[K12OSN] teaching kids sys admin with VM's

Les Mikesell les at futuresource.com
Fri Jan 18 22:57:25 UTC 2008

Rob Owens wrote:
>> If I was only going to allow ssh access I would probably use OpenVZ.
> I didn't mean necessarily to only allow ssh.  I just meant that to administer their virtual machine, they would need to connect remotely since they cannot run the virtual machine directly.

You can run NX/freenx over ssh if that's all you want to permit in. 
However I think in the previous post you suggested a separate bridged 
ethernet for each users.  On the host side you can only set up bridging 
to physical interfaces.  If you wanted to be restrictive, though you 
could configure host-only networking with a strictly virtual subnet and 
let the host do routing and firewalling.

>>> I'd also like to recommend you try VirtualBox.  I've been using it on
>>> Debian with great success.  Its interface looks like VMware, but it was
>>> a quicker installation than VMware (last time I tried VMware, anyway).
>>> There is an open source version that is not crippled in any serious way.
>>>   The debian package is virtualbox-ose.
>> I have tried Virtualbox. I really like it (seems lighter than VMware)
>> but I have heard that it does not scale as well when using many
>> virtual machines as vmware. Plus, I'm not sure if it has the remote
>> console that vmware has.
> I've run 4 or 5 virtual machines at once with VirtualBox.  It seemed to do ok, but the machines were not really doing anything (just running idle).  I've booted 2 or 3 at once (Debian Etch text mode) and my dual core AMD 5600 w/ 4 GB ram handled that ok.  I've never tried running any more than 5 simultaneous machines, though.
> What's VMware's remote console, and what do you use it for?  Maybe I could tell you if VirtualBox has something similar.  (or forget about it and just use VMware)

Vmware console is the GUI interface that controls the virtual machines 
and lets you access their consoles.  It is separate and optional, and 
can run on a different machine. If you set up ssh/vnc/xdm/freenx on the 
guest machine you can access directly instead, but the console is needed 
  during installs up to the point where the network is set up. 
Security-wise, you connect the console as a user on the host and you can 
access only the machines where that user has execute permission on the 
virtual guest's *.vmx (description) file.  Multiple (or no) consoles can 
be connected to the same guest and it feels more or less like vnc.  It 
can also do a few tricks like connecting a guest to the CD on the 
machine running the console.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com

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