VMware Horizon Community
Bodihi48
Contributor
Contributor

VDI solution or suggestions for lab infrastructure

Hello,

   Just recently took a job at a University where I will be over seeing (supporting) all the student labs. Currently there are about 375+ thick clients that run Windows XP (stop lauging). The current process is a little archiac. They use BartPE which then boots into Symantec GHOST to re-image the workstations. Microsoft GPO is used to push software updates out at the moment.

I would like to put together a TCO to see if VMware View could be a solution, but I have been reading about the new release of 'Mirage' - which sounds very interesting as it takes into account both virtual and physical platforms.

Just want to see if there is anyone else there that run similar solutions and if it is worth travelling down the VDI path without of course breaking the bank or budget. Ideally if something can be successfully planned we could think about rolling it out to the school's admin staff - which would be the ideal goal.

Thanx

Bodhi

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12 Replies
mittim12
Immortal
Immortal

Welcome to the forums.  I see this post is a couple of days old but you haven't received any responses.   Hopefully, someone will see it and give you some feedback but if not consider reaching out to a local VMware account rep to see if they can put you in touch with customers that have already implemented what you are looking to do.  

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vedeht
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

I would highly suggest VMware View as the solution you want.  Mirage is a nice tool for people who have no choice but to manage physical workstations and virtual desktops.  If you want to do a TCO for your solution I would be happy to do one for you.  Can you send me a private message with your contact info so I can get some clarifying information.

By the way, check our our VMware View demo www.virtualdojo.com

Instant VDI access just by filling out the form.

Try our VMWare View Demo on www.virtualdojo.com
RWalterCC
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hey Bodhi,

Mirage could be used, as you said, to manage booth, physical and virtual Workstation. IMHO the focus is still on the physical ones, because of the possibility for Migration from WinXP to Win7 inPlace (maybe that will help you with your WinXP Enviroment in... the near future ^^) or the excellent disaster recovery for lost or damaged Endpoints.

in such a scenario you could easily transfer the user data (including Software etc.) to a virtual enviroment.

But back to your "rchaic process":

What could you do with mirage there?

First there is a Whitepaper / Guide to develop a WinPE with the Mirage Agent on it. This WinPe could be used to boot from an usb device an connect the endpoint (Thick Client) to the Mirage network.

As soon as it is connected you can assign a "Core Image" to that endpoint. This is similar to the ghost image but even offers more than an ordinary imaging. for example you could create one Image containing all your software. addional to that you could create a driver library for each type of your endpoints (different HW vendors etc.) so you just have to maintain one image (hoepfully^^)

so as soon as you assign a Core Image to the endpoint you could also assign a drivers library and it will be "merged" together. The Agent will transfer the data to the endpoint and do all the stuff like domainjoin etc.

On top of that you'll able to assign already collected /centralized (serverbased) userdata to that endpoint. so a user could login as soon as the core image is deployed. it is really working very well, i saw it in a project we did with that software.

If have any furhter questions feel free to ask, i'll try my best...

Greetings

blakebevard
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

That sounds exactly like what was used when I was working in the computer labs at Clemson as a student.  It was quite eerie at 2am when 100+ machines in the lab would all reboot at once and pop up the ghost logo.  Ahh the memories....

It sounds like View would be an excellent solution for your situation.  You could set up the clients using something like X2 to boot and then have them go straight into the View environment using floating pools.  No more reimaging machines on a nightly basis.  Just have them set to refresh the machine on logout and you would always be up to date on updates. 

IMO opinion, a lab environment or a call center is where View shines the brightest.  You have a homogenous environment where everything is set up exactly the same and everyone has the same requirements.  I also agree with the above posts.  Check with your local VMware rep and they can help you out with the TCO and show you where you will be able to recognize your savings.  Depending on how often you replace your lab equipment (for us it was every 2 years), you should be able to recognize an ROI in cost quite quickly and from management almost immediately.

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DavidPatrick
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hi Bodhi

I work at an Educational Institute managing around 32 computer rooms located in at one college and one campus.

