Getting a new machine is not as fun as I had expected

It has been a while since I got a new piece of hardware and today I am setting up a new HP machine. It’s pretty nice – 8 core, 16GB RAM, and about 2TB of hard drive space. The only challenge is moving my virtual machines from the machine that is being replaced to the new machine. I have over 30 (!) VMs stored on the old machine and I am seriously considering just swapping hard drives around to speed this process along. Copying that much data over the network would probably take most of the day.

Getting new machines is usually pretty nice since it means you can now get your job done more quickly. But each time I get a new machine, I have to go through a learning curve for the hardware. It starts with having to figure out how to open the case to add to it. Listen HP/Dell/Asus/whoever, I understand that your method of assembling the case is great and has an advantage over everyone else. I get it. But every gas cap I have ever seen opens the same way so please quit changing how you get your users to open the case. I can’t complain too much here, though – my second computer had seals on it and opening the case voided the warranty.

Quick note – once I had typed that last paragraph, I decided it would be much easier to move the drives to the new machine. So I took 2 of them out of the old and put them in the new. I had to disconnect the CD layer to get an extra SATA cable, and then when I restarted the machine would not boot. Sigh. Turns out the machine was set to boot to the CD first, then the (what had been) the original drive, then the network, and so on. It took a while to figure out the BIOS settings to fix this (and re-read the rant above about the cases all being different and apply it to BIOS) but now the machine is up and running. I just need to import all the VMs and I am set.

The previous machine is still pretty nice and will be used by someone else on the team. We have a couple of interns headed our way soon and I suspect I know who will get it. Should be a good machine to have if so.

Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,


Comments (5)

  1. Jeff Widmer says:

    Get a USB 2.0 to IDE or Serial ATA Drive Adapter.  I highly recommend this very cheap but useful tool for getting data out of your old HDDs.…/ref=as_li_ss_til

  2. Phil Bolduc says:

    Even better than one of those cables is the Thermaltake BlacX series. No enclosures.  Supports desktop and laptop drives. There are eSATA, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 models.  Plus the one linked below allows you to mount two drives at once.  I had one of those cables before and I always had to adjust the connector to keep the drive connected.…/ref=sr_1_1

  3. Max B-H says:

    Did you get an SSD in your new machine?

  4. Tom Chm says:

    I agree with Phil – Get a Thermaltake – I love mine.

  5. John says:

    No, no SSDs.  I needed more space for VMs than they allow – I think I have 2.5TB total in it at this point.

    I may try the cables in the future simply because I am running low on SATA ports.  I've found that multiple VMs running usually causes HD contention problems long before the CPU becomes bound or you run out of RAM.  The upshot is to keep as few VHDs on a drive as possible, which means more drives is better.