VCM: How to use Virtual Computing Manager


Introduction

The Virtual Computing Manager is a service which allows authenticated users to reserve a computer with specialized software and access it remotely via the internet.  Several application environments as well as course specific images are available by participating schools. Reservations last tot he end of the current semester and can be made through a web interface. At the scheduled time, the image is loaded onto a virtual machine, which is accessible from the user’s desktop via Remote Desktop Client.

Requirements

Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) Clients

  • Windows: In Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7, RDC is located under Start > All Programs > Accessories > Remote Desktop Connection. To access RDC in Windows 8, press WIN+F > Apps > Windows Accessories > Remote Desktop Client.
  • Linux/Unix: The most commonly used client is called rdesktop, included in most distributions of Linux. If it is not present, it can be downloaded from a third party site: http://www.rdesktop.org.

Broadband Internet Connection

A broadband internet connection is recommended since many of the applications are graphic intensive and can use considerable bandwidth.

Multifactor Authentication

In order to access the VCM website you will need to have multi-factor authentication enabled for your NetID account. 

Accessing VCM

Access the VCM Reservation from any computer connected to the internet by browsing to https://vcm.duke.edu. Enter your NetID and password to log in. You should see your name displayed on the welcome screen and have several options in the top navigation to choose from.

The application environments available to you in VCM may depend on the courses you are enrolled in through the Registrar and those available to all students through OIT.

Reservations

New Reservations

  1. Sign in to https://vcm.duke.edu.
  2. Click on the New Reservations link in the top navigation.
  3. Expand the drop down box, and select an environment.
    NOTE: Only one reservation can be held at a given time.
  4. Once you select Create Reservation, a confirmation page will be displayed with more information. 

Current Reservations

All of your scheduled reservations will be listed here, and you can edit the reservation or delete it.

Connecting to a Computer

    1. When your reservation is available, you will be notified by e-mail. You can also view status under Current Reservations.
    2. Click Get RDP File to connect to your session. The RDP file contains all the connection information.

    NOTE: You may be prompted that the publisher cannot be identified. In this case, click Connect to continue.

For best performance, copy your files onto the desktop of the remote computer. However, before your session ends, you must remember to copy your files back to either mapped CIFS drives or your personal computer.

User Preferences

  • Personal Information: The Preferred Name is only the name that VCM will greet you with when you log in. It does not make changes to any other systems at Duke.
  • RDP File Preferences: Configure default preferred settings for resolution, color depth, map local drives, map local printers, etc.
    NOTE: Resolution and color depth settings can affect the performance. For low bandwidth connections, you might consider lowering the resolution.

Ending Reservations

IMPORTANT: Save all your work to your CIFS space or local drive and close the remote session window. Once the reservation expires, there’s no way to recover files on the remote computer.

  • Navigate back to https://vcm.duke.edu and click on Current Reservations.
  • If you no longer need this reservation, click Delete this reservation so that it will be available for others.

Need Further Assistance?

Please contact the OIT Service Desk if you need further assistance: http://oit.duke.edu/help