Purpose: This post explains the pros and cons of running a server operating system on a laptop.
A year ago, I was picking out a new business laptop and had a decision to make. My employer had given me $700 as part of their BYOD program. As a consultant, I wanted something that could run a lab full of VMs but at the same time be light and portable. After searching the Ultranet for fifteen minutes, that dream died. In the end, I chose performance, price, and battery life (Dell Latitude E6420) over portability (MacBook Pro).
The next big decision was hypervisor. VMware Workstation had worked well in the past but I couldn't stop thinking about a story I heard about a vendor running Windows 2008 R2 on his laptop to avoid being seen running a competitors hypervisor.
There were a couple of things that made me like this route:
1) It was unusual, which in my mind makes it cool
2) It would give me lots of hands on with a server OS that I was frequently working with and a hypervisor that I hadn't touched
The last twelve months running a bulky server OS on my daily driver laptop were an overall positive experience and on more than one occasion came in handy for testing or reference. I learned a fair amount about Hyper-V which will likely pay off dividends now that Windows Server 2012 has been released and looks promising. That being said, I won't be doing it again. I ran into a fairly large issue (see "Windows 8 and C-States") that could have been resolved much sooner had I been running a more mainstream laptop OS. As nice as running a small army of VMs on a laptop can be from time to time, it doesn't justify lugging around a 9 pound laptop. I have access to several labs for that kind of troubleshooting. My next laptop will be light and lean--MacBook Air'ish.
If you would like to buck the trend and go down this same path, here are some things you'll want to know.
- Disable hibernation before enabling Hyper-V (see Aaron's post below)
- Wireless network connectivity requires a feature called Wireless LAN Service
- Changing LAN networks frequently causes headaches. Disable the adapter and re-enabling it often fixes issues when the auto-repair failed. There were times when it took a reboot to finally fixed it.
- Bridge your network connections to give VMs Internet access to a wireless connection. Highlight both networks, right-click, Create Bridge.
- Disable your DNS suffix if you travel from network to network so it won't automatically append workdomain.local to every host name. In the Advanced section of your TCP/IP properties, click on the DNS tab, under Append these DNS suffixes (in order), add a ".". That will force your to enter a suffix every time but will less annoying than the wrong domain name.
- The Windows Search service is disabled by default so nothing will be indexed (OneNote, Outlook...)
- Microsoft Security Essentials (their free antivirus) works fine
- OneNote can't start without the Desktop Experience feature enabled
- Microsoft Media Player can't play DVDs because it does not come with a codec. The easy workaround is to install VLC
SageLike Post ID: SL0003
Windows 2008 R2
stealthpuppy.com - Disable Hibernation before enabling Hyper-V on a laptop
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