If you are like me, when you travel, computers break at home - and being a computer person, you are the tech support...your house is most likely your personal lab, in a constant state of flux. If not, I salute you. To make matters worse, I am often the one who messed things up before I leave - luckily, my wife patiently waits for me to get into my hotel and work with her to fix it remotely. She already does a great job at tolerating the wires, keyboards, mice, monitors, and various other computer parts in every corner of our house - so having to wait for me to fix these, is a hassle for her I would like to reduce.
I have a real life scenario from my current trip that is worth sharing with this community. First let me explain a bit about the way I have my house setup. Network wise, I have a standard DSL connection to the house which plugs into a slim & quite desktop that I has 2 network cards on it and runs the http://ipcop.org/ firewall solution, which I have added http://openvpn.net/ onto and use the OpenVPN GUI application on my mobile computer. From the 2nd network connection I serve up my wireless and wired infrastructures and have gigabyte connections to all rooms in the house as well as a great wireless solution, even the printers and TV are networked. I have more than one vPro clients in the house that I have enabled in small business mode. I also have a RAID solution on one of my computers that handles all the file shares - including running various emerging solutions that we talk about on this site (I mentioned I view my home network as a lab, right?).
Now the scenario - while on this trip one of the PC's who is up to date with virus protection and patches developed a virus, and as much as I would like to spend the time looking into how the virus got there - doing this over the phone would not be feasible. Therefore, I did what any modern day geek would do - I VPN'd into my home from my hotel, I took control of the computer over a remote desktop session and started fixing. I found the virus engrained into the system, and to keep my home running until I return, I set the machine to boot to the network instead of the local hard disk using IDE-R (a feature in vPro). Then I rebooted the machine and it booted Ubuntu Linux over my network, and the files that my family uses are accessible over the file shares.
Problem patched - until I return home. Keeping my fingers crossed...
p.s. If you have any questions on how to configure your house this way - fire away.