I'm working at a public library, we have 20 or so Windows 7 PCs available for the public to use. At the moment they use Deepfreeze to maintain the base state of the OS so that users can't mess things up. We use Clonezilla to deploy a sysprepped image to the PCs. (atm we're not using Clonezilla server - we do each one by hand.)
The problem is that, if the master image ever gets updated (software updates, etc) each computer needs to be managed one by one. (I guess we're lacking knowledge on how to use Clonezilla server to deploy via broadcast, and also Sysprep scripting to automate the post-imaging set up.)
I would like to investigate virtualisation to help make things easier (also for hardware changes, etc). I'm not particularly familar with what's available or the terminology, I'm sorry. I'm currently looking at VMWare vSphere Hypervisor.
I imagine a setup that works like this:
PCs run some sort of minimal OS whose sole purpose is to load the VM. (Is this vSphere Hypervisor?)
The VM image file is stored locally on the PC. The minimal OS mentioned above will regularly check some server to see if an updated image is available, and if so, it will rsync or copy the image file.
The VM is stored in a fixed state. Changes that the users make, will not be saved after they log off / reboot. The VM always reverts back to the original state on reboot.
Some sort of automation is required so that the Win7 Guest OS's on each PC has their own static IP and hostname. PC_01, PC_02, etc. Naively, I'm imagining that there's some text file with this info stored on the PC, and the "minimal OS" can be scripted to configure the Win7 VM with this hostname/IP.
So, on to the questions:
So, is vSphere Hypervisor actually the type of product I'm looking for, when I say, "Minimal OS"? Or did I get my jargon wrong and it's some other VMWare product? (VMWare Player combined with some sort of linux as the Host OS, for example.)
Can vSphere Hypervisor fulfill the scenario I've written above? Is there a better way doing things, that still fulfills our needs? (Although we don't want a remote desktop client/server model.)
How can I achieve the automation I describe in step 4? Each Win7 Guest OS needs to have a particular unique hostname and static IP address.
I hope this isn't a "recommend a product" type question, but I imagine this is a common situation in schools, libraries, internet cafes, etc, so I'd like to get some advice on whether people have successfully used virtualisation for this sort of thing, and what they did.