Mapping: Virtual Machine (VDI)

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This page contains documentation for product not actively maintained.

See documentation for the latest products:

Please Note: Userful™ v9.7 is the last tested version that supports VDI. It is highly recommended to test your use case before using it in a production system. You can download Userful™ v9.7 from the given link

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(Updated 2018.08.29)

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Userful's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution is a feature that makes it possible to map full-screen Virtual Desktop sessions to displays. "Mapping" lets a system administrator configure what type of Virtual Desktop session to launch on each display. With a "mapped" session, end users no longer need to login to the native linux desktop to start the virtual desktop session. Once the system administrator has mapped a Virtual Machine (VM) session to a display, a "clone" of the master VM will automatically launch as a full-screen session on that display.

A key advantage of Userful is that cloning is automatic and quick; clones are copied from "known good" virtual machine master images known as golden masters.

This document includes information about the Virtual Machine source. For more information about Virtual Machines, visit Getting Started with Virtual Machines

Mapping: Creating a Virtual Machine Source

Creating Virtual Machine source

Mapping allows you to bind a specific display and video wall to a Virtual Machine source. To create this source:

  1. Click on Mapping > New Source button. From the drop-down select "Virtual Machines" as the desired source and give a name.
  2. Choose Master VM from the drop down menu.
    • Master VMs must be configured through "Virtual Machines" tab; in order to appear in this list. Please see Creating a VM Master Image page for more details.
    • When displays are mapped to this session, "clones" of the Master VM will be created automatically.
  3. Choose the Audio Controller from the drop-down list based upon the Guest OS
  4. Choose the CPU Cores from the drop-down
  5. Choose the RAM
  6. Choose whether the clone(s) should be writable or locked by either clicking the radio button next to "Retain VDI changes" or "Discard VDI changes", respectively.
    • Retain VDI changes across sessions (unlocked): Clones do not revert back to the previous state when they are rebooted. In other words, changes to the cloned images persist across reboots.
    • Discard VDI changes after each session (locked): Clones automatically revert to the Master VM state (when the clone was last created or last re-synchronized or when the Master VM (or the host) is rebooted. This option is ideal for kiosk mode.

Map Displays to Virtual Machine Source

Once source is created, display and video wall can be "mapped" or assigned to the source by simply dragging-and-dropping the display and video wall icons.

To change the source configuration (e.g., to enable Auto-Reset state) click on the source name to open the "Edit Source" window and make the changes.

Note: Changes will not take effect until the "Apply" button is clicked.

Re-synchronizing Virtual Machine Clones

When a Master VM is mapped to displays, a "clone" is created for each mapped display. The original golden master VM can be viewed and managed within the Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager. To launch Master VM image:

  1. Set the password of the "userful-vdiuser" user account. This is the user account who owns the VM.
    • Open terminal and type the following command to set the password:
    $ sudo passwd userful-vdiuser 
    • Enter the new password twice and press "Enter"
  2. Once completed, login to Linux Desktop as "userful-vdiuser"
  3. Launch Applications > System Tools > Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager
  4. Virtual Box Master VM.png

To adjust the master image settings, simply highlight the image in the list, then click on "Settings". Changes within a virtualized operating system (for example, installing new applications) are made by highlighting the master image, then click on "Start". The guest OS will boot inside a VM window; make any change necessary then shut down the VM.

The image to the right is an example of how Master VM appear in the VirtualBox Manager window.

Resync Clone.png

Note: The changes made to the master VM image will not automatically propagate to the clones of that image.

If you have changed a master VM and you wish to apply those changes to all the clones (i.e., to all displays that have been mapped to run a VM based off that master image), Click Resyn Clone button under Control Center > VMs. The clones will be re-created automatically. Similarly, if you have changed the RAM/Core settings of an existing VM under "Edit Source" window, the changes will not take effect until the Guest OS does a full shutdown.

Please Note: The integrity of cloned images cannot be guaranteed. It is recommended that a full conventional backup solution be implemented to guard against catastrophic file loss in the event a snapshot is corrupted or lost.

Scaling Guide

Userful™ v 9.7 is the latest tested version with Virtual Machines (VDI) source.

Virtual Machines (VDI)
Use Case Max. Recommended Stand-Alone Displays
Low Usage
  • Single application per display
  • Low-bandwidth web usage
High Usage
  • Several applications per display
  • High-bandwidth web usage
    (YouTube videos)
Video Wall Configuration
  • Maximum recommended video wall size playing Virtual Machines (VDI) source is 2x2, and
  • Maximum recommended number of simultaneous Virtual Machines (VDI) sources are 7.

Please Note: Audio is not supported with Virtual Machine (VDI) source.

Licensing is Your Responsibility

Please Note: You are responsible for complying with all operating system and application vendors’ license agreements when you clone a virtual machine or make it available for multiple users.

Supporting last tested VDI supported version

An active Support and maintenance contract entitles customers to receive support both for select older versions, as well as to access and install current versions of the Userful software.

Since Userful v.9.8 Userful no longer bundles the free VirtualBox hypervisor as part of default Userful install. This change was made based largely on customer feedback about inconsistencies in performance attributable to different versions of VirtualBox and different virtual machine configuration settings.

From v9.8 onwards customers who need to access Windows desktops, Userful strongly recommends running Windows servers separately and using the RDP Client source to show and interact with it via Userful displays. Alternatively, for customers who are mostly accessing browsers (or do not need windows), we recommend using Linux or Cloud desktops. Either way, if you decide to continue using v.9.7 or if you decide to upgrade to the latest version (and switch away from using VirtualBox for windows provisioning), we are here to help and support our customers who are current on their support and maintenance contract.

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