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Cloud Virtualization Hardware

Ask Slashdot: Computer Test Lab Set-Up For Home? 142

An anonymous reader writes "For as long as I've been playing around with computers I've had a home test lab. I found it to be a great learning tool. However, I haven't invested much money into it lately and because of aging hardware I can't get what I want out of it anymore. So a revamp is in order. I've looked into several cloud vendors for a box I can rent to do some virtualization, but it doesn't seem to be cost effective or practical. What are your thoughts on it? What set-up do you have at home for tinkering? Have you looked into hosted solutions for this?"
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Ask Slashdot: Computer Test Lab Set-Up For Home?

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  • Virtualize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:33PM (#37777102)

    Buy a computer.. Put >8GB of ram in it (i would recommend 2GB per VM, and 2GB for the host). Maybe some nice fast disks..

    Load VMWare ESXi, or another OS and virtual machine software of your choice..

    The ability to snapshot and restore things will save you so much time testing things, you'll wonder how you used to get things done before. Maybe, setup a second system or laptop for things like wireless testing, drivers, etc.. things you can't simulate in a VM.. but with the virtual networks in most VM's, you can setup some very, very complex networks...

    • Re:Virtualize (Score:5, Informative)

      by addikt10 ( 461932 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:43PM (#37777396)

      I agree with Virtualization (really, it is a must for any lab).
      If your budget is low, crank up the specs on your desktop machine, and use VMWare Workstation (or some such).

      If you budget is a bit higher, get that machine and dedicate it with Xen Server or vSphere (or whatever)

      Higher yet? Get a couple of boxes, and an iSCSI solution so that you can support clusters (iSCSI is much cheaper than fibrechannel, and you can do windows clustering as well as your virtualization platform clustering.)

      You want brands? I did it with generic computing hardware (24GB core i7 boxes) and a Thecus iSCSI solution (because I didn't want to take the time to build the iSCSI myself). WD RE4 drives. Get funky with quad-port Intel NICS and a linksys switch that supports VLANS.
      Make sure to get a Microsoft TechNet subscription if you are working with Microsoft platforms.
      Have fun.

      Gonna grow it? Start with VMware Workstation. The VMs you create can migrate to dedicated virtualization platforms as you move up in expenditures.

      • Re:Virtualize (Score:5, Informative)

        by jtdennis ( 77869 ) <oyr249m02.sneakemail@com> on Thursday October 20, 2011 @01:23PM (#37778484) Homepage

        ESXi is free for a basic featureset. For a low budget, I'd recommend it over Workstation which isn't free. If you're working on the same box as your VM host, then maybe Virtualbox would work for a free solution.

        • I've had nothing but problems getting network hardware to work under ESXi. Three different NICs and none would work. It's very particular about what it will and will not support in my experience. If you're going to run ESXi, use Intel hardware all the way (chipset, CPU, NICs).
      • I can post all day on any of these posts, but I'll chose to start with... YOU!

        Virtualization is not be utilized heavily because... it lags like a stuck boar. On a crappy "test" box vitalization will run 101%, it will only be about 10% usable. RAM has as much to do with this as something buried deeper in comp. spec. such as FSB and registered vs unregistered memory. of course. Servers just run bigger badder gear even on the low end. A low end server is like 10x a low end desktop. So don't talk budget p

        • I used Virtualbox on a Thinkpad Laptop with 8GB of ram and an SSD to prototype many, many of my projects.. It would get sluggish after about 5 VM's were turned on.. (with 1GB of ram each, and one with 2GB ram).. These were Windows Servers.. not my normal linux toys.. Virtualization is different for everyone.. If you virtualize a file server, then yes.. You better have server class hardware underneath it. If you virtualize a bunch of static web serves, then it really doesn't matter.. etc.

          It really depends

      • Get a powerful 8-core workstation [] with plenty of RAM. You can pick up a used one with warranty quite cheaply. Ditch Windows and run CentOS 6 on the bare metal and use KVM for virtualisation. The RedHat docs [] are a great read to get you started and as a bonus you'll pick up some very useful Linux administration skills and you will learn to think outside the box when it comes to virtualisation strategy.
      • For storage you could even use a Linux box sharing out its disks through NFS. Much cheaper solution than iSCSI, and performs the same function.

        Also, ESXi is free, Workstation is expensive.

