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?