Setting up a low-cost lab management system for a multi-purpose computing laboratory using virtualisation technology

Heng Ngee Mok, Yeow Leong Lee, Wee Kiat Tan


This paper describes how a generic computer laboratory equipped with 52 workstations is set up for teaching IT-related courses and other general purpose usage. The authors have successfully constructed a lab management system based on decentralised, client-side software virtualisation technology using Linux and free software tools from VMware that fulfils the requirements of fast "switch over" time between consecutive lab sessions, the ability to support a wide range of IT courses and usage scenarios, low cost, easy maintenance, and a sandboxed environment for potentially disruptive IT security lab exercises. Sufficient implementation details are provided so that readers can build a similar lab management system. The objective is to share ideas and experiences that may be useful for lab administrators in academic institutions facing the same requirements and budgetary constraints.

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