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I've been considering an idea for a small business secure workspace where each PC is using a flavor of linux, like Xubuntu, so that people can't easily install applications or modify the workstation they use while maximizing the amount of RAM the appliance can use. The people would run VirtualBox which will have been configured for them to use a .vdi that is stored on a Network File Server using a linux server OS, like Ubuntu Server. The .vdi would have an installation of Windows 10 Pro, where each user will have a basic account. The necessary programs they will need to do their job will be installed and a shared folder will be set up to use another secured directory on the file server where they can access documentation and project files.

Benefits

  1. Administrator can easily work from their own office, able to log into anyone's account to solve problems.
  2. Anyone can work from any PC, allowing a more dynamic work environment. If a designer needs to work directly with a programmer, they can work next to each other. If a programmer needs to work with a Content Writer, they can work next to each other. If a big project comes up, a group can be made to handle it, and they can work closely.
  3. Less cost making it easier for a small business to get started, creating new jobs.

Questions

  1. Is it possible to prevent VirtualBox users from creating a new virtual machine?
  2. What are some downsides to this configuration?
  3. What are some more benefits to this configuration?
  4. Are there any similar ideas that would be more efficient?
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Is having a network hosted Windows installation on a Virtual Disk Image where approximately 20 users use via VirtualBox a viable idea?

No, not a viable idea. Virtualbox is not, by any stretch, a tool that's appropriate for anything other than running a single development VM or two.

The people would run VirtualBox which will have been configured for them to use a .vdi that is stored on a Network File Server using a linux server OS, like Ubuntu Server.

Oh, heck no. :)

How poorly do you want these workstations to perform?

If you want to do the virtual desktop thing, you're going to need to fork out some cash for high-end networking, CPUs, storage, and software. VMware Horizon is the de-facto leader in the VDI market, and it does not come cheap.

If you're not up for spending that kind of money, do what the other answerer suggests and install VMs on an ESXi server, and allow users to either RDP to the VMs or use the vSphere client.

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Personally I would Have VMware ESXI 6 free running on a machine with as many VM's as you require rather than a virtual box setup. Esxi also has the ability to lock users controls to specific VM's so permissions will not be a problem for you.

https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/evalcenter?p=free-esxi6

As for the idea, I don't see why you would want the employees to not just run the programs directly on their own machines. As for anybody using anyone's system, this is already possible with an ldap server or Active directory being used for authentication.

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