RAID, Study and Virtual Machines – Getting the hang of Hyper-V

Virtual Machines and Hyper-V for the non Server-Guru

It has been essential for me to master the basics of creating and using virtual machines to do the skill development and exam preparation as part of redeveloping my business. I have explored and used Virtual PC, Virtual Box, VMware Player and then Workstation – progressing to owning a licence for VMware Workstation. The grand plan was for the new PC to run Hyper-V server – but the gradual unraveling of my old PC has led me to setting up the new PC as a desktop PC but one that needed to run Hyper-V as well – so I can use Microsoft’s preview and trial “vhd” resources.

So I over the last two days I have learned the basics of  Hyper-V Manager on Windows 8. The aim has been to build virtual machines to run SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 for study and research purposes. As always I have learned a great deal and have followed a few rabbits down false trails. A modern Core-I7 processor and 16GB of RAM is speeding the process (to counterbalance the time lost when I have clicked into a wrong turn).

These study environments wont be complete – I probably won’t get as far as setting up Exchange.

The re-assuring aspect of this is that all virtualisation products share enough common aspects for me to transfer knowledge and skills from the old to the new.

RAID arrays

The new PC (and the old one and my NAS) features a RAID array – a pair  of identical hard drives  – where the data is mirrored from one to the other. With current motherboards they are not hard or expensive to set up, and I recommend any SOHO set up should have a RAID array.

When one drive fails you can replace the faulty drive – or copy the data from the surviving drive. RAID is not an alternative to backup – but should be part of your backup strategy.