A laptop that runs Hyper-V -- who would have thought it?

A laptop is known for its ability to keep you working wherever you are, but modern systems pack an unexpected punch

I spent five years working exclusively on laptops. I was traveling quite a bit, back and forth between the United States and South America, trying to consult for companies through remote connections, stay up to date on the latest technology, and write about the entire experience. Needless to say, I learned the value of a good laptop. Upon my return to life in the States, I went back to my desktop roots with workstations and servers galore. But the need for a laptop to speak at conferences and travel is constant.

I've used them all over the years. Lenovo's ThinkPad is one of my favorites. Toshiba's Satellite had not one problem even with São Paulo pollution streaming through its innards for two years. HP's Pavilion is still running strong. But a couple of years ago, some kindred spirits at Alienware let me test-drive an Alienware Area-51 laptop. Over the course of two years, I've switched among six Alienware systems, and every single one has been just as impressive as the last.

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Recently, its power became evident as more than a laptop. My latest book, "Server 2008 How-To," which is an administrative guide to Windows Server 2008 to be published later this year, had a chapter on Hyper-V. Unlike most subjects I write about, Hyper-V was not something I could install in a virtual machine. So, without Hyper-V-compatible hardware available to me (so I thought), I farmed out the chapter to other admins. One tried in vain to procure a sweet Dell that would handle Hyper-V. Another brought home a superserver from work, only to discover that it was a 32-bit system that wouldn't run Hyper-V (which requires 64-bit). When I returned from a speaking engagement in Las Vegas recently, I found I had no solid Hyper-V chapter for my book!  It was quite disasppointing.

It turns out that my Alienware M17 -- supercharged with ATI CrossFireX graphics processing, the first mobile quad-core Intel processor (Intel's Core Extreme QX9300), 64-bit architecture, 3GB of RAM, and a 17-inch screen -- could run Hyper-V off Windows Server 2008. So I began installing and running virtual machines with no problems -- and was able to rescue the book's Hyper-V chapter.

So I'm curious what laptops you folks are using. Is anyone using a laptop to run as a server?


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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