EricTrentMiller
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virtualizing 40 users with vmware workstation

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short version

1. Is there a tiny linux distro or another way to run workstation or player without having to boot up a whole cumbersome host OS? I'd like most of the resources to be made available to the GUEST OS in workstation or player, but I can only give it what the host OS isn't using, right?

2. Is it possible using startup scripts or similar to have workstation (or player) run as soon as the host OS boots, and open a certain VM in full screen mode, to make the user experience more like using a non virtualized desktop?

/short version

long version

We need to standardize our users' XP desktops and have decided to do so using virtualization. We aren't really big enough (40 users) to benefit from View, or be able to afford it.

We'd like to use VMWare workstation to create a master VM that we could push out to users instead of having to do a format/reload every time they break a system.

I would however like the user experience to be as transparent as possible to the end users (most of which are COMPLETELY not technical) The idea of "booting to a host XP, opening Workstation (or player), then opening thier "actual" workstation vm is too much for them, really.

Also, I personall don't like the idea of running a full blown OS (XP) to host VMWare Player, to host ANOTHER full blown OS. I'd like to give as much of the system resources to the guest vm.

/long version

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continuum
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1. yes - that is possible.See it in action http://sanbarrow.com/moa24/videos/kiosk/kiosk.html

2. yes - in XP for example you can configure the shell. Change it from explorer.exe to a cmd that starts vmplayer with a specified VM in fullscreenmode




_________________________

VMX-parameters- WS FAQ -[ MOAcd|http://sanbarrow.com/moa241.html] - VMDK-Handbook

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - send a message via skype "sanbarrow"

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logiboy123
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A 40 user seat View implementation is not to small at all. In fact you will get a fantastic user experience and best of all centralized management of your base image. I have several clients with no more then 50 seats and they couldn't be more happier with their implementations and centralized management. The costs at the end of the day work out slightly cheaper for View + HP Thin Clients over fat desktop clients.

The method you are talking about using means you will need to manage 40 different base images. This is a lot of work, so what you save in setup costs you will more then pay for in maintenance work. I would seriously take another look at the cost differences between the two types of solutions.

If you give VMware a call they would be more then happy to come out and discuss the options with you and show you the total cost of ownership around each solution.

Regards,

Paul Kelly

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EricTrentMiller
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the OS settings and applications our users' all use are the same for all 40 users, so we don't need 40 base images...just one. Unless I completely misunderstand how workstation functions, we should be able to make one base vm image of a fully updated XP, with office and our standard desktop apps, and play that on any system that hosts player or workstation, with the only "per system" change being a simple hostname edit.

right?

As much as I personally wish it was, View isn't an option for us, we arent' going to buy ANY new hardware. They won't pay for the servers to host the vms, nor will they let me buy thin clients, not to mention the licensing for view....which is $1500 per 10 users. They want me to re-purpose the existing workstations.

Right now I'm caught in the "format / reload" dark ages, where each busted system takes me all day to get back into service.

So, with View duly noted as the "more appropriate" solution, do you have any feedback on the two main questions in the original post?

Thanks!

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EricTrentMiller
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Paul, I should also mention that those 40 users are spread out across the country, 4 offices, about 10 users per office. If we went with View, I'd obviously have the vCenter here locally at my office...so the remaining 30 users would be accessing their VMs over the VPN. Guessing this wouldn't go well.

If I kept a copy of our "master vm" on a file share in each location, I could RD into any users' system, pull the vm files across the network locally, and fire up thier VM in player...correct?

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continuum
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1. yes - that is possible.See it in action http://sanbarrow.com/moa24/videos/kiosk/kiosk.html

2. yes - in XP for example you can configure the shell. Change it from explorer.exe to a cmd that starts vmplayer with a specified VM in fullscreenmode




_________________________

VMX-parameters- WS FAQ -[ MOAcd|http://sanbarrow.com/moa241.html] - VMDK-Handbook

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - send a message via skype "sanbarrow"

View solution in original post

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EricTrentMiller
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"That's a bingo!"

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logiboy123
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I feel your pain.

I'm thinking a chopped down version of Unbuntu would be a good OS base for VMware Workstation. When I say chopped down I mean doing a normal install but only installing services and components that are absolutely necessary to get VMware Workstation running.

Workstation will only be able to provision resources that haven't been consumed by the underlying OS.

You can build the underlying OS so that it will start up, log in, boot VMware Workstation and launch the base image all automatically and seamlessly so that the user just gets their end desktop. You won't be able to escape a standard startup time relevant to how powerful your underlying hardware is, but you can make the whole process seamless to the end user. It requires a lot of work to get this sort of setup going though.

You are correct in that you will only need one base image, but you will need to upload it to a datastore at each site and then manually configure it on each host workstation.

I would have a folder structure at each remote site with Version Control and Production folders. When I did an image update I would put the old image in the Version Control folder and put the new image into the Production folder. Then I would copy the new prod image to each workstation and modify it. Like I said, this is a labour intensive process, even if you are only using one core image.

Regards,

Paul Kelly

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EricTrentMiller
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is that Linux, or is it on BartPE? How does it do with dual monitors and bluetooth peripherals?

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continuum
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I develop LiveCDs and small USB- or harddisk bootable minisystems with Workstation since 2003

On 32bit hosts BartPE - or better - the MOA port of BartPE I have on my site - outperforms any Linux.

Not by a small amount - but radically.

That may change with a new feature for Linux that works with WS 7 on 64 bit hosts.

But at the moment I offer no solution for WS 7 or 64 bit hosts - simply because WS 7 is not good enough for my taste.

If WS 7ever is back to the standard we are used to with WS 6.5 I will also make a Linux based solutions.

Right now I test with 64bit systems based on Windows 7 and Linux using Workstation 7.

Bluetooth for the VMs ?

same problem as with normal hosts.

Onboard bluetooth usually does not work - USB-to-bluetooth used directly by the VM are ok.

Dualmonitors ?

I have no idea - I do not have Dualmonitors so I can't test




_________________________

VMX-parameters- WS FAQ -[ MOAcd|http://sanbarrow.com/moa241.html] - VMDK-Handbook

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - send a message via skype "sanbarrow"