SSDs for VMs Used for Learning?


  • Greetings!

    I posted here in late December with a question on this topic. At the time I was considering the addition of a PCIe storage controller but all who responded recommended against it. The responses included 1) Upgrade motherboard, CPU, and memory, 2) Increase amount of system memory, and 3) Purchase one or more SSDs for VM storage due to the performance advantages over SATA 3 (6 Mbps) drives.

    I prefer Option 1 - replace motherboard, cpu and memory; however, I can't go that route right now. As for Option 2 - I've reached the 16GB limit of my motherboard so that's a no-can-do. So Option 3 is my only viable option. Depending on cost, I may be able to purchase 2 SSDs.  My supervisor is letting me order with our end-of-quarter IT order so I must know what I need by noon on Friday, March 10th - this Friday. (And for the record - Yes. I must reimburse the expense.)

    My goal is to, within my budget, obtain the best possible performance while running some and all of the VMs described above simultaneously. The specifications for the system I intend to use is described below in detail under "System Information."

    My questions...

        • What type of SSD do I need? (I haven't dealt with SSDs until now so I know VERY little about them and the various types.)
        • What SSD would you purchase if you were making this purchase?

    *** If possible, I would like to purchase an SSD that is likely to be compatible with newer motherboards. PCIe 3.0 is backward-compatible with PCIe 2.0 but IS that the case with SSD devices too? ***


    Host OS: Windows Server 2012 R2

    Guest VMs

    1. 3 to 5 Windows Server 2012 R2 servers, 2 of which will function as domain controllers and the others will run various other server roles.
    2. Windows Server 2016
    3. 2 to 3 Windows clients (Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10).
    4. 2 Linux clients

    AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 (PC3 10666) - I've reached memory limit of motherboard with 16GB.

    Storage Currently Available:

    1. One 500GB Western Digital Black (SATA 3) used for dual-boot host operating systems (Win 10 Pro and Win SVR 2012 R2).
    2. Two 2TB Western Digital Black (SATA 3) drives used for rotating system backups. (One drive is inserted in External Drive Bay for backup and then stored offsite.)
    3. One 2TB Western Digital Black (SATA 3) drive used for local data storage.
    4. Two 1TB Western Digital Black (SATA 3) drives used for storage of Guest VMs.

    Asus M4A88TD-V EVO USB3 with 5 integrated SATA 3 (6Gbps) integrated ports on board.

    DVD is attached to a Silicon Image 3114 SATA RAID in PCI slot.

    Open Slots:
    PCIe Version 2.0 - x16, x4, and an x2.

    I hope I've provided sufficient information to allow you to understand my environment and my questions. I realize this is a hardware-related question but I thought who better to ask than those that work with Hyper-V.

    I will greatly appreciate any information you provide that will help me or point me in the right direction.


    John / configt


    Wednesday, March 8, 2017 1:13 AM

All replies

  • Any SATA3 SSD will work fine and would be compatible with newer motherboards.  

    PCIe SSDs can be much faster, but are also much more expensive.  Depending on your setup, you may not be able to boot from a PCIe SSD.

    Wednesday, March 8, 2017 5:28 AM
  • Another consideration is the durability of SSDs.  How much stress are you going to put on these devices?  There are 'consumer' grade and 'production' grade SSDs.  Consumer grade are significantly less costly.  But the reason for that is that they do not last as long.  Every SSD has a write-maximum.  This is measured in how many times an SSD can be written.  Top-notch SSDs will take 10 or more full writes (entire content of SSD written) per day.  Bottom-line product will take 3 full-writes per day.  Consumer is lower yet.  Obviously price varies significantly.

    . : | : . : | : . tim

    Wednesday, March 8, 2017 2:14 PM