From the desk of: Sam C. Chan

Bravo SoftBlade Server - Notes for DiFA

September 9, 2009

Conceptual Points

  • The Host PC (physical) is a normal computer running
    • Bravo PMS 6.0 x64, based on
    • a customized Operating System XP Professional x64 Edition, and
    • a special system application: VirtualPC 2007 x64
  • The Guest PC is an imaginary "computer", simulated by software
    • which exists only in the virtual world, and
    • can be turned on/off, crashed, restarted, etc.
    • interact with other computers (including SBS Server) on the network
    • can be made remotely accessible
    • basically functions just like a real PC
  • SoftBlade Server hardware:
    • the Core 2 Quad processor is essentially 4 independent CPUs in a chip
    • with a pool of 4G ~ 16G memory, dynamically allocated and shared by VPCs
    • with 500G ~ 2T hard drive space
  • SoftBlade Server is "headless" (without console)
    • administered via remote desktop connection only
    • similar to SWX, the Linux Gateway Server (via web interface)
    • generally very minimal admin tasks required
    • headless recovery is possible with special SoftBlade Custom Restore disc

Procedures for DiFA

  • After boot of SoftBlade server
    • must login as DIFA to auto-launch VPC2007
    • verify the suspended VPCs are automatically resumed
    • manually start/stop VPCs as needed
    • optionally, test access to VPCs via RDP
  • always disconnect RDP session to prevent inadvertent interference
  • do not logoff/shutdown; after admin tasks completed
  • notify all active VPC users, prior to shutdown/restart
  • VirtualPC Console
    • practice steps to: start/monitor/interact with/stop VPCs
    • with a crashed VPC, close session window for option to "Turn Off"
    • minimize VPC Console, to suppress thumbnail generation
    • minimize all launched VPC sessions, so stop rendering VPC console video
    • do not tamper with program options and individual VPC settings

Keep host PC clean and isolated

  • tasks on host PC will adversely affect guest PCs performance and stability
  • do not run anything from the host PC
  • certainly do not use Internet from host PC!
  • absolutely NEVER install anything, NO NO NO
  • never attempt to "update" the host PC, which has been careful stripped down, locked down, customized and frozen. Any automatic update will render it default settings.

VPC Usage Concerns

  • train and remind users to always logoff after use
  • forgetting to logoff means others cannot use the shared machine
  • Portals can be created to facilitate file transfer between personal workstation and VPC
  • Data Backup, etc.
    • standard organization & file management principles apply, just like on a real PC
    • in general all non-transient data files should be kept in appropriate server locations, not locally
    • if backup is required, notify me and make arrangement


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