I work for a university and we are currently tasked with setting up a new computer cluster. That is like breathing for us, it is so easy. This cluster though is special. It will be shared between 5 different departments. Each department has their own licenses for software, custom settings, and specifications. This has led us to the decision to use virtual machines for each department and just have a shortcut on the desktop of the host computer to each. This was mainly chosen, because we already have images in place for each department so making a virtual machine is super easy, no need to build one from scratch.
This wouldn't be so hard if it was just left at that, but further complicating this is the fact that we run on a Windows Active Directory network with Windows computers. If you are unfamiliar with active directory, basically it is just a big login server that keeps track of everyone and their stuff. That being said, many of the applications that we run require a specific user to be logged in so that it has access to their user profile. This is dumb I know because whoever developed these programs didn't have to install them across a university. With active directory each computer on our network is joined to our "domain", which allows us to management them without going to each and every computer.
Now we are talking about 50 computers here and 5 virtual machines on each, joining them all to the domain is simply not going to work, because we still need to be able to easily update them when departments want more software. But we need to have the users profile available to the virtual machine so that they can use the programs needed. This is easy if you know exactly who is logging in, but we would have to rely on using the environment variable to see which user profile to mount into a generic profile on the virtual machine.
So my question is pretty broad, but is there a better way to do this that we just aren't seeing?
Also, is there a way to tell vmplayer to mount the current user's profile only?
I hoped I explained well enough, but if you have any questions please ask!