Looking for a 64-bit notebook to run a type 1 hypervisor (Hyper-V… or maybe XenClient?)

Earlier today, some contacted me via this website and asked for advice on specifying a 64-bit laptop to run Hyper-V. He was confused about which laptops would actually work and I gave the following advice (unfortunately, my e-mail was rejected by his mail server)…

“The main thing to watch out for is the processor specification. If you get the model number (e.g. T7500) and look this up on the Intel website you can see if it has a feature called EM64T or Intel 64 – that is Intel’s implementation of AMD’s x64 technology – and most PCs have it today. Other things you will need for Hyper-V are hardware DEP (Intel XD or AMD NX) and hardware assisted virtualisation (Intel-VT or AMD-V). This last one might catch you out – some quad core chips don’t have the necessary functionality but most dual core chips do (and I’ve heard some reports from people where the chip supports it but there is no option to enable it in the BIOS).

Also, if you’re running 64-bit, driver support can be a pain. Stick with the major manufacturers (Lenovo, Dell, HP) and you should be OK. I was able to get all the drivers I needed for my Fujitsu notebook too.”

If you want to run Hyper-V on a notebook, it’s worth considering that notebook PCs typically have pretty slow hard drives and that can hit performance hard (notebook PCs are not designed to run as servers). Despite feedback indicating that Virtual PC does not provide all the answers, Microsoft doesn’t yet have a decent client-side virtualisation solution for developers, tech enthusiasts and other power users but Citrix have announced something that does look interesting – the XenClient (part of what they call Project Independence), described as:

“[…] a strategic product initiative with partners like Intel, focused on local virtual desktops. We are working together to deliver on our combined vision for the future of desktop computing. This new virtualization solution will extend the benefits of hosted desktop virtualization to millions of mobile workers with the introduction of a new client-side bare metal hypervisor that runs directly on each end user’s laptop or PC.”

You can read more at virtualization.info – and it’s probably worth watching the last 15 minutes from the Synergy day 2 keynote (thanks to Garry Martin for alerting me to this).

Layered on top of XenClient are the management tools to allow organisations to ensure that the corporate desktop remains secure, whilst a personal desktop is open and the scenario where we no longer have a corporate notebook PC (and instead are given an allowance to procure and provide our own IT for work and personal use) suddenly seems a lot more credible. I’m certainly hoping to take a closer look at the XenClient, once I can work out how to get hold of it.

One thought on “Looking for a 64-bit notebook to run a type 1 hypervisor (Hyper-V… or maybe XenClient?)


  1. My Sony Vaio did not allow me to run 64bit VMware images, but I eventually found a forum with instructions on how to edit hex edit the functionality into the Sony BIOS file. Reflashed the BIOS and good to go.

    You have to hold your breath though :)

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