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Shared Development Environment

Has anyone created a "Shared Development Environment" via Windows 2003 Server, VS.NET, and Remote Desktop?

We have looked at this for a while now as we see the following potential benefits:

1) Access from any computer, any where.  Our developers could access from home, work, traveling, etc
2) Ability to backup from one central server
3) Simplicity of installing components, etc to one place instead of to each developer's machine.  Version of these components, etc.
.... and a lot more.

Can anyone offer any advice for or against setting up a super-charged development server (4-processor, 4-gb ram, etc) for a 6-developer team, and each developer accessing the server through Remote Desktop to run .NET, SQL, etc?

Developer Send private email
Monday, September 11, 2006
I personally do not recommend operating a development environment on a server, even if its over Terminal Services or not.

Several reasons:

- Terminal Server licensing is very expensive, even if you were to use something as citrix its not worth the added costs. (Remote Desktop is Terminal Services, just in case ^_^) There are some similar alternatives, but performance will be VERY poor.

- If debugging causes the system to become unstable, the whole server can crash, and cause everyone logged in at the time to lose their data.

- Expense of the server, the server you're quoting is just nuts, its going to cost thousands just for the RAM and processors alone, and Quad-Proc computing is actually less productive than a Single or Dual Proc system.

My suggestion.

Purchase VS Team System.
Purchase Microsoft Small Business Server
Implement a Version Control System (TS comes with one).
Don't use TS, as its expensive.

Push Controls, Applications and more through Active Directory!

Use Roaming Profiles, with authentication over VPN, which will allow users to connect via Broadband and Sync with their Profile no matter the PC they are on, as long as its setup to use Active Directory. This is handy for those who have notebooks.

For people on machines at home, they can use Remote Desktop to connect to their Workstation PC through SBS Server, instead of through the Server itself! This prevents the server becoming the single point of failure!

This will take some time to implement, but when implemented properly, it will function a LOT better, and cost you THOUSANDS LESS than what you originally proposed!

- Inari ^_^
Inari Send private email
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Sorry, just to clarify, Visual Studio TEAM SYSTEM not Terminal Services, comes with a Version Control System.

I recommend something other than SourceSafe, as there are lots of free ones out there, but SourceSafe is guaranteed to work with VS.

- Inari ^_^
Inari Send private email
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I certainly can't speak from experience on this (I doubt many can), but the gut reaction is "no".  Inari's solution is a lot more typical, and scales far more reasonably.

Matt Lavallee Send private email
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
At one place I worked, they had the developers use their own PCs, but they kept all development code on the server.  I.e. when you checked out code from SourceSafe, you checked it out to your directory on the server instead of to your PC.  They had a couple of gigabit Ethernet cards on that server, and it was fast.

So for (1), you just VPNed to your own PC, which then had access to your code on the server.  For (2), you could easily back up the contents of the server.  For (3)...well, you still had to do that stuff on each PC, but this wasn't that big a company.

But why _did_ they keep all development code on the server?  Because the business owner was paranoid that somebody would steal source code, or break in and steal PCs with source code on them.  In actuality the source code was really horrible and not worth stealing...but who was going to tell him that?  (I had the chance to once, but I balked.)
Kyralessa Send private email
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

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