    • I will also add to buy an AMD dekstop to do this since he mentioned cost effective. For $499 you can get a Llamo with virtualization instructions with 8 gigs of ram. That can run 4 VMs for cheap. Intel chipsets tend to support ICores with virtualization instructions but disable them in the bios on purpose forcing you to pay more. All AMDs have the ability to turn them on by default.

      For that price it is a great deal. Also if you hate virtualbox you can download a trial of VMWare workstation and create the VM

      • I'll second the Llano suggestion but go with 16GB of ram (4GB Sticks are cheap nuff now) and you can upgrade to 32 when the price drops further. You can skimp a bit on the CPU by going with the A3650 instead of the 3850 and have decent performance along with reasonable power.

      • Intel chipsets tend to support ICores with virtualization instructions but disable them in the bios on purpose forcing you to pay more.

        This is news to me. Please explain.

        • Some of the iCore 5s have hyperthreading, some have virtualization instructions, while others do not. Even if you select a CPU that has them you could end up with a bios wont let you turn them on. HP has been known for example of doing this since the P4 days. They sell 2 identical ones but the flash wiht the hyperthreading turned on costs $300 more. They are the same otherwise.You really do not know if you buy such a system that it can run VMware or Virtualbox because of this so look out a head of time.


          • So you should avoid HP.

            Case in point, the latest complaint about disabling the virtualization permanently in BIOS that found from HP is the HP Pavilion DV2 which sports a AMD Athlon Neo MV-40.

            I think you unfairly blamed Intel for the actions of HP.

          • Just reflash the bios, if ever you get a HP then...

          • Thats not a BIOS change.. thats "business class" :)

          • by swalve ( 1980968 )
            You'll probably find that in the consumer lines. I've never seen it in a business/real computer.
        • by klashn ( 1323433 )
          These Virtualization (VT-x) instructions can also be disabled for specific iCore parts through hardware fuses.
      • ... since VMware Player version 3.1.3 you can create VMs using the free VMware Player.
    • As long as you're not testing hardware, parent is right. I've got two boxes running VMWare, and between them there isn't a network/OS/app setup I'm interested in that I haven't been able to simulate...
    • by mx+b ( 2078162 )
      If the original submitter has time/money to put together a computer from the parts, I would recommend this. I bought a crazy machine for maybe $300 total, similar in specs to what you suggest. 8 GB of RAM is cheap these days, get a good efficient multi-core of some kind, fast drives. I recommend NewEgg but perhaps you can find better deals shopping around more. I have several HDD in my tower and switch between them as needed to install different OSes and tinker.
    • by drama ( 32059 ) *

      agreed. I do this and use ESXi, and it's a great little setup. The only problem I've had is making sure to use supported hardware. If you use an intel motherboard you should be good to go. Just check to make sure the storage controller is supported. Most of the intel based stuff is (hence, the suggestion to just get one of their boards). If you want to be able to install a card and direct it at a particular VM, make sure you get a board that supports VMDirectPath (or something like that). That's the VMware

    • by fwice ( 841569 )

      Maybe, setup a second system or laptop for things like wireless testing, drivers, etc.. things you can't simulate in a VM..

      you can definitely simulate wireless testing in VMs. Set up instances of linux in a UML, connect them with tuntaps, and modify/drop packets between the tuntaps accordingly according to the probabilistic model for the wireless network you're hoping to test.

      I've developed a (proprietary) system for my employer that does just this -- pathloss is calculated using the Friis equation according to geographic distances between nodes. Nodes `move' on a controlling interface, which relays packets to a google-maps (

    • by PW2 ( 410411 )

      I agree with building a computer with 8GB or more of memory.

      I use VirtualBox for my home test system and set the disk image to be written to a 16GB Ram Drive -- this makes it very fast to format and load a new guest OS from ISO or DVD -- I usually set and name the disk images in VirtualBox to be 4GB or 10GB in size. I back up the disk images off-site and on a small raid5 server, and have one local copy in a folder called "ComputerStore" -- set up a shared folder (and network share to something like C:\vsh

    • by Sipper ( 462582 )

      Basically the answer is a HOME COMPUTER is a better and more flexible virtualization platform than a CLOUD machine will be.

