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kjm

High performance drive for running virtual machines

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I am a developer that works out of a home office. We have pretty decent performing corporate laptops and we run VM Workstation in our daily work. In order to improve performance, we run the VMs on external USB drives. I would like a 1TB drive that is high performing for this application. I/O is key, so most likely 7200RPM. We've tended to use portables as we sometimes travel, so USB power is a nice to have, but not the only option. My last drive was a Seagate GoFlex portable. It was 5400, but I could use an eSata cable to get better than USB2.0 transfer rates. My next laptop (already ordered) will just have USB 3.0.

Any recommendations for this application?

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When running virtual machines, there is a I/O performance gain when the guest and host do not operate on the same drive. Most laptops can't have 2 internal drives.

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Okay, but you're talking about a HDD over USB 3.0, that would top out around 100MB/s sequential. An SSD that's capable of much more than that, especially on random activity, would be an exponential gain. Anyway, if you end up with an HDD, your chances are all about the same. Buy the one that is within budget and looks most appealing. I'd stay with the HDD guys, G-Tech, LaCie, Seagate, WD, etc.

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Would I not see a performance gain with an external 7200RPM over an external 5400RPM? I know with an internal HDD, the VM is significantly non-performant as compared to USB 2.0 external drives and eSata external drives. This makes sense to be as with co-location, we have the I/O for the host OS, the hypervisor and the guest OS all competing with each other. Putting the guest disk files on an external (or second drive if you have the ability) makes guest I/O independent.

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If it must be external, I'd only look at an external SSD option only.

What price range do you have and what space requirements do you have?

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1TB is the current drive capacity I have for VMs and it has served me well for storage. Price range is somewhat flexible. I do have to sell my boss on it, so I'd just have to try for best price on SSD and if it is too much for him, try for 7200RPM drive.

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Hi, I think you should buy a USB3.0 interface based potable SSD for the long run. As far as I know, Renice has one USB3.0 external portable SSD. They claim that the max speed can reach 400MB/s. Capacity can reach about 1TB. Below links for your reference: http://www.renice.co/html/2014/06/18/2014061812344515464363.html


They send me emails to recommend that, but it's not necessary for me. By the way, just happen to know they are giving away such 256GB SSD drives to celebrate National Day of the PRC, see the link http://goo.gl/o9we1A

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Or you can but a good SSD that's inexpensive like the Samsung 840 EVO or Crucial MX100 and put them in any cheap USB enclosure.

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