Are Solid State Drives in your Windows 7 Future?

The E7 blog has an interesting article on SSD performance and optimizations made in Windows 7 to take advantage of them. The E7 post also links to an in depth AnandTech article that goes into more detail on SSD’s and has some benchmark comparisons between various drives. I’m definitely planning to get an SSD drive when I get my new laptop in a couple months. I’ll likely be getting one of the large workstation class laptops like the Dell M6400 or the Lenovo W700. The only thing that might make me wait longer is if we get a release schedule from Intel on their Clarksdale mobile processors which are basically mobile Nehalems for laptops. I’m leaning toward the M6400 since it has dual internal hard drive bays and supports up to 16GB of RAM which is insane for a laptop. With the two drive bays I figure I’ll run an 80GB SSD for the OS and get a large 7200 RPM SATA for the other bay. I’ll go with 8GB of RAM initially for budget purposes and expand next year when the prices come down. I’ll be dual booting (or booting from VHD) between Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. With the OS and Apps on an SSD that setup should really fly.

A new scenario that may be interesting (and demo a good chunk of our virtualization and VDI capability would be to set up a full Windows Server 2008 R2 / VMM 2008 R2 infrastructure on this machine. Basically run 2 – 3 VMs for the infrastructure to present a Windows 7 VDI client virtual machine. Then from the physical OS use Remote Desktop Services to access the Windows 7 VM. With Aero remoting I should get a near desktop like experience.

Back to SSDs, in addition to desktop/laptop scenarios, I’m hearing more and more about them in enterprise storage scenarios. A lot of the big vendors have really evolved their architectures over the last five years to take advantage of and virtualize different tiers of disk architectures and SSD are getting slotted in as the next tier closest to the cache in a lot of cases. From a virtualization perspective this will be interesting as I think SSD’s will be an enabler for somewhat better density and a lot better performance. Since I’ve been doing a lot of work recently with Hyper-V and Citrix’s Provisioning Server, I’m especially interested in seeing how VDI performance on pooled (shared virtual disk) scenarios is improved using Windows 7 VMs and SSDs on the Provisioning Server.

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