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All of our developers are remote in our company, including myself. The vast majority of our work centers around Laravel on a LAMP stack. We have various devs, some that are just for coding, some are for design work, some are for sysadmin, etc..

We frequently run into problems where developers have a hard time creating local dev machines, they can't figure out how to install XYZ or configure it. Or perhaps they have one, but it is completely different than the production servers so there are issues when we try to push their work into it.

We thought of rolling out cloud instances of dev boxes, but the network latency takes that off the table. They want to be able to use their IDE's and map the locations directly within their local environment via Samba or other such methods. These generally do not work well outside of the LAN.

What options do we have? Could we give our developers some modest hardware that could be used to virtualize our multiple environments (different versions of PHP, MySQL, Apache, NginX, etc.)? Then how would we provide them images of each platform? Is there anything already designed that handles this?

I am open to just about anything.

Note, this is different than the suggested duplicate because this is not about supplying a central server rack with vm's, rather separate machines to each user who can then virtualize from a network location

  • Possible duplicate of Thoughts on Development using Virtual Machines – gnat Oct 5 '17 at 20:38
  • Not really a duplicate of that because we are talking remote users AND remote hardware solely. – Jafo Oct 5 '17 at 20:39
  • How many machines does it take to set up a reasonable remote work environment at your company? Can you structure your systems so that it only requires one? (it's hard to imagine having to set up an entire networking infrastructure for every employee; normally whatever you need locally for development can all be set up on the same box). Is multi-booting a possibility if multiple distinct OS environments are required? – Robert Harvey Oct 5 '17 at 21:00
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    Why not provide docker images with pre configured packages for everyone ? – Machado Oct 5 '17 at 21:06
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    @Jafo I've used docker to standardize toolchains and dev environments a few times now. It's a really nice solution. – RubberDuck Oct 6 '17 at 9:45
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You could use a standardised version of a Bitnami stack - it is an isolated bundle and you can have multiple instances installed on a machine too (if you needed to support different PHP versions, for example).

https://bitnami.com/stack/lamp/installer

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