Friday, October 21, 2011 10:14 AM tonyrogerson

Cost justification for buying a 32GB superfast Alienware M18x with a price tag of around £5K ($10K)

When considering buying a laptop that’s going to cost me around £5,000 I really need to justify the purchase from a business perspective; my Lenovo W700 has served me very well for the last 2 years, it’s an extremely good machine and as solid as a rock (and as heavy), alas though it is limited to the 8GB.

As SQL Server 2012 approaches and with my interest in working in the Business Intelligence space over the next year or two it is clear I need a powerful machine that I can run a full infrastructure though virtualised.

My requirements

For High Availability / Disaster Recovery research and demonstration

Machine for a domain controller
Four machines in a shared disk cluster (SQL Server Clustering active – active etc.)
Five  machines in a file share cluster (SQL Server Availability Groups)

For Business Intelligence research and demonstration

Not entirely sure how many machine I want to run here, but it would be to cover the entire BI stack in an enterprise setting, sharepoint, sql server etc.

For Big Data Research

I have a fondness for the NoSQL approach to scalability and dealing with large volumes so I need a number of machines to research VoltDB, Hadoop etc.

As you can see the requirements for a SQL Server consultant to service their clients well is considerable; will 8GB suffice, alas no, it will no longer do. I’m a very strong believer that in order to do your job well you must expense it, short cuts only cost you time, waiting 5 minutes instead of an hour for something to run not only saves me time but my clients time, I can do things quicker and more importantly I can demonstrate concepts.

My W700 with the 8GB of RAM and SSD’s cost me around £3.5K two years ago, to be honest I’ve not got the full use I wanted out of it but the machine has had the power when I’ve needed it, it’s served me and my clients well.

Alienware now do a model (the M18x) with 32GB of RAM; yes 32GB in a laptop! Dual drives so I can whack a couple of really good SSD’s in there, a quad core with hyper threading i7 and a decent speed.

I can reduce the cost of the memory by getting it from Crucial, so instead of £1.5K for 32GB it will be around £900, I can also cost save on the SSD as well. The beauty about the M18x is that it is USB3.0, SATA 3 and also really importantly has eSATA, running VM’s will never be easier, I can have a removeable SSD with my VM’s on it and can plug it into my home machine or laptop – an ideal world!

The initial outlay of £5K is peanuts compared to the benefits I’ll give my clients, I will be able to present real enterprise concepts, I’ll also be able to give training on those real enterprise concepts and with real, albeit virtualised machines.


# re: Cost justification for buying a 32GB superfast Alienware M18x with a price tag of around £5K ($10K)

Saturday, October 22, 2011 12:04 AM by sqlartist

This just about sums it up perfectly - it simply pays for itself. The amount of time I have wasted moving files, trying to get VM's working and then it all running so slowly it puts you off of using the product. Great justification. Plus its a superb new toy.