New Laptop Configuration

I recently obtained a new laptop and have been spending a fair amount of time  this week configuring it for various activities. Understand that I teach both web systems classes and security classes so I have to meet multiple needs. I thought readers might find this interesting/ humorous. It does have 640 GB of disk storage (7,200 rpm) and 6 GB of RAM[yes, 64-bit version of Windows 7] (otherwise this would not be possible).

I am running Windows 7 Professional as the base system on the laptop. Of course, to run some older programs I have installed the Windows XP Mode virtual environment. Since I had to install Virtual PC for the XP virtual environment, I decided to also create a separate virtual machine running XP Pro. Then, since I teach security classes, I also created a Windows Server 2008 SP2 virtual machine and a Windows Server 2008 Core machine. So, if you are counting, that is now 5 versions of various Windows Operating Systems on this laptop. I then also installed Sun’s Virtual Box environment and both Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server. The tally now stands at 7 separate operating systems on one laptop.

Here is a brief overview of the development environments I have created. Yes, I am able to share the disk space across all environments so I can read a downloaded file from any of the operating systems.

  • Ubuntu Desktop
    • Apache 2
    • PHP
    • MySQL
    • Ruby on Rails
    • Network admin and hacking tools (I do teach security)
    • The environment can be accessed from from Windows 7 via a non-standard port so I can develop in Ubuntu and test in browsers on both Windows and Linux – this is a test region
  • Ubuntu Server
    • Apache 2
    • PHP
    • MySQL
    • Ruby on Rails
    • SSH access
    • This is a quality assurance region (which can also be accessed from windows 7 for additional testing of developed applications). After confirming all works, I can then move applications to production servers on the WWW.
  • Windows XP Professional
    • Ruby on Rails
    • XAMPP
      • Apache 2
      • MySQL
      • PHP
    • This is a test environment for developing in the Windows world.
  • Windows Server 2008
    • Application Server (IIS)
    • SQL Server 2008 Express
    • This is a development environment for testing Windows based web applications
    • This environment will also be used for developing and testing items for the security classes I teach.
  • Windows Server 2008 core
    • This is a command shell only version of Server 2008 and I am still getting used to doing everything at the command shell (I know one can remote, but I am stubborn on this point – grin)
  • Windows XP Virtual Mode
    • I only plan to use this environment for older applications which can not run in Windows 7
  • Windows 7
    • I plan to use this as the main platform for developing tutorials and documentation, for example Camtasia and Captivate can be used to capture screens in the other environments (at least that is my plan).

So, there you have it. And it only took 3 days to set up (remember I also had to install anti-virus on these systems as well as firewalls and various web browsers). As you may suspect, I will be installing other applications and moving data from other systems for weeks to come. I hope to report back in a few months as to how this approach is working out.

To complete the insanity, I am somewhat considering running virtualization within one of the Windows Server 2008 instances. This would give me the ability to try out a virtual environment within a virtual environment. Perhaps that is going a bit over the edge *grin*.

One thought on “New Laptop Configuration”

  1. That is amazing. I thought I had a great setup with VM Ware on the mac. Nice laptop specs, enjoy that powerful machine. I can see why it took 3 days of configuration!

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