Using Snapshots for Organizing Work Environment With Virtual Machines

Using Snapshots for Organizing Work Environment With Virtual Machines

Alexey Pavlovich Kalistratov (Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Russia), Sergey Igorevich Zaikin (Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Russia), Viatcheslav Ivanovich Kuzovlev (Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Russia) and Pyotr Stepanovich Semkin (Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Russia)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3395-5.ch032


The chapter reveals the issue of implementing snapshots for maintaining virtual machines used for students' lab stands. Hence, implementing that backup/restore method means significant reduction of the amount of effort required for lab stands maintenance. The actuality of this chapter is in the increasing appliance of virtualization methods in the educational process, as it currently is not very developed due to the lack of a systematic approach to the development and application of new technologies. The object of study is the practical part of the course “Network Software” of the Department IU5 in BMSTU. The subject of research is the process of preparing a virtual stand for lab works. The purpose of research is to prove the significance of applying virtualization technologies such as using snapshots in the educational process.
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Setting The Stage

Considering the changes in the educational process, it is recognized that educational programs in the field of computer science in particular require continuous updating, because, unlike engineering or, especially, mathematical or physical sciences, technologies and principles of computer science may become obsolete in 5-7 years (Pokrovsky, 2010). Considering this, special attention should be paid to the updating of study plans.

In the study of computer sciences, during practical activities, students need to work with software which is specifically needed for this discipline (e.g., programming, machine graphics, modeling, numerical calculations, and databases).

According to Patricia Dickinson and Judith Montgomery (2016), when it comes to mathematics, professional development and teaching strategies are essential to promote multiple representations and ways of knowing, especially in a time where reform practices are valued. However, for strategies to transfer into teachers’ classroom practice, authentic activities must be embedded to provide an opportunity to experiment and explore new concepts, construct knowledge, engage in dialogue with peers, and develop the confidence to master new strategies.

Obviously, mistakes are a norm in the learning process, and not an exception. Virtual machines (VM) are convenient not only because in case of incorrect actions the student can easily restart his machine or take a new one. After all, a virtual machine is just a collection of files. They can significantly reduce the cost of organizing the educational process and make it more effective. The process of using VM began at the end of the last century, in many educational institutions. Nowadays, the trend is not only to use VM, but also to transfer them to so-called clouds. This is possible when the user is provided with the necessary computing and information resources through modern network technologies, and he/she interacts with the programs that he/she needs and that he/she can operate remotely. The user is often interested in, first, the ability to perform the necessary calculations and, secondly, in the availability and safety of his/her data. It is about the organization and use of virtual cloud computing. Indeed, this resource can and should be applied, including in the educational process.

When it comes to the case of using PCs in practice–as studying computer sciences is impossible without them–,it is important to remind that for university PCs user rights are limited in order to prevent issues. In most cases, user rights are enough, but as sometimes local admin rights are needed, lab computer malfunctions can occur. If the application requires local admin rights in order to work properly, it is possible to either change the registry settings or use a different app. However, in many disciplines the student can perform a certain action only with administrator rights (e.g., Operating Systems, Networks and telecommunications, Distributed computing networks, and Corporate networks).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Lab Stand: Educational appliance, which includes a personal computer and different peripherals. Designed for use in the practice part of some courses (e.g., network software).

Virtualization: The creation of a virtual—rather than actual—version of something, such as an operating system, a server, a storage device or network resources.

Virtual Machine: Special environment which imitates some particular configuration of a real computer.

Hyper-V: An implementation of native virtualization, made by Microsoft. One of the most popular hypervisors, supports all popular x86-x64 operating systems as a guest system.

Snapshot: Technology that allows saving the state, disk data, and configuration of a virtual machine at a specific point in time.

Hypervisor: Server software which manages virtual machines.

Server: Device or program that provides some functionality to clients. In order to serve such functionality, it must be more powerful and reliable than regular computer.

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