      If you want a solution that is online and accessible to the rest of the world for some reason, you can rent a server to do virtualization on, but it does NOT need to be a CLOUD machine if that is all you're interested in. In addition, one of the more expensive items to get on rented servers is RAM dedicated to your machine or VM instance, and you need as much RAM as you can get on a bo

    • ESX-I ftw. Ignore any recommendations for VM Player/Workstation, you'll lose a lot of resources to system operating system over head. I built a ESX-i server for less than $200 bucks 16GB of ram with Phenom II 945. This included 3TB of storage and an Antec case. On this set up I virtualize 45-50 OS's simultaneously with no problems.
      • Does it bug anyone else around here when they boast about how they built systems for as cheap as they claim?

        You really built a server for less than $200 with the specs you suggest? Maybe you upgraded an older system, or scrounged around different parts, and you had to dish out $200 for the extra parts, but not a complete system for that price.
        • Does it bug anyone else around here when they boast about how they built systems for as cheap as they claim?

          Yes, especially when they also claim the system is about 10x as powerful as it really is.

          With 16GB of RAM and 12GHz of total CPU, each of his "45-50 OS's" gets about 364MB of RAM and 266MHz of CPU, with no accounting for overhead. I have 8-core/16-thread ESX servers that run 10-15 VMs at pretty much bare-metal speed, but that's the limit if there is any real CPU use on those VMs. Then, too, there's I/O contention. 40 VMs all writing to one SATA disk would be painfully slow (and you don't get hardware RAI

        • Does it bug anyone else around here when they boast about how they built systems for as cheap as they claim?

          You mean every time anyone dares type the words "Mac Pro"?

          The storage alone is going to be over $100, I'm guessing the RAM is going to put it over the $200 mark. No CPU, no case, nothing else. Oh, and it runs 50 VMs at once? VMs running DOS, maybe.

          Exaggerated claims help no one. Let's say that ESX hardware really costs $1000. Okay, now a person can make an educated decision on whether that's the way to go. Stating that one can build such a machine for $200 just wastes the research time of anyone that goes t

    • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

      Wow 2 GB per vm? My default is 512 MB and I am yet to need to make an exception.

      Of course, I run linux, with KVM and only linux guests (what good is I mean windows on a VM? games would run very poorly over VNC)

      In fact, the whole setup, as is, with the same 4-6 VMs at any given time was recently running with 4 GB total system memory. I only upgraded because my wife wanted to upgrade her desktop and we wanted to keep matching sets of RAM so I got 8 more for her and took her old 4 that was the same

      • Obviously you are not running much in the way of windows guests. There are quite a few micro$oft products that require >= 1GB RAM to even install. Some require >=2GB now or more. Windows 7, SQL Server 2008R2, System Center and TMG Server come to mind as examples...
      • I run linux as well, but I often virtualize windows setups, since I need to work on them as well. Many of the microsoft training things need a couple of clients, a domain controler, and SQL server.. Also, at work, we give pretty much anything at least 2GB, because ram is cheap. Disk IO is very, very expensive..

    • Seeing as I have gone through the consolidation route in the last few years, I'll add my 2cents. First, I got rid of no less than 14 machines from my house. I had a small data center running in there, including routers, switches, and the like. However, keeping those systems up to date was getting expensive over time, and so was the electrical bill. I now try to keep my hardware footprint low, and to hardware that I know will be stocking replacements 3 years from now. So, I consolidated down to 2 some
  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:34PM (#37777124) Homepage Journal

    It is not entirely clear what you want to tinker with. What do you want to test? Are you wanting to tinker with hardware? Using different software? Writing software? If the latter, what kind? To what end? This is a useless summary of your question.

  • Would imagine it depends very heavily on what you are actually doing

    I’ve got:

    - A powerful desktop,
    - Large fairly expensive file server and a cheap backup file server (same capacity, but cheap hardware and drives)
    - Several old boxes (mostly previous desktops and stuff I rescued from people who were going to throw them out) one of which is acting as a virtual machine host..
    - Two intel atom based boxes. One I use for a whole bunch of random stuff (for instance, all the various UPSen I have are plugged in

  • For as little as 18 euro pro month I have a VPS with 2 Gb memory and 80 Gb diskstorage and a terabyte networktraffic. At this price you can not have a suitable inhouse testlab.
  • I get old, cheap hardware. Lots of it available. Install Linux on it and do what I want with it. If it breaks I can get replacements for next to nothing.

