Presentation on theme: "Michael Fudge Remote Lab: Providing Access to Your Lab Facilities Virtually Sr. Systems & IT Support Administrator, Adjunct Professor Syracuse University."— Presentation transcript:
Michael Fudge Remote Lab: Providing Access to Your Lab Facilities Virtually Sr. Systems & IT Support Administrator, Adjunct Professor Syracuse University iSchool
Start Michael Fudge
iSchool? Alumni 728 Graduates 585 Undergrads 50 Faculty 44 Staff 9 Certificate programs 3 Graduate programs 2 Doctoral programs 1 School of Information Studies People Tech.Info.
Our Labs – Specifications Dell OptiPlex 790 Small Form Factor Intel Core i Ghz 8 GB RAM 128 GB SSD Dual Monitors Windows 7 x64 Gobs of software Image Size 53GB
Our Labs – Configuration Imaged with Ghost over LAN Locked down with Deepfreeze Faronics Insight to control classroom activity Least privilege – no admin access. Roaming User Profiles Redirected My Documents.
The iSchool Facilities Crunch # of Class Sections Taught in Lab Key Trends From 2010 to 2012: 11 more classes use labs facilities 24% Increase 33 less hours per week of open lab 90% Booked
Student Hears:Instructor Hears: Our Problem: Overcommitted Lab Resources “Complete this work outside of class...” “…the labs are full.”
But enough of our problems!
Why does your organization maintain computer labs? https://chronicle.com/article/Computer-Labs-Get-Rebooted-as/49323/
Why We Still Maintain Labs:
Problem Traditional Lab Facilities Require Space Time- Bound Need Staffing Costly to Operate
The Question Becomes: How do I provide access to lab facilities without a physical space to house them?
Remote Lab, FTW! Access our “Lab Computers” anytime from anywhere Does not need to be staffed. Does not occupy a room. Same experience for all. No costly desks or furniture. No need to worry about theft …Or people spilling drinks.
The idea is simple: 1. Dedicate bank of lab computers (BOLC) to the task 2. Allow users to connect with Windows Remote desktop (RDP) 3. ?????? 4. PROFIT!!!
Why Windows Remote Desktop? No Additional Software is required on the lab computer. Compatible with a variety of client operating systems. Inexpensive. Less confusing than alternatives.
Demo. Remote Lab In Action
Remote Lab Design Technical Information Ahead
Components of Remote Lab Bank of Lab Computers (BOLC) Web Front-End BOLC Status Tracker Database
BOLC- Old School Stack a bunch of PC’s up somewhere. Allow remote desktop to your users. You can use older computers. A great Start. To scale, you’ll want to virtualize…
Our BOLC – Current Setup 6 Dell 2950 IIIs (Xeon Quad Core, 32GB RAM) EMC AX4-5 iSCSI SAN (16TB) 2 SP’s 1GB NIC for iSCSI 1GB NIC for Network Set-up on the cheap, as proof of concept. Been running since last summer
Our BOLC – Software VMware ESXi 4 Hypervisor 6 ESXi Hosts 4 VM’s per server, 1 CPU, 4GB RAM ea. Each VM Runs on a unique LUN/Storage Processor combo. Takes 2-3 Hrs. to Ghost 1 Host.
Web Front End How users find available lab computers. Users are authenticated via normal channels. A web page displays which “nodes” are available in the BOLC. When a user clicks on an available node, a customized.RDP file is sent to the client.
BOLC status tracker database A Simple 1 Table Database. Database tracks which nodes in the BOLC are “available” and which are “occupied” Events fire at logon / logoff / startup / shutdown and record node status to the database. Same database is used by the web front-end for UI Display.
Group Policy Tweaks Special computer and user settings are required for this unique environment Don’t allow users to kick each other off. Auto log-off at 120 minutes of idle time. Prevents hogging of sessions. Run scripts at startup / shutdown / logon / logoff to update the tracker database.
Challenges Squatters. Try to stay on forever. Re-connectors. Use the same downloaded RDP file. Direct-connectors. Bypass the web UI and RDP directly into a machine. Working on solutions to these problems.
Download it here Web front source code, the computer status tracker scripts, GPO settings.
Timeline Summer 2011 Fall 2011 Spring 2012 Fall 2012 Summer 2012 Initial design and prototype Silent Beta Public advertised beta Rebuild from lessons learned First semester of launch
Public Beta – Monthly Logins
Public Beta – Logins By Hour
Other Realized Benefits Eases the lab crunch Students don’t need to install software Less student support calls / tickets. License control Distance education friendly!
For Starting Your Own Initiative Pro-Tips
Start Small Simplify Buy-In Monitor Work from a proof of concept. No need to invest heavily to start. Find a faculty / course which can benefit. Get them on-board. Does your Remote Lab require the same apps as your Lab? Track usage. Get feedback and opinions from users.
Try It Yourself Download SURA / Mac VPN from https://software.ischool.syr.edu/downloads Sign in with g-ist-labman / 0sw3go315 Run SURA / Mac VPN Sign in with same Step 2 Credentials Access Remote lab. https://my.ischool.syr.edu