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How do you do....it? Thread, Programming Classes & Virtual machines in Technical; Hi, We are looking to introduce virtual machines for our programming classes and was wondering how everyone has accomplished this. ...
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    Programming Classes & Virtual machines


    We are looking to introduce virtual machines for our programming classes and was wondering how everyone has accomplished this. We want the students to be able to access their home directory while they are using the VM and obviously the VM should be read-only so that it returns to its original state when powered down. I have looked into Microsoft Virtual PC on our Windows 7 clients but to run a Windows 7 VM we would need to throw a lot of RAM at the VM which we don't really want to do so this leaves us with Windows XP which I'm not sure is a good idea given compatibility issues etc. Also presumably for the home drives to work each VM would need to be added to the domain? I thought about using a virtual machine via VMware and VMware player but I think we may have the same problem with having to have numerous VM's because of Remote Desktop restrictions.

    I want to reduce the administration time as much as possible so any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    What development tools are you looking to use and why do you think you need to provide them within a VM?

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    We are using VirtualBox (albeit via an RM Blueprint). I have Windows 7 workstations using XP on the VM. It produces a folder in their home directory which appears as a mapped drive on the VM. The documentation that goes with it is quite comprehensive and if we were running a vanilla network would probably still have gone with VirtuialBox (not least of which because it's free).

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    Ephelyon's Avatar
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    You could always use something like HAP+ for home directory access, which being web-based would avoid the need for a domain join or mapping drives/folders through to VMs.

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    This thread was really helpful to me, so I thought I'd point you to it. I'm waiting on upgrading the RAM to test my implementation works for sure outside of my test cave, but we have a Virtual Box machine with an immutable disk (meaning any writes by the student are temporary, and the VM is a blank slate every time it starts) with a mapped folder to the path of the student's home directory, so they can save their work directly to their home folder. Also, I disabled the network card in the VM to stop any tomfoolery, and use VBoxSDL.exe so no admin tools are available to the students and they can't enable it again.

    With any luck, this should be bulletproof..
    Last edited by Driftingashore; 11th February 2014 at 04:51 PM.

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    I'm not really sure on budget, but something I have been looking at recently is Citrix VDI with XenServer and VDI-in-a-box.

    I have it running bare bones on a few old poweredge 2900's for lab purposes.

    VM's are dynamically provisioned on-demand from a sysprepped template, joined to the domain and destroyed/replaced at logout.

    Not sure if this helps at all, but thought i'd provide another angle of attack!

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