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Are there Virtual Machine Servers that you can install Virtual Machines on and then the clients can just fire up the OS (Windows, Mac, Linux) through the web browser?

That would be very efficient.

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I would clarify this question to something like "accessing virtual machines through a web browser" – rmalayter Sep 9 '10 at 3:27
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I don't think there are many out-of-the-box products that will do what you want. The closest would be something from VMware. If you wanted to spend some time though, you could use a combination of Xen + libvirt + Virtual Machine Manager to achieve something close, but it's still limited to the desktop I believe.

It's also worth mentioning the potential security risk by having your hypervisor exposed through a web browser. If you have many machines running on your server, one exploit through the browser will expose all your VMs at once to an attacker. Your hypervisor/virtual machine server should be preciously protected because of this.

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VMware's ESX pretty much does this by default although this feature has now been removed from ESXi and will not be available in future releases after V4.1 once the ESXi variant becomes the only one that VMware will update in future. Web based access to a remote guest console is trivially easy to provide for ESX but as others have said there are some serious security issues with this that limit its practical use.

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VirtualBox can be scripted, so it would be possible to include a web front-end command interface.

Microsoft's Virtual Server 2005 was ran exclusively from a web front-end, bit it has largely been supplanted by Hyper-V.

Hyper-V is scriptable via Powershell, I believe, so a web front-end would be possible but I think it would require making calls in a web-friendly language to then make Powershell calls.

VMware does have APIs for VBScript and Perl, and possibly Powershell.  I'm not sure, but they may only apply to ESX.


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RHEV can do that using pre-made templates

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phpvirtualbox is providing this kind of interface:

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