The Mobile Lab

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 716562

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Mobile Lab

  • tomtcos

    Newbie

    Points: 4

    My home lab isn't mobile--a pair of (now elderly) Dell R710s with 72G RAM each.

    Work and personal laptops each have 16G RAM, which seems insufficient any more for building virtual database clusters.

    When it is time to replace the personal laptop I will look for something that has more memory and more power, and perhaps Linux-based.

    Using VMware as a hypervisor now works rather well, and I expect it to do so in the future.   I used VirtualBox for a long time.  It has become somewhat flaky with remote displays, though I cannot tell if that's the hypervisor or the OSs being installed.

  • Toby Harman

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4128

    We currently get the Lenovo X1 Carbon with 16GB RAM and a 512GB NVMe drive for travel / home use. Plenty for email, browsing and RDP to the desktop over a VPN if I have any heavy lifting.

    Speaking of heavy lifting, it's only 2.49 pounds (1.13 kg). It does run a little warm on the lap if you start to push significant workloads, but that's the only grumble.

    Someone else in the office was complaining that the X1 Extreme appears to have some throttling build into the firmware while running on battery. A task that completes in about an hour on power wasn't complete after 2 hours on battery

  • DinoRS

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2562

    For mobile use I have a ThinkPad P51 with 64 GB RAM and 1.25 TB of total PCIe Storage. This is fine for anything I want to show without externally being able to access it as unfortunately the Wi-Fi adapter has limitations when it comes to Hyper-V.

    I also used to have around 10 Desktop cases with self built servers a few years ago as a stationary test enviroment but I'm moving to a rack now - makes stacking more hardware in the same space just more convenient. Why I still prefer this over Azure / AWS / whatever Cloud offering?

    Well you're not going to have a go at a 40+ GBit/s per port Switch in Azure, will you? I also will be running a mix of a lot of things for testing, VMware, Hyper-V, Linux, BSD and a full setup of System Center so I can self-service myself with any new VM I might need within a timeframe worth contesting big cloud providers 😉

  • steve.powell 14027

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 208

    Three laptops, four desktops, two tablets, plans to add some Raspberry Pi's and access to VM's as/when needed.

    Just need the space to plug them all in and solar/wind power generation so I don't drain the national grid!

    Then... it would depend on the project as to what I'd use. The Raspberry Pi's for e-mail server, domain controller and storage to start with, then streaming services and storage management, firewall... basically a small network for home, but with ample opportunity to learn more of how it all fits together...

    So much for not teaching old dogs...

     

  • Eric M Russell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 125032

    It depends on what type of lab you want to setup. I believe that building up a local lab is way more expensive than an Azure subscription (both in financial cost and your time). If you're just wanting to try out SQL Server 2019, then you can download the developer edition for free and install on your PC alongside your current environment. Also, Microsoft has provided emulators and web servers for developing Azure CosmosDB, Azure Storage, Azure Functions, etc. in your local environment.

    However, there are no equivalents (as far as I know) for Azure SQL Database or Azure SQL Datawarehouse. For this, you need to setup your lab using an Azure subscription. Azure SQL Warehouse is pariticularly expensive, the bottom most pricing tier is $1.20 per hour, but you can pause the compute and just pay for storage when not in use.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • john.powell2

    Grasshopper

    Points: 18

    I don't get out of the house much, let alone out of the country, but this caught my eye since I'm tentatively planning a wee visit to Scotland:

    This week he's been setting up new NUC computers, both i7-based systems with 16GB of RAM and i5-based systems with 8GB. We chatted a bit about these as I've never used one, but I've considered one for a mobile lab. With some of the airport security rules in the EU, however, I decided not to get one.

    What specifically is different in EU that would make the NUC problematic?  Should I reconsider taking my old HP Elitebook? Thanks for sharing the info!!!

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 716562

    john.powell2 wrote:

    I don't get out of the house much, let alone out of the country, but this caught my eye since I'm tentatively planning a wee visit to Scotland: This week he's been setting up new NUC computers, both i7-based systems with 16GB of RAM and i5-based systems with 8GB. We chatted a bit about these as I've never used one, but I've considered one for a mobile lab. With some of the airport security rules in the EU, however, I decided not to get one. What specifically is different in EU that would make the NUC problematic?  Should I reconsider taking my old HP Elitebook? Thanks for sharing the info!!!

