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.
Thin client user experience
Thin clients are very easy to use:
- Turn thin client on
- Login directly on virtual Windows desktop
- Turn thin client off
- 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)
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.
- 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