Mac as a windows lab?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by maccer1, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. maccer1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    #1
    I'm looking for some opinions on whether I should buy a mac for what I need to do. I need to build a lab with 3-4 Windows 2003 (maybe 2008) servers, 1 or 2 of these will also run SQL Server, and 1 windows client server. They all have to be running at the same time and talk to each other on a domain. Of course the easiest way is to buy a few old PCs to do this but I've heard I can download virtual servers from MS and I don't want PCs all over the house. I started browsing the Dell site for a real powerful machine and a 30" monitor to do this.

    But I've never owned a mac before and I'd really like to have a 24" imac. I'd like to save some money, my computer is 7 years old and I'd rather not buy 2 if I don't have to. So will I be able to run all of this in parallels in OSX? Or would I have to do bootcamp? Should I install Vista or XP and run the virtual servers in there or can I run different servers in parallels? Can you run virtual server over a windows OS running in parallels and what does that do to the performance?

    Would this be too much trouble and it would just be easier to just get a PC and buy a mac later for fun? :confused: I waited until today to get serious about this thinking there might be some big announcement that would sway me but that wasn't the case. This will just be a lab not a production environment so the performance isn't that critical but I don't want to have to wait forever to do things. I think it would work okay but I'm seeing alot of people having configuration problems just getting 1 windows OS working and am wondering if I would spend more time trying to make it work than working in my lab. Thanks
     
  2. Decrepit macrumors 65816

    Decrepit

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Location:
    Foothills to the Rocky Mountains
    #2
    For what you're doing, I'd recommend building an inexpensive computer with plenty of memory and a set of drives running RAID 0. I'd make sure I have a backup so that if a drive fails, you can restore quickly.

    Since it's not a production environment, you can get away with it this way.

    I wouldn't go with a Mac for this configuration, since the only way you're going to get decent performance is to drop $5K on a Mac Pro.

    I'd build a solid Debian system, and run VMWare Server on it. This is what I did when I had to run several servers in a test environment. Having a single disk is going to slow things down, as will not having enough memory.

    I'd go that route, and buy a nice Mac for normal uses.
     
  3. tsice19 macrumors 6502a

    tsice19

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    #3
    Let me sum it up for you.

    BootCamp on a Mac, runs windows, at full native speeds. Therefore, having a Mac and BootCamp-ing windows is just like having a PC.

    Parallels is software that runs INSIDE Mac OS X. It runs Windows as a guest operating system. You lose performance with this option.


    My advice: Get a Mac and use bootcamp.
     
  4. maccer1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    #4
    I don't have much experience with linux and I've been wanting a mac for so long think I'm going to try to run it under the stripped down version of 2008 Server under bootcamp. Thanks for the advice both of you. I couldn't resist any more after watching the programming demo video while ago and just bought a 2.8ghz 24" imac. I'll probably upgrade the ram to 4gb and hopefully that will work.
     
  5. Decrepit macrumors 65816

    Decrepit

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Location:
    Foothills to the Rocky Mountains
    #5
    If that's the way you're going to do it, cool. But seriously consider putting the different virtual machines on a couple of different hard drives. One set of drive heads is fine for one or two operating systems. But if you have multiple servers, they're all going to vie for time and slow things down.

    RAM will certainly help, but from personal experience, I'd do a couple of the VMs on one drive, and a couple on another. The throughput isn't the problem, it's "head time."
     
  6. Infrared macrumors 68000

    Infrared

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #6
    If you're planning on using Hyper-V, check the forums first.
    Apple's firmware doesn't always enable it as it should. This
    is a longstanding issue (goes back to 2006 I believe). Will
    also affect other products needing VT-x under Windows.
     
  7. maccer1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    #7
    Well I got the imac and love it. I loaded windows 2008 server and sql server and created a virtual server 2008 install under Hyper-V. That was alot of work. Now I can't get the base install and the virtual install to ping each other but they'll see everything else on the network. The machine is great. I ordered some ram today and should be at 4gb soon which is good since it's running about 1.6gb with only 1 virtual machine sitting idle. I figured out I can get by with only 2 virtual machines so hopefully it won't kill the hard drive.
     

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