I would like to get some feedback/thoughts from the technology crowd out there on a topic new to me. Warning long post and sorry for the randomness of thought.
A little background first: I am a Civil Engineer by day and a enthusiast of technology by night. So bear with me as my depth with computers are limited.
I have the following computers in the house:
Desktop Workstation: i7-3770K, 32GB ram, GTX 670, 512gb ssd Win 7 pro
Mobile Workstation: Lenovo x220, i7 (Dual Core), 16GB ram, 512GB ssd Win 8 Pro
SERVER: Xeon E5-2660, 32GB ram, 15TB Total HD space. 256GB boot drive, Intel Pro 1000 pt quad NIC. Windows server 2012 Essentials
Laptop: Toshiba i5, 8gb, 256GB ssd Win 7 pro
HTPC 1: i5,8GB, 256GB ssd Win 7 Pro
HTPC 2: i3, 4GB, 128GB ssd Win 7 Pro
And IPAD and a Microsoft Surface and 2 android Phones…
My Network is comprised of a Wireless N consumer router, Netgear 24 port gigabit managed switch, and Four CAT 6 lines to every room in the house. The 2012 servers NIC has teaming enabled and handles all DNS, DHCP roles as it’s the domain controller. I will most likely be building a pfsense box early next year or get a router that can handle a custom firmware. Following that I will setup a VPN server so I can access and encrypt my data when I am outside of the network.
Now my question/thought/solution
I am a amature Photographer and use Adobe products quite a bit (Mostly lightroom) but think this can really be expanded to most programs (excluding games). One annoying thing about Lightroom is it does not (officially) allow you to keep your catalogue (The file with all you edits) on the network. The guy at adobe who came up with not allowing that must have been drunk. My dilemma is I edit on my main Workstation (i7-3770K) and I go on my laptop (levono x220) and want to continue to edit but I have to back up the catalogue and load it. This gets old real quick going between workstations backing up and such.
So what I would like to do is get lightroom to run on my Home server (Microsoft Server 2012 Essentials) and run lightroom though remoteapp. What this would allow me to do is access all my photos and a single lightroom catalogue on multiple machines (not simultaneously as I’m sure the EULA would prohibit that). This would have even more benefits to it because the program is located in a single place so you only have to update once, setup settings once etc...
Now after I had that Idea I started to expand on this and was thinking about virtualizing workstation’s. I could have low powered i3/i5 computers all around the house as my workstations because all the heavy lifting is done on the central server. My laptop would not struggle to edit the Canon 5Dmk3 files any longer. I could even go with an Ultrabook such as a Asus Zenbook Prime and have an excellent battery life laptop with a nice IPS screen and either run lightroom/photoshop though remoteapp or open a virtualized instance of windows on the server and edit though that via remoteFX. I also think I can connect using my Microsoft Surface as it supports Remoteapp which would be an added bonus.
This can even be expanded to AutoCAD (another program i use a lot) or other graphic intensive programs. Have one badass hulk server and smaller workstations that do not require much power. If a program is struggling I only have to upgrade one machine as opposed to 3 or 4 machines around the house.
What do you think? Has anyone done this? I wont be surprised if this is common and I’m the last one to know about it. How is your performance in virturalization/remoteapp?
Thanks in advance for any feedback