DBA Kevlar

Tips, tricks, (and maybe a few rants) so more DBAs become bulletproof!

Supporting Your Virtualbox VMs, Post 1- External Storage

I love my Lenovo Yoga 11s special build, ultra book.  It has 16G of memory, an Intel core i7 and 256 SSD, but that’s no where near the amount of space that I’m going to require to be running numerous virtual environments on it.  To help me out, I went on a fun buying and testing spree with a number of external disk solutions to find what worked best for my needs.  

The contenders, (yes, I was all over the board on these)-

The goal was to come up with a solid combination of performance, portability and storage.

I’m not going to go over any benchmarks as you can see the claims by the manufacturer and the reviews from folks who purchased them on the links, but I can tell you what ended up working for me.

The My Book was just to large and clunky.  I didn’t get the speed increases with the external power supply, (there were recommendations to get an external with added power as my Yoga doesn’t offer a whole lot in the tiny package…)  I think it would make a good backup drive, but not good for running VMs and no way was I hauling the literally “book” sized external drive overseas and to conferences!

The Toshiba Canvio, along with two other 5400rpm drives I already had were solid, had space of 500MB to 1.7TB, but they didn’t show the performance I required and the USB was 2.0 on the older ones.  It was good, but not good enough, so the Toshiba Canvio lost due to size vs.  price.

The PNY 128 GB flash drive was fast enough, but it’s just too darn small.  The price is really great at $50, (and for those Best Buy shoppers, Amazon has it for a third of what you’re paying at Best Buy!) so it is only good enough to be used as an external flash drive to SUPPORT the VM environment, (which I’ll explain in a little bit.)

Which leads me to the Patriot 256GB SuperSonic-  This 256GB, blazing fast flash drive is just big enough and plenty fast enough to run your VM for demos and webinars with the speed you want, but the price is the same as what you’d be paying for the Best Buy PNY version.  This is a fantastic deal for a 256GB fast USB 3.0 flash drive.

Then comes in the Touro 1TB 7200, 3.0 USB external drive.  It out performed all the other drives, the price was fantastic.  The combination of this for my standard VMs and the Patriot 256GB SuperSonic flash drive for demos is a nice combination.  I also kept the 128GB PNY flash drive-  why?  As you work with VMs, you come across the need to download and copy files as you are building.  It’s nice to have a fast flash drive with plenty of space to download to.

The end setup is portable enough that I can easily travel and present, but it’s fast enough that I can avoid some of the technical difficulties we all have run into when attempting to demonstrate via a VM.  A special thanks to Leighton Nelson, Tyler Muth and Connor McDonald for their recommendations.  This saved me a lot of time and I was able to test out just what fell inside that range to build out what would work for the setup I needed! :)

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