Regarding "But, what if the production host doesn't allow/support SVN?":
If you're on a Linux workstation, you can use either afuse (in userspace) or shfs (in kernelspace) to mount the remote system via SSH. Then just checkout to that mounted location, and away you go. I do this sort of thing a few times a week. It's also very handy for running diffs without downloading, and doing quick edits of remote files in your local editor. I'd hate to be without this functionality.
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