    I'm not exactly the Department of Energy.

    You can also find some really neat stuff to work with old hardware in salvage sales - Data Acquisition stuff, cameras, etc.

    Don't write off the old stuff, not unless you actually need a super computer for something.

    • only problem with that is that power consumption becomes non-trivial with multiple boxen, esp if they're older tech. for starting up now and then it's not so bad, but if you wanna keep 4 machines running all the time it start to add up, whereas a single i5 with a bunch of ram would consume less power than one of the old P4(?) machines that might be lying around.
      • This is something the original post didn't really address. However it's critical. The two situations for this I see are as follows:

        1) Uptime is minimal, only when Playing...then get the cheapest hardware that you can, old whatever.
        2) Uptime is Always. I don't see a list of computing power needed. But a laptop with dual core, maxed out on ram, with Vmware will have about the lowest Amp draw around. Of course you'll be limited to a handful of VM's up at a time, but if you only need 1 or 2 up ALL the time, the

  • Off-hand, I'd say a big determining factor is going to be whether or not this "testing" has a lot of do with networking.

    If part of what you're doing revolves around configuring routers or switches, or even a lot of tinkering related to how workstations interact with a server or servers, I don't think you want to look at the cloud as a viable option. In my opinion, hosted applications/servers in the cloud only make sense for production systems ready for deployment and regular use (which equates to said conf

  • I've had as many as 9 individual machines at home for testing, development, and support. If I had to do it today, I would:

    - Build one honking machine to host servers and network resources. 8-16GB RAM, 4 or more cores, Maybe an SSD to help perk things up.

    - Build another honking machine for emulating the various desktop-type stuff you'll want to do. 8GB RAM might work here, but why scrimp?

    Choosing the VM environments is the hard part. Virtualbox and Xen are obvious choices, though if you're in Windows all

  • I purchase older generation off lease equipment off of ebay for use in my own home lab.

    I currently have around 4 2u servers with dual dualcore or quadcore cpu's. About the only thing you need to purchase are hard drives. For that I picked up 1 3u 15 bay drive chassis with dual amd dualcore cpus, 16G ram and running about 8 500G drives and 8 1TB drives. It has 4 gig network adapters that I use lacp with for link aggregation on a cheap managed switch that supports lacp.

    The only problem is my switch, I paid

    • I currently have around 4 2u servers with dual dualcore or quadcore cpu's.

      Around? Either you have 4 2u servers or you don't.

      -AI (I have around 20TB of data storage)

  • I use a poweredge 2900 with 24gb of ram and 10tb. Loaded with VMware ESXi (free). It can handle multiple servers and workstations running at the same time. Initial cost was high, but a better solution for us long term versus cloud or renting, etc. credit card payments were lower than other solutions and I own it. there are trial editions of just about every server OS out there. So other than the hardware, its been free to tinker otherwise.
  • There's really no point in having a mashup of hardware collecting dust in the basement anymore. Linux KVM (kernel based virtualization) is free and quite stable. Other options abound by Vmware and Oracle too if you like to click EULAs.

    Not quite sure why anyone would want to go the hardware route anymore unless they are developing for specific architectures that are not supported by the hypervisor.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      it would be nice to know what the lab is for.
      VMs sound like the way to go. Unless you are doing heavy lifting at home any AMD64 system with a lot of ram should work fine.
      I suggest AMD because of the low cost and the fact that all of them have hardware VM support unlike Intel.
      With Intel you have to check which CPU you have.

    • Not quite sure why anyone would want to go the hardware route anymore unless they are developing for specific architectures that are not supported by the hypervisor.

      Anybody whose software will be deployed on physical boxes should test their software on physical boxes. The idea of testing your stuff in the environment and configuration it will actually run in might sound a bit odd, but amazingly enough it turns out to be a good practice. </sarcasm>

      Seriously though, VMs can speed development tremendou

    • My computer closet doubles as a warm spot for beer fermentation, so I'll be keeping multiple systems around for a while. That said, I also have a VM running my mail and web server.
  • When I learned SharePoint, I used a dedicated low-end PC with Linux and VMware Server. I installed a second hard drive to dedicate to the virtual machines. It took some time to boot the environments, but it worked. If I were to do it today, I'd go with a better desktop, load up on memory and use multiple hard drives in whatever RAID configuration made sense. This can scale out to multiple desktops, NAS, managed switches, etc. I'd probably use VMware Hypervisor instead of Server as well. Boot it off a
  • I have around 30 virtual machines running on a single tower server running ESXi. Solaris/x86, Windows XP, 7, server. A dozen different Linux installations. (Mostly used for software development, with a Jenkins-based continuous integration system building code across different platforms, spinning VMs up as needed).

