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QCEC2009 Virtual IT Teaching Laboratory
QCEC2009 Virtual IT Teaching Laboratory
QCEC2009 Virtual IT Teaching Laboratory
QCEC2009 Virtual IT Teaching Laboratory
QCEC2009 Virtual IT Teaching Laboratory
QCEC2009 Virtual IT Teaching Laboratory
QCEC2009 Virtual IT Teaching Laboratory
QCEC2009 Virtual IT Teaching Laboratory
QCEC2009 Virtual IT Teaching Laboratory
QCEC2009 Virtual IT Teaching Laboratory
QCEC2009 Virtual IT Teaching Laboratory
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QCEC2009 Virtual IT Teaching Laboratory

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A description of the Virtual IT Teaching Laboratory in use by the School of IT at Bond University. A talk at the Queensland Computing Education Conventicle 2009.

A description of the Virtual IT Teaching Laboratory in use by the School of IT at Bond University. A talk at the Queensland Computing Education Conventicle 2009.

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  • Currently we keep student machines in an archive for a couple of years as required by our assessment rules. So far no student has asked for a copy of their VM image but this is possible even though the images are several GB.
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  • Nice to see Linux in the mix.
    I wonder if students can download their VM to keep their completed work for future reference etc?
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  • 1. Teaching IT Subjects with Real-World Software Virtual IT Teaching Laboratory Michael Rees School of Information Technology Bond University mrees@bond.edu.au
  • 2. Overview • Problem with practical assessments – Software scope – Dedicated teaching labs • Solution: use virtual teaching lab • Pilot semester • VITTL: Virtual IT Teaching Lab – Operation to date – Extensions • Lessons learned and way ahead © 2009 Michael Rees Queensland Computer Education Conventicle 2009 2
  • 3. The Problem • Make industrial-class software available for student practical assignments: – Licensing usually not a problem – Hardware/network support is a problem • Physical teaching labs: – Dedicated machine for one software package expensive – Shared installs are complex with interference problems – Students need extensive access to labs outside class – No administrator access – No permanent settings © 2009 Michael Rees Queensland Computing Education Conventicle 2009 3
  • 4. The Solution – Virtual Labs VMware Solution © 2009 Michael Rees Queensland Computing Education Conventicle 2009 4
  • 5. Virtual Center • VITTL administrator controls all aspects of the virtual laboratory: – start/stop virtual machines and change the capacity of virtual devices – instantiate new virtual machines, make clones and delete existing ones – monitor the performance of each virtual machine and the overall loads on VITTL1 and 2 – trigger the migration (VMotion) of a virtual machine between VITTL 1 and 2 © 2009 Michael Rees Queensland Computer Education Conventicle 2009 5
  • 6. Virtual Machine Images • Students allocated one or more virtual machines per subject with virtual networks where needed • Virtual machine images: – Built by lecturer to exact requirements: • Base OS: students install and manage software • OS with required software installed – Internet access for download/install – 24/7 access from any on-campus machine and via Internet using Citrix server – Allow students administrator access (if needed) – Constant running for server work and compute- intensive apps – Broken VMs replaced by clones in minutes © 2009 Michael Rees Queensland Computing Education Conventicle 2009 6
  • 7. VM Access • Any on-campus machine • Internet machine via Citrix © 2009 Michael Rees Queensland Computing Education Conventicle 2009 7
  • 8. VITTL Experience To Date • Pilot semester 082 (2 dedicated servers): – Web apps 20 x Winserver 2003 – Computational Finance 6 x Windows XP • Full production: – Used by 9 advanced IT subjects over semesters 083, 091 and 092 – Web apps, middleware, ecommerce, BI, databases, mo dular programming – 50 to 100 VMs per semester – Mix of Windows XP, Vista, Server 2003 and Ubuntu © 2009 Michael Rees Queensland Computer Education Conventicle 2009 8
  • 9. Discoveries • Portability: students can demo problems/assignments on instructor machines in lecture rooms, labs and staff offices • VITTL servers able to support more VMs than planned • VITTL server main memory the limiting factor • Take great care when showing students network adapter and firewall configurations • Compute-intensive VMs run slower than expected • Port access and virtual networks need careful planning • Student acceptance very high • Some IT students surprisingly lack machine admin skills © 2009 Michael Rees Queensland Computing Education Conventicle 2009 9
  • 10. Way Ahead for VITTL • Extensions: – Automated VM cloning and deployment – Single sign-on accounts – Central VM connect for students • Handover to central technical support: – Develop model VM create/clone/deploy/monitor/teardown cycle – Archive and backup policy © 2009 Michael Rees Queensland Computing Education Conventicle 2009 10
  • 11. Resources • Talk links at: – http://dotdolfin.com/talks/#qcec2009 • Virtual IT Teaching Lab site: – http://vittlproject.pbworks.com © 2009 Michael Rees Queensland Computer Education Conventicle 2009 11

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