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Workstations for the Data Professional

By  Aug 9, 2010

Topics: SQL Server, Data

I’ve used a lot of working methods for my desktop environment (not my servers) over the years, but they fall into three “buckets” of systems

1.      Big Workstation, VM Server, all tools, documentation, test environments local

2.      Laptop with all tools installed, as well as Microsoft Office, hit the documentation on the web and a remote testing environment

3.      Purpose-built Virtual Machines


I’m moving towards the latter model right now – I use Office in the “cloud”, Outlook on the web, and SharePoint for almost all my “office” work. I run a VM that is set up for T-SQL development and database design (with the Redgate, Quest and Embarcadero tools there, among others), another for Business Intelligence, another for SharePoint testing and so on. I find that each of these can use a different OS, patch level and so on. The only issue is that sometimes I actually want that hardware dependence, and of course I need a decent machine to run the VM’s. I don’t always run them all at the same time, so in fact that really isn’t an issue. I do have to synch between the VM’s, so I use a combination of PowerShell Scripts and Windows Live Mesh for that. So far I’m finding that I am very efficient this way, and can carry my “computer” on a USB drive assuming there’s a host machine at the conference or client where I’m travelling.


So, what are you finding to be the best way to work? Or do you have much of a choice in that?

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