VMWare View as a Solution for a Classroom

Currently we use VMWare Ace to package and deploy images to our student computers which then require additional configuration as SysPrep runs. We then snapshot that state so that it can be returned to. But….

  • VMWare Ace has been discontinued

  • It has always been buggy causing additional problems and has started to die on us

Our needs are as follows:

  • Be able to run three different operating systems (XP, Vista, Win7) Soon adding Win 8
  • Run off a standardized image for each VM, which is cloned/copied out to each computer
    • Needs to comply with all licensing functions for Windows Software

    • Would be awesome if this process was relatively quick so we can re-do it every 3-6 months

  • Be able to return the student machines to their pre-class state on-demand
    • This would need to account for things like students installing software during class

  • Nothing related to the Virtual Machines should be visible while a student is in class, keyboard shortcuts or remote tools should be used for resetting the machines.
  • We have a windows domain system, but we do not need it for any of our teaching.
  • It would be awesome if this didn't cost us $20k to put in. We have a total of 16 student machines at the moment and I don't see that increasing above 30 anytime soon. I realize we will need a new server and licences, how beefy would the server(s) need to be?
  • Specific to VMWare View, can we run PhotoShop properly, that would be our most demanding system.

Thoughts? Comments? Should I head in a different direction?

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3 Replies

You can use it in a classroom.  You would want to use Linked Clones.  It will work the best.  We use it at a University in our labs.  We thinapp software that is needed.

Photoshop will work, you might need to lock in the PCOIP and enable 3D support in View to give the graphics card more memory.

20k might be a little tight.  You are going to want at least 2 host servers with 128gig of ram each.  You are also going to want to use Fiber storage with minimum SAS drives. 

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If you can forgoe all redundancy needs in the environment (IE its one big single point of failure) then I think you could get away with VMware View running a single server and local disks (SSD) for well under 20k and it'd be able to host 16 users.  I built my home lab like this for 5k and it'd be able to serve that many users.

I hate to say this on a VMware Forum but have you looked at "competing products".  This just seems like a good use case for VDI-in-a-box from Citrix.


Gunnar Berger

Agree 20K would be tight but possible with just local storage.   We use View and Linked Clones to server up differnet images depending on the class or lab requirements. Depending on the students rights they see ( or don't see) different pools for which they are member of Active Directory Groups. 

We have some lab pools where a student can logon for a day and use as required.  Then at night we use powershell with the View Snap In to refresh the desktop pool which put the desktops in that pool back to the same state (we don't do this put you could do this once a week if you wanted instead of every day) and it takes less than 1 min to complete.  Others are refreshed as the student logoff so it is the same everytime they logon.

We have SA on our MS licenses so most of the license issue are mute, except when you have thin clients without a vaild OS.

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