Open Virtual Desktop 3.0 as an alternative to VDI


OVD Subsystem

The easiest way, apart from the demo systems, to create a working OVD setup for test purposes is to install the preconfigured Ulteo subsystem consisting of an application server, file server, and some typical desktop applications (Linux) set up by Ulteo. The subsystem is available for all supported distributions and can be set up on Ubuntu, for example, with a few simple steps. Ulteo provides the required packages in a separate Ubuntu repository [8] (for Ubuntu 10.04 only); you will need to add this to your own package sources in /etc/apt/sources.list first.

Unfortunately, the repository is only tested for Lucid. The GPG error after an update of the package sources is normal – you just need to import the Ulteo keyring into /etc/apt/sources.list. After a further update of the package source list (apt-get update), you can initially install the ulteo-ovd-debconf-database package, which greatly simplifies the configuration on Ubuntu.

The two commands must be executed one after the other, by the way; calling them in a single command line results in several error messages. Optionally, you can use a graphical package tool that shows you the available Ulteo packages at a glance.

On Ubuntu, you then need to install the ulteo-ovd-easy-install package, which prompts the installation of the ulteo-ovd-session-manager, ulteo-ovd-subsystem, ulteo-ovd-web-client, and ulteo-ovd-applets packages. Resolving the other dependencies installs Apache2, MySQL, PHP, and other required components. Debconf handles the basic configuration on Ubuntu. The default account and password for the session manager are both admin .

A word of warning: Debconf installs the ulteo-ovd-subsystem package, which in turn downloads the full Ulteo OVD subsystem from the Ulteo website. Because the file is about 600MB, the process can take quite a while. Once that's done, you need to start the service manually with etc/init.d/ulteo-ovd-subsystem start.

Manual Installation on RHEL

A manual installation of OVD under Red Hat Enterprise Linux or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server involves a bit more effort, but it also gives you more flexibility. In all RHEL-based distributions, you must first disable SELinux in the /etc/selinux/config file or switch to permissive mode and then reboot the system.

Next, create a Yum repository /etc/yum.repos.d/ovd.repo with the content from Listing 1. Then, you can continue to install MySQL

Listing 1


01 [ovd-3.0.3]
02 name=Ulteo OVD 3.0.3
03 baseurl=
04 enabled=1
05 gpgcheck=1
06 gpgkey=
yum install mysql mysql-server

and prepare the MySQL server to launch at system startup by typing chkconfig mysqld on. You can enable the MySQL server by typing service mysqld start and manually set the MySQL root password with:

mysqladmin -u root password <Password>

Now, you can log in to MySQL and create the ovd database.

mysql -u root -p -e 'create database ovd'

The next step is to run

yum install ulteo-ovd-session-manager

to install the session manager package. The installation (not required with the easy install variant) uses sm-config.

After you enter the default password (admin), the tool offers to install the whole package from the Ulteo download server in a chroot environment below var/cache/ulteo/sessionmanager (press Enter twice to keep the default path for the chrooted session). Again, you need to consider the time you will wait while the download of base.tar-gz completes, as in the Ubuntu example above. Once that's done, you just need to start the Apache web server.

To set up the application or file server, or both, you must install the ulteo-ovd-subsystem package and then call the CLI configuration tool ovd-subsystem-config. After you chroot to /opt/ulteo, the tool independently takes care of setting up the application server. Finally, you can type

service ulteo-ovd-subsystem start

to launch the subsystem.

Web Client

Even the web client must be installed manually outside of the easy install process. In older versions of Ulteo (before 3.0), it was not installed automatically with Session Manager. It is possible, but not mandatory, to install the web client on the same machine as the session manager. The packages required are: ulteo-ovd-web-client and ulteo-ovd-web-client-ajaxplorer.

Call the ovd-webclient-config configuration tool, then say yes when asked Do you want to link the web client to a specific session manager? and confirm the session manager address shown. Depending on where you installed the web client, you need to start/restart the web server. Once done, you can log on using the URL https://Session-Manager/ovd/admin and the admin /admin account and password.

On first login, the system recognizes it is not yet fully configured, and you are immediately redirected to a basic setup page, where you can check or change, for example, the MySQL configuration. Once you have confirmed these settings, you are redirected to the regular web interface page.

After completing the application server install, it should appear in the web interface on Servers as an Unregistered server ; you can then press Register to register the server (Figure 2).

Figure 2: The individual application servers are the backbone of the OVD architecture.

If the application server and Session Manager are installed on the same machine, the server name is initially You can also set up a redirection. The "redirection name" is used to load individual sessions; you need to redirect to the application server as the target host. This step is required in any case if the application server is running on a private IP address and is accessed from somewhere on the Internet.

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