We are currently running VMware View 5.1.1 with 14 Pools and a total of 350 virtual machines to a number of different teaching sections. e.g. Electrical engineering, CISCO Academy, Accounting etc.

Back in 2009 the college became a VMware IT Academy and we decided to look into VDI and run a pilot with View 3.

After a semester evaluating we decided to implement a small production environment with View 4.0 and as I mentioned we are now running View 5.1.1.

We deliver desktop services to physical computers, repurposed computers (6 Computer rooms), Zero clients (3 Computer rooms) and portable devices laptops.

Advantages in an educational environment:

- Delivering desktop services to portable devices (students own laptops) this is the Institute future planning BYO devices.

- Delivering new applications over night either by updating the golden image or using the Thinapp solution.

  In the past we would normally plan our software upgrades at the holiday break so not to impact classroom deliveries.

- Classroom utilisation, we have challenges with most of our classrooms with low utilisation usage per week and specialised applications

  available in only in one or two rooms. With the introduction of VDI we were able to close a number of rooms and provide better services to all

  classrooms throughout the college.

- Management & support savings

- Power and Green savings “using the Zero client”

I have provided some pictures of our new open access lab using Leadtek Zero Client.

IMG_1765.jpg

IMG_1771.jpg

IMG_1773.jpg

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totim
Contributor
Contributor

Hi DavidPatrick,

We pretty much have the same scenario in regards to how we are delivering our desktops we have physical systems, re-purposed systems running ThinPC and some Zero Clients.

We are running Thin PC (base) on our re-purposed systems with VMware View 5 and have it set to use the current user creds so all the user has to do is select the VM (LibraryLab). The problem is when a user logs off they have to log off the vm-librarylab then again from the Thin PC - base. We are looking for a way to automate the whole process for single logon/logoff....users are walking away when they are still logged into the base not realizing they have to log off again. We have found documentation online including VMware white paper (attached below) on this topic but have had no luck getting it to actually work as we are not that familiar with vbscript.

My question to you is have you run into this issue with your re-purposed systems?

Any help would be appreciated.

Mary

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DavidPatrick
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hi Mary

Our re-purposed computers are running a very light release of Windows 7 x86 with only the VMware View client installed.

We are running Thin PC (base) on our re-purposed systems with VMware View 5 and have it set to use the current user creds so all the user has to do is select the VM (LibraryLab). The problem is when a user logs off they have to log off the vm-librarylab then again from the Thin PC - base. We are looking for a way to automate the whole process for single logon/logoff....users are walking away when they are still logged into the base not realizing they have to log off again. We have found documentation online including VMware white paper (attached below) on this topic but have had no luck getting it to actually work as we are not that familiar with vbscript.

My question to you is have you run into this issue with your re-purposed systems?

Short answer is no, our students log into the physical PC using their domain account and then access View client which by default the "Log in as current user" is selected "Default Profile".

Logging off the PC, I will do some testing and let you know the outcome, it would be good to have the logoff automated.

view.jpg

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totim
Contributor
Contributor

Hi David,

Thanks for the quick response, we actually found someone to write code for this.

Mary

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bjohn
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

So what exactly does the script do? Can you share?

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DavidPatrick
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

So what exactly does the script do? Can you share?

To automate the login and logoff process to VDI Pools on repurposed computers.

Have look here, heaps of advice on config and scripts http://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/desktop/view/pcrepurposing

More details and great post by ForgeFlakshack http://communities.vmware.com/message/2140858#2140858

We are currently running 8 repurposed classrooms in this format, works great.

cheers

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Bodihi48
Contributor
Contributor

David,

   When you speak of "repurposed" desktops do you just install a very clean OS (i.e. Windows XP) then only install the View client?

-Brandon

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DavidPatrick
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Brandon, Basically install Windows 7 x86 + Forefront (Antivirus) + View Client and then connected to the domain. That's it!

We then follow the instructions in the "PC Re-purposing with VMware View Client for Windows" document and changing the default shell with the view client and automate the login and logoff process.

We have been running 8 classrooms in this format for nearly one semester and in the past the login and logoff process was slow and tedious, especially in a clasroom environment.

Cheers

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