One For All and All for Photo One

I’m not a network guy. I don’t even pretend to be one. But like a champ, rose to the occasion to set up a network in my partner’s studio. And it works. Mostly. The trick of course, is running a Windows application in an all-Mac environment and networking that application to three machines.

Setting up the network was the easy part. Apple’s Time Capsule and AirPort Express got the juice flowing in no time. The laptops were on, the printer was wireless, I even set up a network for studio guests. Piece of cake. Next up is getting the studio software up and ready for business.

PhotoOne is a leading studio management system for photography studios. It’s cool stuff. It’s a total CRM tool complete with billing, email marketing, photo proofing, credit card processing, you name it. The catch is, it’s only available in a Windows version. No prob, I say… I can run Win7 as a virtual machine with VMWare’s Fusion. No biggie. This is kid’s play.

Silly Keith.

PhotoOne runs perfectly fine on a virtual machine. PhotoOne even touts this on its Web site. What isn’t so fine is creating a Windows network in that environment. Oh, and without the server version of Windows. That might have been the wrinkle in my plan. But hell, it’s just three machines!!! And each machine needs 99% uptime with access to the same data set.

Networking these machines was a pain. To all those fools on TV claiming Windows 7 is “my idea,” maybe you shouldn’t be broadcasting your culpability ;-) Not an easy task for this Mac guy. It took a good 2 weekends of work (I’m probably exaggerating a bit) to tweak the settings so all three Macs could read each other and all three virtual PCs could do the same and getting the 2 MacBooks mapped to the Mini… in Windows of course.. It was tough.

So PhotoOne is up and running. The host app is running on a Mac mini “server” through VMWare Fusion. The MacBooks connect to the PhotoOne “server” through mini-apps (not sure what else to call them) to interface with the program and database. It’s great for working with clients in any area of the studio. Everything else has been a relative snap. The credit card merchant program and email marketing plugins went in smoothly. The next hitch might be in connecting the card swipers to the Macs. We’ll see.

All of this is exciting as it’ll be the foundation to what has already become a great studio: FEND Photography.