We set-up an ESXi server at our office not long ago, it works well. The users connect to the server with vmware Workstation to use the vms, but some of the employees are complaining that they don't want to wait for the virtual machines to be free. What I mean by that:

We have many different machines that can be accessed by anyone in the office (the VMs needs to be accessed by anyone!) and If someone is working on a machine, the other users have to wait to access the machine (and also, they can interrupt each others work, because they can move the mouse..etc).

Is there any way to create an instance (or a copy or something that makes the VM private for the user) automatically for each user when they try to use a virtual machine? It doesn't matter if the changes are discarded after they close the VM, all they need is to access the software on them.

We use the free version of ESXi 6.0.0 right now, but if there is a licence needed to have a function like this, We don't mind.


I don't know how to do it with VMware Workstation. But if I understand you correct you want something like Horizon View: When a user requests a desktop the "golden image" or "master" VM is cloned on the fly.

You could try to build something like this yourself but I don't know how to integrate this with VMware Workstation. You could, just as an example, write a PowerCli script that clones a virtual machine, starts it and then opens a VMware Remote Console. But you'd have to develop it all by yourself and your users would need the rights to clone VMs which you maybe don't want to grant them.

If you invest in vCenter you could automate the cloning with vRealize Orchestrator. With this product you could create workflows that clone virtual machines and grant users the right to start these workflows without the need to allow them the creation of VMs generally.

There are also powerful and expensive solutions like vRealize Automation. Personally, I'd say vRealize Automation ist a bit too much for your use case, scripting and / or orchestrator might be the way to go... provided you don't insist on Workstation.

I can suggest these ideas to you but you'd have to investigate for yourself which is best for you.

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