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I am working with a local univeristy which wants to teach students security. The modules involved using tools like Nmap and Metasploit on Windows and Linux boxes. However, as Windows has licensing issues the school does not want to hand over VMs to the students.

So basically here is what they need:

  1. They have multiple licenses available for windows and want me to create VMs
  2. A student can login to the lab from school/home over a VPN
  3. As soon as he logs in he can start / stop VMs which he would like to practice on
  4. A new instance of a VM image is created every time a request is made in (3) from a common image which is identical for all students
  5. When the student logs off the VPN then the instance is destroyed
  6. Multiple students may be logged in simultaneously and be working

Basically, this will allow them to reuse the same set of VMs for 50 students.

I am looking for open source solutions so the univeristy does not have to buy licenses.


  1. What VPN solution should I use?
  2. How do I create a virutalization setup where the same "physical image" can be loaded simultaneously for multiple students?
  3. Any software available to automate the above tasks?
  4. Can I use commodity hardware to achieve the above?

Appreciate any help you can provide!

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closed as not constructive by Bryan, Dave M, Michael Hampton, voretaq7 Feb 27 '13 at 22:38

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I don't believe there would be any problems just using eval copies of windows 2008 - you can legally download and install it and it will run for 180 days - more than enough for a course. This is what most training companies do. What you are looking to do would require a server infrastructure which you could avoid by going the eval license route. –  Ian Murphy Oct 24 '12 at 22:48
I'm not aware of any products that would do all of the above - Maybe go down the Citrix route and give the student user access via the web panel? –  Aceth Nov 29 '12 at 13:02
This is an interesting project, but as a question it's very broad -- you're basically handing us your requirements list and asking Server Fault to do your whole architecture and system design process for you. This is probably a bit more than you should expect from a free Q&A site (it's more the kind of work you would bring in a consultant for, and pay them a nice hourly rate)... –  voretaq7 Feb 27 '13 at 22:35

1 Answer 1

What VPN solution should I use? openvpn will be good for that you will need to setup a VM as a vpn server and get the students to login into it setting up openvpn on linux is so easy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuzLjR-1pgE and openvpn windows client is very straight forward

How do I create a virutalization setup where the same "physical image" can be loaded simultaneously for multiple students?

If you mean that you will need the students to be editing on the same filesystem i.e "same virtual disk" then I think this may not be possible AFAIK

Any software available to automate the above tasks? I think this will require some custom coding if you consider vbox then you will do some shell scripting to get the machines created upon demand

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