My Mobile Training and Presentation Setup

IMG_6530 As many of you know, I typically travel with a mobile Hyper-V setup using a mini-server housed in a Gigabyte Brix unit. I also have a brand new Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, which I’ve also written about. During the recent PowerShell Summit my intent was to use this gear during my presentations and demos. Sadly, I forgot the power cord to my Brix. Fortunately, Don Jones was inspired by my setup to build one of his own so I was a able to borrow his power cord for my second demonstration. But then this roller coaster brought me back down as I couldn’t get network connectivity to work using an old 4 port switch. I ended up re-working demos to do everything on my Yoga 2 Pro, which wasn’t too bad since it has 8GB of RAM. But I really wanted the additional virtual machines.

When I returned home I decided the switch was the core of my problems and needed something that my laptop would recognize as a valid network device, even if it was the first device plugged in. I found a Netgear ProSafe Plus 4 port (GS105E) switch from my local Staples. Love it. I plugged my Yoga 2 Pro in, I bought a USB3 ethernet dongle, and right away Windows said I had a 1GB network connection, albeit without Internet which was fine since I don’t rely on the Internet for my demos or training. I plugged in the Brix, fired it up and it just worked. That’s all I ever wanted: plug it in and work.

Here’s my setup, plugged in and working just as it would be at a conference or training site.

brix-lenovo-netgrear

For the record, I have a USB 3 Toshiba drive plugged into the Brix that holds ISOs, backups and other large, static files. I have a USB 3 hub and another Toshiba USB 3 drive for my Yoga 2 Pro, although right now I don’t need that as part of my demo/training setup. The mouse is a Logitech Bluetooth mouse that is compact and just works. I tried other Bluetooth mice with varying degrees of success. I also like that the mouse gets like an hour of run time even when charged via USB for literally one minute. Very happy to finally have a setup I can rely on. I’m looking forward to trying it out next week while I am on the road.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Mini Hyper-V Benchmarks

I’ve received a lot of interest in my mini Hyper-V project. I’m still running preview bits of Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2. Once final bits are released I’ll do a clean re-install. But until then I’ve been using it running about 4 virtual machines without a hiccup. I was getting some questions about benchmarks so I thought I’d post what information I could.

Part of the challenge in using a benchmarking tool is that I’m running Server Core so most tools won’t run. I was able to install Dacris Benchmarks on the server and run some benchmarks. I didn’t bother with the video tests and not all features of the tool work on Server Core. But I was able to gather enough information if you are interested.

Overall, it looks like a pretty good system for what I need.

dacris-summary

I hope it’s obvious this isn’t a production-level server for a datacenter. But for testing and lab work it is more than adequate. and personally, the portable form factor was the driving force. Dacris Benchmarks confirms my theory.

dacris-grade

Here are the results from some of the advanced tests.
Memory Transfer Rate for Large Blocks
largblocks

Memory Transfer Rate for Small Blocks
smallblocks

CPU Parallel Scaling
parallel

CPU Pi Calculation
pi

I also decided to grab system information with MSINFO32.EXE.

chi-hvr2-si

While not a benchmark, some of you may be interested in the nitty-gritty. You can also download a zip file with the complete NFO file.

Finally, if you missed any of the earlier articles on my project here they are:

Part 1: Intro and Specs
Part 2: Hardware Build
Part 3: Setup
Part 4: Operating System

I expect just about anywhere I will be presenting or training I’ll have this with me so please feel free to find me if you want a closer look.