    Pretty much anything I could do with a rack of servers, I can do remotely with a bunch of VMs. I can access the console remotely, reboot, power-on, power-off virtual machines remotely. I can create

    • And there's stuff you can't do easily with physical servers that you can with VMs. Take a system snapshot, change something or test something, then roll back to the snapshot.

      One of the other cool things is that you can pull the plug on the VM (i.e., hard power off) without any chance of damage to physical hardware but still see how your application reacts.

      I also found that prolonged disconnection from the disk drive doesn't make much difference to most operating systems (when I had a 2-hour SAN outage). This was a shock, as when the SAN came back up, the VMs resumed running with no issues.

  • You may want to re-look at the clouds, for around $500 a year you can really have a nice lab, spin up and down systems till your heart is content. The big issue is you need to be aware of your usage. Power off systems your not playing with. It is a play ground, don't leave them running just because. Virtual Box is a great idea if you want to buy a new box. but you will spend more in two years on that PC, 4core minimum and 16GB of ram, (my minimum) and power, then you will renting a little slice of a cloud.
  • Get three small cat3k L2/L3 capable switches from say eBay. You'll be able to do most LAN topologies with those at both layer2 and layer3.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You can pick up not-so-dead socket 775 procs, ddr2, boards, used power supplies from recycling centers, I've always been able to get this crap for free from restaurants doing jobs for em', I find it, and offer to haul it away. They think the stuff is broken, but I've seen that they usually have one issue (Dead psu, hard drive for some reason causing a short, improperly seated memory from Carlos trying to copulate with it.) You get 6 of these old PoS's, strip em' apart and you get 3-4 good ones. Word of t

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      That's what oil companies used to do (or might still do) - help desk wanted to keep hardware consistent with every department to reduce support costs. Developers always wanted the latest hardware. This led to monitors, 9-core, 25-core, coaxial cable, ribbon cable connectors, PC base units, disk drives, disks (5.25", 3.25"), CRT's, manuals (Novell Netware), all being dumped by the dozen. All perfectly working and functional. For the oil company it's old junk - for the computer geek, it was still beyond their

  • I normally buy used rackable systems (from somewhere like For $400 you can get 4 cores ( a couple years old) and 8GB of ram. That should be enough to run a small lab at very little cost.
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      Only downside is that most rackmount systems tend to be LOUD.

  • After a long time using standard PCs in the home for development I've finally splashed out on a HP DL160 G6.

    I've done this because I'm fed up with replacing power supplies, fans and running out of motherboard memory capacity. In my experience the HP rackmount servers (almost) never break down and you can stuff serious amounts of memory into them (the DL160 G6 has 18 SIMM sockets). My server spec is 2 x quad core cpu + 4 x 3.5 inch disks + 40GB RAM. Paid about GBP 1000 for the server (second user) off EBAY

  • Right now I am seeing quad-core Xeon 1U Dell rackmounts with 146 GB hard drives and 2GB or more of RAM in corporate dumpsters. Lots of desktop stuff too.

    Hardware is free as long as you can afford to spend your labor & time on it.

    • I would agree with this, as I have found some hardware that was good enough for my purposes where it may not have been good enough for the service provider. I have also found decent hardware at the local electronics recycling center for the county. It is amazing what some people throw away. Of course there is a lot of junk also.
  • Virtual box (non ose) and spend your money on physical hardware and play with iSCSI. If you had some spare dough, buy some Cisco switches to play with also. This will keep you busy for a while.
  • Hi, Maybe I do not have the same needs as you but I create my own lab at home with some mini itx motherboard and small factor cases and I am very happy with them. I use Xen as server and a lot of vms. I use a mini itx/small box for my pfsense router/firewall (and wireless access point) and a small 8 ports vlan aware switch from hp. I can give here more detailed information if you want. Also, it depends on what you want to test at home (clustering, cloud, ha, security, web, etc)
  • My home "test machine" is a Xeon E1220, which ironically is the least expensive (at retail) i7 system by around $80. I stuck 16GB of (admittedly expensive fully buffered) RAM in a Supermicro motherboard and added an IBM ServerRAID M1015 (8 port SAS card that supports 3TB drives, they sell on Ebay for $75 - $100). It all sits in a nice 3U chassis that I've had for years. Most of the hardware in the machine is devoted to running one little FreeBSD VM that supports ZFS for all the drives I have in that machine

