Running several VMs for school - storage config input wanted - NVMe vs SATA3?


May 17, 2013
So for school I'm learning Windows Server, and I will be expected to run several VMs (up to 7, according to a prof) at once. I plan on getting a custom laptop from Sager, and adding in storage to make it work the best. I'm just not sure how I want to go about it. My laptop from the last two semesters had a 256GB NVMe SSD, which ran Windows, programs, and VMs, and storage was getting tight, plus a 1TB HDD for mass storage. It handled VMs fine in terms of speed, but it had more issues than just storage space, and that's why I want to replace it.

Here's some context: I have Windows Server courses over the next four semesters, and with each I'll prob be using 6 VMs at a time, created via linked clones, consisting of Windows Server and Windows 8/10 as test clients. As well I'll have security courses and Linux courses, all requiring their own VMs. I'll also have several other courses where I'll just be looking at slide shows, but that's not important. In terms of gaming, I will be doing this a little bit, but I'm not sure what games I will be playing on it (maybe GTA V, and that's ~60GB I think).

I was thinking of having a 256GB / 512GB NVMe SSD dedicated to just VMs, a 120 or 240GB SATA 3 boot and programs disk, then a regular 1TB HDD. I was talking to a colleague and he suggested running Windows on an NVMe disk as well, which made me rethink my config. He also suggested just using SATA3, and not bother with NVMe at all. I'm currently talking to Sager in terms of compatibility, because I was also thinking about having two NVMe SSDs and a HDD, but not sure if I want to do that.

I know it could get quite expensive, but I'd rather spend the money and get it done right, right away, than have to worry about it a year from now. I do plan on waiting for Black Friday or Cyber Monday for some deals (my current laptop will work until then) so that could save me a fair bit.

Any suggestions or input on how I should configure my storage would be greatly appreciated! If you need any more info, let me know and I'll do my best to comply. Here's the other specs on the laptop.

Sager NP8156:
Core i7-7700HQ
GTX 1060 6GB

Many thanks!!



May 17, 2013
Yes, they have to be local because in many cases, we're given the VMs we need to use in a .zip format, which we set up using VMWare Workstation, which is provided by my school. Plus it's handy as it allows offline access, so as long as have our laptops we can access our VMs as well.
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