36 Chambers – The Legendary Journeys: Execution to the max!

August 8, 2011

One Computer Down

Filed under: Computing Devices, Programming & Work — Kevin Feasel @ 5:38 pm

Over the past week, I haven’t really posted very much and kind of fell behind on everything.  The reason for that is, when I got to work on Monday, my computer was dead as a doornail.  Unfortunately, we don’t do backups of physical machines.  Most of my important files were still fine—I save documents to a network drive and all code is regularly checked into source control—but I had to rebuild my machine from scratch.  Due to this, err, opportunity, I decided to volunteer for virtualization.  A good percentage of people at work are already on thin clients, so it’s not exactly treading new ground.

The developers and I had been resistant to the idea, though, due to our insatiable resource requirements.  I am the worst about it:  I usually keep three or four instances of Visual Studio, a couple of SQL Server Management Studio, several diagnostic tools, one or two Powershell windows, Excel, a few windows of the three major browsers, and a bit more open at a time.  So I figured that if I could succeed in a virtual environment without major headaches, everybody else could adapt pretty easily.

It took me a few days to get my computer up and running—I also spent a good bit of time training a new developer who just joined—and so I didn’t really have a computer until sometime late on Thursday.  This has limited my amount of time that I have spent testing, but after running roughly 75% of my normal stress load, I noticed that it wasn’t appreciably slower than before.  Part of this is that I’ve moved up to a 64-bit machine with 6 GB of RAM (getting more RAM was one of the carrots I demanded in return for being a guinea pig), but it seems that virtualization has reached a point of mass acceptance in a business environment.  I remember the hubbub about Network Computers back in the mid-to-late ’90s and mocked it mercilessly (and, I believe, deservedly) back then, but at this point, major bandwidth improvements have made it so that we really can do all of this work on servers, streaming across gigabit (or better) connections.  Most importantly, I have a base image now, so if something happens to my installation, I’m back up and running in 15 minutes.  We tested that out on Friday and it worked pretty well—recomposition took about 15 minutes and then I spent another 45 minutes or so rebuilding my profile.

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