How many machines is enough? I think, one :-)

Interesting post.
I have seen people keeping around a lot of machines. For me, multiple
machines produces too much noise :-(. I personally have been trying to
keep a single machine + laptop. Usually at the end of the product cycle
(such as now) I have to maintain two machines since closer to release
code base forks and RC branch only gets selected fixes while active
development continues in the branch that goes towards the next release.

I don't need separate test machine since our team employs dedicated
check in / test machine. I run a subset of tests on my primary machine
(it takes about 30 minutes), then obtain a cookie on the team checkin
machine (also called 'buddy build machine'), submit changes and then
run build and tests on the shared machine via terminal server (takes
about 3 hours). If everything goes well, I release the machine and
release script automatically updates 'safe sync' label to my change

I run Windows 2003 Standard Server on my primary box. Server is more
convenient since I can open terminal server session to my own machine
and run tests in that session while continue working on the primary

Comments (1)
  1. Marcelo says:

    Ah, interesting comment – and certainly very good points. Having less machines is good – less maintenance, less noise, less heat.

    It seems to me like the use of multiple machines is somewhat tied to the nature of the work done. For example, I work with user input a lot, and so stability in system focus and mouse and keyboard states are essential to me. Remote debugging across two machines is a godsend.

    Another example that comes to mind is developers working with DirectX, requiring different video cards… I suppose this generalizes to a need to have multiple hardware handy (even if not comprehensive).

    In any case, I’d answer your title question with something along the lines of ‘as few as required, and no less.’ 😉

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