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O/S Deployment Thread, Virtualize Client PC's in Technical; Hi Guys, I'm trying to remove the hardware from the equation when imaging client PC's; like we do with server ...
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    Virtualize Client PC's

    Hi Guys,

    I'm trying to remove the hardware from the equation when imaging client PC's; like we do with server VM's these days.

    Has anyone tested the idea of virtualizing client pc's like we do servers? It would save time with image updating/creating across multi-platforms etc. Just not sure if the client/students would see or feel a noticeable performance decrease using a VM'd xp/win7 vs the a normal install? It also would save a huge amount of time when you do your hardware upgrades.


    Thoughts?

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    I can see some problems here, mainly due to AD tie-in such as:


    • Can you sysprep a VM?
    • How do you ensure each VM is unique and tied to AD?
    • What kind of permission level would the VM need to run as on the host PC, and what implications would that have for network security?



    Sorry, I'm having brekfast and still cranky
    It's a good idea, but I suspect that it would end up as just as much work as doing things the normal way.

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    Mcshammer_dj's Avatar
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    So you are suggesting that you run a virtual machine on all workstations, attach the VM to the domain and get users to use the VM not the local machine, with the system configured to start the local machine and then run the local VM at startup?

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    I can see some problems here, mainly due to AD tie-in such as:


    • Can you sysprep a VM?
    • How do you ensure each VM is unique and tied to AD?
    • What kind of permission level would the VM need to run as on the host PC, and what implications would that have for network security?



    Sorry, I'm having brekfast and still cranky
    It's a good idea, but I suspect that it would end up as just as much work as doing things the normal way.
    1. Yep
    2. The same way you do a PC
    3. You run the VM on a server and connect to it from the client.

    Quote Originally Posted by Risser View Post
    Hi Guys,

    I'm trying to remove the hardware from the equation when imaging client PC's; like we do with server VM's these days.

    Has anyone tested the idea of virtualizing client pc's like we do servers? It would save time with image updating/creating across multi-platforms etc. Just not sure if the client/students would see or feel a noticeable performance decrease using a VM'd xp/win7 vs the a normal install? It also would save a huge amount of time when you do your hardware upgrades.


    Thoughts?
    I worked in a bank and insurance company that was in the process of deploy 15,000 of these when i left we had done 25%. They used a mixture of XenDesktop and XenApp. They didnt notice a performance hit. They install Windows ThinPC on all the clients and then used a custom shell so when they login to the host the user is taken to the assigned VM or XenApp session.

    They like it that much they have been given the go ahead to do another 15,000.

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    Abaddon's Avatar
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    This is what we do - XenDesktop using Wyse terminals. No hit on performance really, but the servers are pretty beefy to be fair, so each VM has a good amount of resources allocated to it. It's not cheap I suppose, but solves lots of issues with rolling software out etc (obviously, you only do it once, on a single, base, VM). This way we know that everyone gets a working, clean, desktop everytime they log on.

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    twin--turbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risser View Post
    Hi Guys,

    I'm trying to remove the hardware from the equation when imaging client PC's; like we do with server VM's these days.

    Has anyone tested the idea of virtualizing client pc's like we do servers? It would save time with image updating/creating across multi-platforms etc. Just not sure if the client/students would see or feel a noticeable performance decrease using a VM'd xp/win7 vs the a normal install? It also would save a huge amount of time when you do your hardware upgrades.


    Thoughts?
    Do you mean using the actual PC as a virtual host?

    Rob

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    januttall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twin--turbo View Post
    Do you mean using the actual PC as a virtual host?
    I have wondered if this is at all possible as it would dramatically increase re image times, help with software role out and a whole host of other issues. and you could store the vm's on a server to be copied across if new version's become available. but it would have to integrate better than VMware currently does with USB devices and other hardware etc.

    some kind of hyperviser with a good fount end like a normal desktop vmware. so that it boots up directly into the vm image via the host.
    Last edited by januttall; 6th September 2012 at 09:48 AM.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    I don't see why this wouldn't be possible, however it would, in my view, increase complexity if you're using it on the desktop PCs themselves, rather than a central VDI style system.

    Setting up drivers in an image isn't a complicated process - I set up an image that handled all the different models of machine at the school I just left (around 8 different models), by using custom driver packs and an install script on first boot after imaging. Making a new model compatible means all that we needed to do was install Windows, run a driver ripper and then put the resultant files in a custom driver pack and add it to the image. Took about an hour for the whole process. We did have a couple which were fussy about their VGA drivers, but you can just download and extract most of the graphics drivers from manufacturer sites and put them in a driver pack instead.

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    I would look towards something like VMware View - Xen Desktop etc. VMware view manages all the Sysprep information and you can create extra machines on the fly. You create a "gold Image" and then take a snapshot. This snapshot is then used to create "linked clones" which are essentially a seperate PC. When rolling out a new piece of software. Install on the gold image create a snapshot and then resetup your pool. Users wouldn't notice a thing and updates are applied etc etc. All handled via the VMware View Agent. You can load balance this across multiple hosts and the new features in VMware mean you can essentially run everything using High Availability tricks such as VMotion without the need for a SAN (From version 5.1 which is released in a couple of weeks).

    VMware view is brilliant and I'm currently working on 4 separate projects using it and I love it!

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    We are using a Citrix VDI solutions for our agile working and 2 factor secure login.

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    @Risser:

    Have a look at this: Citrix Systems » VDI-in-a-Box

    Looks very good indeed even for the licensing

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    Quote Originally Posted by bossman View Post
    @Risser:

    Have a look at this: Citrix Systems » VDI-in-a-Box

    Looks very good indeed even for the licensing
    That looks very good!

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