Stratodesk Virtual Appliance

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Introduction

The Stratodesk Virtual Appliance is a 64bit Linux-based Virtual Appliance (VA) preconfigured to run in VMware vSphere/ESXi, Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V and various desktop/workstation products. This virtual appliance is not identical to the endpoint operating system NoTouch OS, in fact these are worlds apart even though they are both Linux-based.

It contains an installation of NoTouch Center and a PXE network boot environment to boot up diskless machines into NoTouch OS plus an easy-to-use web-based administration interface to perform tasks such as updating or backing up the Virtual Appliance. If, for some reason, you do not want to run this Virtual Appliance, you can alternatively install NoTouch Center on a Windows machine, although we discourage from doing so.

A virtual appliance is intended to be run on a virtualization platform (hypervisor), not on bare metal. The Stratodesk Virtual Appliance has been tested on various platforms, such as VMware ESXi, Citrix XenServer, Nutanix AHV, Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware Workstation, VMware Player, VMware Fusion, Parallels Desktop and VirtualBox. You need a 64-bit system to run the Stratodesk Virtual Appliance.

Get going

Setting up of the VA is easy. You download it, you import it into your hypervisor, you boot it, set a password and an IP address. From then on, it is running, can be used and administered with your browser.

Deploy the Virtual Appliance

The Stratodesk Virtual Appliance is shipped as an OVA file (Open Virtualization Archive), the single-file version of an Open Virtualization Format image that can be easily used with all current virtualization platforms except Hyper-V. So all you need is this OVA file.

Note for Hyper-V users: The Stratodesk Virtual Appliance is also available as a VHD file. If you do not have access to our download portal, please contact us.

Depending on your hypervisor platform, you have to "import" the VA. For example the VMware vSphere client calls it "Deploy OVF template". Please refer to your hypervisor documentation for more information. In general, people are fine with just importing/deploying it, and accepting default values:

Requirements

The VA is preconfigured so that it meets the minimum requirements - if you chose to modify, please do not go below these settings, especially make sure that the VA has at least 2 GB of virtual RAM. Larger installations are advised to assign at least 4 GB of RAM. Furthermore, the Virtual Appliance will only work with one configured network interface. Adding more virtual CPUs or CPU cores will indeed improve performance.

First time boot-up

On first boot-up of the Virtual Appliance please visit its console in your hypervisor management tool. It will ask you to accept the EULA (End User License Agreement).

Set a password

After a few boot messages the system will display a dialog asking to set a password: You must chose a password now, and we advise you to chose a good password that can not easily be guessed. Avoid things like "test", "notouch", "stratodesk" or similar. You will be asked to repeat your password to make sure you haven't misspelled it.

The password you set here will be used for various services:

  • It is the "admin" user password for accessing the Virtual Appliance administration interface
  • It is the "admin" user password for NoTouch Center
  • It is the "notouchadm" user password for SSH login

Configure network

The VA is configured to use DHCP initially to automatically configure its network. Many people still prefer to set IP addresses on server systems manually, if you want to do so, please press the Enter key to access the "Advanced Menu" as soon as the dialog showing network configuration has appeared. From there you can use your keyboard to set the network configuration to static configuration, and then set IP address, subnet mask, gateway and DNS.

We strongly recommend to set a static IP address (see IP address change procedure why this makes sense) and to create a DNS host name or alias named "tcmgr" pointing to your Virtual Appliance, so that new NoTouch endpoints can find your appliance and subsequently NoTouch Center.

Console interface

Stratodesk-VA-Console-2.jpg

On its console (accessible via your virtualization platform tools, such as VMware vSphere Client, or XenCenter), the Virtual Appliance will display a textual information screen. This allows you:

  • View URLs and IP addresses of common services, such as the web-based admin interface URL
  • Enter the Advanced menu by pressing the Enter key, allowing you to:
    • Configure the network, which can be
      • configured via DHCP. When set to DHCP, all network configuration will be pulled from a DHCP server. If no DHCP server is present in this subnet, the VA can not operate.
      • configured statically. Setting to static opens up the network configuration dialog, allowing to set IP address, netmask, default gateway and at most two nameservers.
    • Reset the password (as is done during first boot)
    • Reboot the appliance
    • Shutdown the appliance

Note: The console will blank its screen after some time of inoperation. Since people look seldomly on this console, chances are high that when you access it, the screen will be black. Just press any key, preferably "Shift" or "Alt", to wake the console up.

Web-based administration interface

The Stratodesk Virtual Appliance comes with an easy-to-use browser based administration interface. Simply point your browser to the Virtual Appliance - the IP address is shown in the hypervisor console. So for example when your IP address is 10.1.1.10, then point your browser to https://10.1.1.10. The web interface is made in "wizard-style" and will guide you through all demands so you should be fine without reading through the documentation.

When making your first connection to Stratodesk Virtual Appliance, you will not have a certificate installed, therefore the browser will display the usual certificate warning in more or less dramatic fashion. This is expected. Since you just set up the other system and most probably "own" the network, you can ignore this warning. You may of course buy a certificate from any trusted vendor and install in the VA.

The VA login screen will display

  • the username and password prompt for NoTouch Center, and
  • a link to the VA's own administration interface

The VA uses HTTP authentication to prevent unauthorized access. The username is "admin", and the password is the one you have set during initial setup. Please note that web browsers may keep your credentials for a long time with HTTP authentication. If you have accessed the system from a PC that is not yours, change the password afterwards, this will reset HTTP authentication.

The web-based administration interface contains these menu items:

Stratodesk-VA-Login-en.jpg