An Open Source VDI management solution to allow running virtual desktops in a RHEV/Ovirt environment seamlessly
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README.rst

Virtesk-VDI

https://api.travis-ci.org/adfinis-sygroup/virtesk.svg?branch=master

Virtesk-VDI is an Open Source VDI solution. It allows to run virtual desktops in a RHEV/Ovirt environment seamlessly. The virtual desktops are displayed on thin clients in physical rooms. You can manage both the virtual desktops and the physical thin clients efficiently using the well-aligned tool collection.

It is well-suited to virtualize workplaces in educational environments.

The technical building blocks are:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) / Ovirt Virtualization
  • Spice VDI protocol
  • RHEL / CentOS for infrastructure services
  • Fedora Linux for thin clients
  • Active Directory (or Samba4) for Windows domain services
  • Windows VDI desktops

Documentation is available here.

Features

Thin client user experience

Thin clients are very easy to use:

  1. Turn thin client on
  2. Login directly on virtual Windows desktop
  3. Work
  4. Turn thin client off

Features:

  • Virtual Windows desktop - feels like a native Windows desktop
  • USB redirect
  • Audio: headphones, loudspeakers, microphones
  • One single login - no need to enter credentials twice
  • Comfortable thin client devices - small and silent

Thin client administration

Virtesk-VDI features a fully automated network rollout of thin clients.

The following remote administration features for thin clients are available:

  • Remote control / remote scripting (Tool tc_ssh)
  • Screenshots (Tool tc_screenshot)
  • Unattended Upgrades / Re-Installations (Tool tc_rollout_kexec)

Virtual Rooms

Virtesk-VDI features virtual Windows desktops organized in virtual rooms.

Virtual rooms are useful for educational institutions - physical rooms are mapped to virtual rooms. This is useful when combined with 3rd party classroom management and monitoring software like iTalc, UCS@School, MasterEye, ...

Instant switching of virtual rooms is possible. For example, one set of VMs can be used for normal teaching, and a dedicated set of secure VMs can be assigned for exams.

The 1:1-mapping from thin clients to desktop VMs is controlled through a postgres database.

Application and desktop maintenance

A master VM (the "gold image") is used for application installation and desktop configuration. This master VM can then be cloned as often as necessary.

A set of tools (virtesk-virtroom-rollout and friends) helps to simplify and automate the necessary tasks. Scripting and automation features like automatic Windows domain join are available.

Nightly desktop reset

For situations where clearly-defined centrally managed workplaces are desired, the nightly desktop reset feature comes in handy:

  • A snapshot is created upon VM creation
  • Every night, the VMs is set back to snapshot state

This is useful to reduce time and effort spent by your IT support team: Desktops are always in a well defined state, divergence of desktops is avoided, and leftovers from old user sessions are cleaned up.

Requirements

  • Virtualization hardware (~ 4GB Ram per workplace), shared storage attached through iscsi or FibreChannel
  • RHEV/oVirt 3.5.x
  • Active Directory (or Samba 4) for Windows domain features
  • A supported OS for virtual Desktops ( stable: Windows 7; Windows 10 support is underway)
  • Thin clients: Any linux compatible (x86 or x86_64, must be supported by Fedora Linux) hardware can be used. Usually, small, silent and low power thin client devices are used; However, it is also possible to re-use old desktop computers as thin clients
  • Infrastructure server VM (part of Virtesk-VDI)

Bird's eye view of operation / installation

The steps to introduce Virtesk-VDI are more or less:

  • Preparing RHEV/Ovirt for VDI operation
  • Thin clients: Seting up Virtesk-VDI infrastructure services, including a Fedora Linux mirror, a network rollout infrastructure, scripts for unattended Fedora installations based on Kickstart, and a postgres database for VM-to-thin-client-mapping.
  • Installing virtesk-tc-tools for thin client remote management
  • Installing a Windows 7 master VM ("gold image")
  • Setting up the Windows unattended setup process for VM creation and for automatic Windows domain join
  • Setting up virtesk-virtroom-tools for virtual room management
  • Creating a network concept, including naming standards and ip-address conventions