In teaching, I had a problem because my students have different base operating systems, like Windows 7, Windows 8, Linux, and Mac OS X. I needed a teaching and lecture platform that would let me teach it all (not to mention support their environments). That meant it had to virtualize any of the following with a portable device:
- Windows 7 or 8 hosting natively an Oracle Database 11g XE, 11g, or 12c and MySQL Database 5.6
- Windows 7 or 8 hosting a Fedora or Oracle Unbreakable Linux VM (3 or 4 GB) with Oracle Database 11g XE, 11g, or 12c and MySQL Database 5.6
- Mac OS X hosting a Fedora or Oracle Unbreakable Linux VM (3 or 4 GB) with Oracle Database 11g XE, 11g, or 12c and MySQL Database 5.6
- Ubuntu hosting a Fedora or Oracle Unbreakable Linux VM (3 or 4 GB) with Oracle Database 11g XE, 11g, or 12c and MySQL Database 5.6
I never considered a manufacturer other than Apple for a laptop since they adopted the Intel chip. Too many of the others sell non-hyperthreaded laptop machines that they market as i5 or i7 64-bit OS machines when they’re not. Some of those vendors disable the hyperthreading facility while others provide motherboards that can’t support hyperthreading. The ones I dislike the most provide a BIOS setting that gives the impression you can enable hyperthreading when you can’t. All Apple devices, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, and Mac Pro do fully support a 64-bit OS and their virtualization.
A MacBook Pro came to mind but the disk space requirements were 1 TB, and that’s too pricey. I went with the Mac Mini because with 16 GB of memory and a 1 TB drive it was only $1,200. Add a wireless keyboard and mighty mouse, and an HDMI splitter and cables for $35, and I had my solution. Naturally, my desktop is a one generation old Mac Pro with 64 GB of memory and 12 TB of disk space, which supports all the virtual machines used for testing. Note to Apple marketing staff: The prior version of the Mac Pro let you pay reasonable (3rd party) prices for the additional memory and disk drives.
The Mac Mini means I can travel anywhere and plug into the console and demo tools and techniques from a myriad set of platforms without the hassle of moving on and off to frequently VM images. It’s a great solution with only one downside, HDMI to DVI sometimes creates purple toned screens. It’s unfortunate because some venues have monitors that don’t support HDMI).