Cloud Dev Laptop

This post is in response to multiple requests I’ve gotten from people outside of Dell.  My apologies if it is too commercial.  I work for Dell  and we make hot laptops AND clouds.
When you’re building clouds (as opposed to cloud applications), you need heavy equipment.  So it’s no surprise that I use a Precision M6600 17″ laptop that is capable of running a complete multi-node cloud data center.
IMHO, here are the core requirements for a Cloud Builder laptop:
  1. SSDs (I have two 1/4 TB of SSD):  We are constantly building/installing operating systems.  These are high I/O activities so SSDs are essential.  I’m constantly on the edge of no free space even with 1/2 TB .
  2. RAM (I have 32 Gb): It’s normal for us to run multiple VMs.  If you RAM starve your VMs (I used to have 16) then they page fault and you’re back to constrained disk I/O.  We assign 4 GB RAM per VM because it’s just faster.
  3. Many Cores: VMs w/ 1 CPU = thread contention.  Adding RAM and Disk can’t fix a threading issues.
  4. Bonus: I like a good keyboard and big display – I code, type & read a lot so the 17″ display helps.
For our devs, a normal cycle is write (desktop) -> build (in a VM) -> deploy (on additional VMs) -> full test requires >4 VMs (that’s over 16 GB RAM).  I don’t want to check in code until I complete that cycle.  On small RAM and spinning HDD  that cycle takes >1 hour.  On my laptop it is <15 minutes!
There are only a few models of laptop that can pack that type of power and they demand a premium; however, the extra umph translates into at least 3 or 4 more full cycles per day.  That’s a whole lot of extra productivity.