Magic Dave (our IT Manager) has installed our brand new R+D Blade Server.
At Talman we do most of our development on Terminal Servers (allows our 15 developers to all have consistent Dev tools, performance, backups, test environments etc) and so it is necessary to be strict with what gets installed on them. No Betas, untested tools, unknown shareware downloads etc.
So when it comes to evaluating new products such as the .Net beta 2, SQL 2005 beta etc we’ve been back on the vicious ‘install Virtual PC/need more RAM/need more hard drive space now’ cycle multiplied by 15 developers.
(By the way I love the Virtual PC/Virtual Server story: let’s build a product to allow people to test their apps on different operating systems on the same machine (good reason). But wait, we can get more sales by pumping out unstable beta products so that people need Virtual PC just to protect their main environment (cynical reason))
So we put in a dedicated R+D Terminal Server that is big and grunty. Developers can install anything they like on it, no matter how unstable, and ‘play’ to their heart’s content. If something we install breaks the server, no problem, we just re-image the entire server and start again. If one of us finds a new tool that seems useful, onto the R+D server it goes and immediately we all have access to it. Daily development work (you know, the stuff that pays the bills) is unaffected.
I love my job.