    The issue is that some security requires a device traveling on the airplane to be powered on. The NUC has no way to power itself on and you cannot plug it in at security. I could carry a battery (https://www.amazon.com/Portable-Charger-Omars-24000mAh-Compatible/dp/B073P81Z9V/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=portable+ac+power&qid=1557763987&s=gateway&sr=8-2), but I was hoping to not have to do this, plus I still need an adapter and then not sure security will allow me to connect things to power it on.

    I never check bags (unless my wife is with me), so this is an issue for me. I would hate to have my NUC confiscated at a security line in a country where I don't speak the language.

  • Kristen

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 287

    I needed a laptop for some PowerBI contracting work at the beginning of the year, and I ended up going with the Dell Inspiron 13" i7 2-in-1.  I've been very satisfied with it; I had to upgrade the SSD, but it's worked very smoothly even for large PowerBI documents.  It's even powerful enough to play some modern games with graphics turned way down.  I enjoy the touch screen because I also use it for running DND games, and being able to treat it like a digital whiteboard has been useful.

    If you don't care for the touch screen, the XPS 13" looks good too.  It's got a better battery than the Inspiron; might be helpful on a plane.  It also has a Thunderbolt port, the lack of which is pretty much my only gripe about my Inspiron.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 716562

    I love the touchsceen. XPS was on my list, but I think at the time the Spectre was a better deal. I'm not sure I need to 2-in-1 thing. After a few years of this, I rarely use it, but I do often poke the screen.

  • Frank W Fulton Jr

    SSCommitted

    Points: 1599

    My Mobile Lab is an ASUS ROG GL752VW-DH74 17-Inch Gaming Laptop, Discrete GPU GeForce GTX 960M 4 GB VRAM, i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz, 32GB, a 512 GB M.2 & a 512 GB SDD internally. She just turned 3 years old, 2 weeks back, but she still keeps me quite happy. I use VMWare Workstation 15 with about 12 VMs but I don’t usually run more than 4 or 5 at a time.

    My Home Lab setup: I have 3 HP ProLiant DL360 G7s (Dual Socketed 3.06 GHz CPUs) with 144 GB each. Two are running vSphere 6.7 and the other Win Server 2016 & Hyper -V. For network storage I use 2 Synology DS1815+ DiskStation 8-Bay NAS (SHR with 2 Disk failure). Let’s not forgot UPS, must have a UPS, APC Smart-UPS SMX1500RM2U X 1200W which depending on loading can provide between 20 to 30 minutes of up time. Naturally there are protocols in place to begin shutting down redundant servers (I.E. cluster nodes, secondary DCs, WSUS servers etc..) then the rest if necessary. As a Funny Side Note - I run my vCenter Server in a Hyper-V on the Windows Server; it really makes updating the VMWare Servers a lot easier.

    Oh, and let’s not forget everything needs to talk to each other and I do that with 2 Cisco 4948 10GB switches (optical backbone) and an ASA 5520 to help protect me from all the bad guys out there.

    I hear you all saying its “Old Equipment”, but I am an Old Man, it works to my satisfaction so why fix what is not broken. Back in the day, I was the Guy who had to have the latest and the best. But after a while I realized I spent more money each year on computer equipment then I did on food. I always thought it was justified, saying I need this for work, but I really didn’t.

    “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.”

    ? Will Rogers

  • DinoRS

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2562

    I wouldn't run the newest gear either but at least in some countries your're better off not going any older than a dl360 g8 really due to power pricing.

    And I wouldn't run your switches for the very same reason, if I manage to load that 40G Switch to 100% it'll take half the power 😉 So yeah I agree, doesn't have to be the newest stuff but I still prefer having some hardware to toy around with rather than not. Finding / Fixing other issues can be a nice distraction, too.

    Get off the plane, forgot to deploy a few VMs for a demo? No issue, VPN up, push some buttons and by the time you are at the hotel the desired VMs are waiting for your commands. So as long as you have Internet access and can VPN into the environment this for me aswell represents the most "Mobile Lab", only need my Smartcard with me in the worst case.

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