, but if your system supports eSATA, I'd buy an external enclosure that supports eSATA.  Another option is a docking station that does usb/firewire/esata like the thermaltake blackX (there are many versions/variants, but as long as it supports 2.5" sata drives and eSATA you'lll be in good shape).  

If you want to use it internally (ie, if you have a desktop, or a laptop that takes two drives), that might be a better solution.  Some SSDs come with 3.5" adapters so they'll mount in a regular hard drive bay in a desktop chassis.  If you see a really good deal on one without it, you can always buy one cheap (around $10).  The cables work the same as a regular desktop sata hard drive.

Finally, beware the uber cheap SSDs, they were plagued with problems in the first year or two, especially drives based on a jmicron chipset controller.  The "easiest" way to be confident of a good drive is to buy the Intel X-25m.

There are some newer drives being released with revised Indilinx or the new Sandforce chipsets that are very fast (some are faster than intels), but the longevity of those drives is still somewhat in question.

Intel is very good peformance, reasonably priced, and you can imagine that company will be around to honor the warranty should you get the rare sample with a problem.

I hope this helps!

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by:prasad0810
prasad0810 earned 250 total points
ID: 33508125
Hi,

if you are planning to host the Sharepoint VM on ESX or ESXi, SSD is the best option.

You can present the SSD to the ESX/ESXi and then create a datastore out of it.

While creating your Sharepoint VM, select this datastore as the VM files & Disk location.

The Performance is better when compared to a datastore coming from a 15K RPM Drive.

Go for intel Intel X-25 based SSD.
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by:jackjohnson44
ID: 33522242
Thanks, but that totally went over my head.
ESX or ESXi, SSD?

My rudimentary plan (correct me if this is a terrible idea) was to buy a laptop (probably running win 7) with a lot of memory and run a server 2008 sharepoint vm on an external hard drive.  I would be doing this for three reasons.  1.  I have heard that having an external solid state drive would drastically improve performance. 2. I don't want to have to run server2008 as my main operating system and have hyper v running on it for my vm.  3. If I did this, my vm would be portable.  If I wanted to use it someplace, just plug it in, download vmware (free) and start developing.
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by:jackjohnson44
ID: 33522279
Techno, I want totally external and am not opposed to buying a case.  What do you mean eSATA?  I thought that was internal.  Can you get an external connection for that?  If so, could I also use usb/firewire if I wanted?  So if I switched to another computer, I would be all set?
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