Best practices for preparing student VMs

This article contains tips and best practices for student VMs that will be saved as templates and used in classes.

  • Adjust VM CPU and RAM settings

    Make sure each VM has enough CPU and RAM to meet the minimum system requirements for the operating system and applications installed on it. As with physical machines, VMs perform poorly if they don’t have enough resources; under-allocated VMs could result in slow performance or stuck VMs.

  • Check network connectivity

    Verify that each VM has the network connectivity needed.

    For example, if lab end users need to access resources on the public Internet, verify that outbound internet access is enabled. Or, if VMs need to communicate within the environment, make sure they can ping one another.

  • Adjust VM operating system settings

    Sign in to each VM and adjust the operating system settings, as needed:

    • Confirm that the operating system keyboard language settings match the lab end user’s physical keyboard and the VM keyboard language settings.
    • Disable the screensaver, or set the screensaver to a static image or solid color. If the Secure Remote Access (SRA) browser client is left open on an idle tab, screensavers with moving or changing images can unnecessarily consume bandwidth.
    • Confirm that the VM doesn’t have any unwanted automatic sleep, hibernate, or shut down settings. Skytap honors the guest operating system settings, and will suspend the VM if it enters “sleep mode.” Similarly, Skytap powers off or shuts down the VM if the operating system hibernates or shuts down.
    • Use 16-bit display settings (instead of 32-bit display settings). This will also reduce the amount of bandwidth consumed during the browser client session.
  • Add VM credentials

    Include any user names and passwords that the lab end user needs on the VM Credentials pages. This allows lab end users to access the credentials while using their labs.

    For instructions, see Storing VM credentials.

    If you’re storing VM credentials, verify that the credentials work as expected within the VM. For example, open the browser client and attempt to sign in to the VM by inserting the VM credentials.

  • Consider file sharing requirements

    If lab end users need access to learning materials while using their labs, make sure those materials are accessible from the VM.