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The ultimate RemoteFX and SCVMM mobile lab

Most of you know that I travel A LOT, do lots of product demos, and attend lots of conference.  We used to ship a rack of Dell, HP or IBM Servers for product demos.

In 2008 R2 SP1 (currently in Beta)  Microsoft has something new called RemoteFX. RemoteFX is a new graphics payload for RD Session Host or Windows 7 Virtual Desktops running on Hyper-V 2008 R2 SP1.

My colleague Rob Mallicoat noticed that the Microsoft Desktop Virtualization guys were demonstrating RemoteFX on a laptop and we were very interested in this, as we were building workstations with fancy graphics cards to support the GPU offload for RemoteFX.  The idea that we could demonstrate RemoteFX on a laptop was very appealing, but I also like to work with System Center Virtual Machine Manager and serveral VMs at the same time.

It just so happens that the new Dell Precision Mobile Workstation M6500 has just what I needed to meet all of my requirements.  It has a Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, 250GB SATA disk, 128GB SSD, 17″ WUXGA display and a 1GB NVidia QuadroFX Display Adapter.

So here’s why these things are important (to me).

  • 16GB RAM – means I can run lots of VMs
  • 250GB SATA Drive – System Drive + storage for ISOs
  • SSD Drive – Critical for sufficient Disk IO to support the VMs
  • 1GB NVIDIA Quadro Display Adapter – for RemoteFX GPU offload

So how do I have this monster configured:

  • Host OS = 2008 R2 Enterprise SP1 – Domain Controller & Hyper-V Roles
  • Guest OS1 = 2008 R2 Enterprise – 2GB RAM, 1CPU, VHD on SSD Drive and runs System Center Virtual Machine Manager
  • Guest OS2 = 2008 R2 Enterprise – 2GB RAM, 1 CPU, VHD on SSD Drive and runs RD Session Host (Terminal Server)
  • Guest OS3 = Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 – 1.5GB RAM, 1CPU, VHD on SSD Drive – for RemoteFX Demo
  • Guest OS4 = Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 – 1.5 RAM, 1CPU, VHD on SSD Drive
  • Guest OS5 = Windows XP Pro SP3 – 512MB RAM, 1CPU, VHD on SSD Drive

I often run all of the virtual machines at the same time and provision new virtual machines to my SSD without any problems whatsoever.

If you are interested in such a machine, this is the link:

http://www.dell.com/us/en/enterprise/notebooks/precision-m6500/pd.aspx?refid=precision-m6500&s=biz&cs=555

To be fair, I’m sure HP and Lenovo make equivalent mobile workstations, but my company buys Dell Laptops so this is what I got.  It just happened to be exactly what the Microsoft guys use so it worked out well.

No more schlepping around a rack of servers and a workstation for demos or running up my energy bill at my home office 🙂

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