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why do so many slashdotters suggest proprietary software? I had a co-worker in the same situation tell me about his plans for a vmware server. I replied by having him come to my desk and typing two lines to start a vm in KVM on debian:

    sudo apt-get install qemu-kvm
    sudo kvm -m 1024 --cdrom

    Install virt-manager to get a GUI to do the same thing.

    I am amazed at how easy it is to use free software, yet what sits at the tip of everyone's tongue is proprietary.

  • Virtualization is the thing. I was fortunate to be able to do this early on (5+ years ago) and I learned a few things along the way:

    1) Memory is the thing. VMware and the other hypervisors are really good at making the most out of memory (ballooning, shared memory, de-dupe, etc.), but RAM is cheap now. My setup has 16GB and I can do just about anything I want with this.

    2) Disk is even more the thing. My setup is a cluster, but even if it wasn't I'd still use some sort of external disk solution. I hav
  • I run a Dell PE2900 and run Proxmox VE on it. Total cost around $1500 so far and entire lab fits in a closet.
  • Largely on the kind of testing you are going to be doing. For functional software testing, one big box hosting VMs is great. I do it with ESXi, a quad core, 8gb, and several disks. good enough for a virtualized server and a couple of workstations. If that's your target, then more spindles is better. 4 250gb hard drives give better performance than a 1TB drive, because there is no contention for disk access (if you set it up right).

  • Another vote for VMWare ESXi. I acquired a scrapped server-class machine (dual proc, 8 disk RAID, dual NIC, redundant PS), and run all my instances on it. I have a spare machine loaded and powered down as disaster recovery. It's a little loud (lots of fans) but I can't even hear it -- it's in the garage, close to the router. I either remote to it or use the VMWare console from my home office.

    The advantage, in my opinion, of using server class machines, even if they're old and slower by today's standards

  • My current lab consists of an old HP DC7700 with a Core 2 Duo CPU running SVR 2K8 Enterprise, 6GBRAM 5TB HDD, PERC6 card, (2) 1GBNICS, I use this as my ISO repository, File Server, and Domain controller, I have a Quad Core Core 2 Duo in another white box PC with 6GBRAM, 3TBHDD, and (3) 1GB NICS running Xenserver. My Exchange is virtualized here, and I'm labbing out Xendesktop currently. My 3Rd is an older Xeon server with a 200GB LTO3 tape backup (2) 1GB NICS, Svr 2K8 standard and Symantec Backup Exec. I
  • You can get a decent generic barebone from Tigerdirect for less than $300 (have to watch for a deal) with a quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM and a TB hard drive. I have one with Xenserver free version because I like the tools and driver support. I have used VMWare 2 GSX and ESX, then ESX3, VMWare Server free version and ESXi, but have been using Xenserver free version in both test and production for the last three years, though I understand that VMWare's solutions are also very workable. A UPS is helpful

  • I just switched my virtualization environment to Windows 8 Dev Preview.... The new hyper-v stack included bests Server 2008 r2 for local dev work (allows use of wireless network connections for virtual switches)... after years of VMware usage, i can say that hyper-v has finally passed workstation (and esx with server 8)... life isn't that complicated! I would recommend a laptop with i7 or better and max out the ram. All you need besides your personal machine is an external hard drive (usb3 would be nice
  • I have an ASUS P6X58D-E with an i7-920 and 24GB running ESXi 5.0. It's perfect for playing around with different OSes and testing software.

    Run over to for everything you need to know about cheap whitebox virtualization with ESXi. They maintain a HCL and Forums for everything VMWare.

    The new version of ESXi supports a LOT more "whitebox" hardware than the older versions - they're clearly responding to market demand for cheaper servers by providing support for common consumer-grade hardware.

  • Those are illegal and can burn your house down...what is that you say? Test? Not meth?...Oh well that is very different. Nevermind.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.