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use vmware to create virtual classroom

Posted on 2011-03-01
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Hi,
Pretty new to ESXi (or other vmware products).
We're introducing esxi 4.1 in our network.  We have a need to create classroom labs of 20-25 computers for training purposes.  These computers will be in use for a couple of months then need to be wiped clean and setup for the next training group.    What all do I need with vmware to set that up with the esxi that i currently have.    (I'm assuming some of it might be a paid addon).
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Question by:seven45
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by:mccracky
ID: 35011456
Well, you won't need to "wipe them clean" to start over, for one.  You will just need to create a clean snapshot at the beginning and then revert back to that snapshot for the beginning of the next class.

You will want to set up a clean template for the computer and then create 20-25 virtual machines from the template.  You will need a thin box (linux?) at each "desk" to use RDP or other way to connect remotely to the virtual machine and use it.
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chkdsk01 earned 500 total points
ID: 35012007
You should look into VMware view.  It is a virtual desktop platform that is meant for just what you are after, although there is a cost associated with it.

What mccracky mentioned is a good solution too.  Just set the disks to independant and they will revert back to their original config after every reboot.  The difference between View and what mccracky suggested is that instead of having 25 VMs that a user must rdp into, you essentiall have one VM.  Then when a user sits down at a "dumb terminal" they get a version of this VM.  Just a suggestion.
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by:seven45
ID: 35012110
Thanks to both of you for your suggestions.   They both help. I have a question regarding the VMware View.  If we're creating one VM.  Does that mean that we have to associate 20GB of RAM to it?  vs having 20 VM's with 1 gb ram each as McCracky suggested?  
Also, do you have a ball park idea of the cost associated with View?  and will it work with esxi?
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Assisted Solution

by:mccracky
mccracky earned 500 total points
ID: 35012500
The other thing you want to think of is that you still need thin clients or semi-dumb terminals to use to access the VMs.  You might look into setting up a simple linux box at each seat and running VMWare or virtualbox or... and having the VM local to each machine.

The difference is that you don't need as hefty a server to run the VMs in.  You still get the ability to revert back to snapshots for clean restarts.  But you do now have 20-25 installations/computers to keep up to date (though it may not be much different than what you might have with semi-dumb terminals.
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