Virtual labs are centralized IT infrastructure that multiple users have access to in a policy driven self service manner. Typical use cases of these labs include software dev/test labs, software training labs and pre-sales/customer demo labs. Usually in these cases, users access the lab over a LAN environment (from within the corporate network) – but as the labs are used more extensively in the organization, users find the need to access the lab from outside the corporate network – i.e., over a WAN. For example, in demo and training lab environments a pre-sales engineer accesses the lab setup from outside the corporate network OR students access the training lab from outside the corporate network.
The challenge: When users access the lab over a WAN (from outside a secure corporate network), typically they are expected to install and configure a VPN (Virtual Private Network) client. This might be a difficult task, especially if the lab is a training setup and the external users are students trying to connect to the lab VM (Virtual Machine) to get their work done.
The Solution and Its Benefits: VMLogix LabManager can be configured to allow remote external users to access VM consoles over the WAN through the web browser without the need for a VPN client setup done explicitly (Clarification made on June 2, 2009: Customers usually have a SSL gateway type device to handle the security over the WAN. This integration capability in LabManager does not guarantee the security over the WAN. Instead, when configured in LabManager it allows external end users to access the individual VM consoles in the end user’s web browser directly). The benefit of this solution is that the end user (e.g., the student) does not need to delve into setting up and configuring the VPN client. For the end user, things just work – transparently!
In our experience in head to head evaluations with VMware Lab Manager, we have found multiple customers who have found the above as a significant benefit that is offered by the VMLogix solution (clarification note added on June 2, 2009 – configuring a ultra-VNC repeater module to work with VMLogix LabManager is easy). Naturally, they chose us as the platform for their virtual labs.
Here is a diagrammatic representation of the discussion above.
– Srihari Palangala