ICERM Virtual Desktops

ICERM provides access to virtual Linux desktops to long-term visitors via Red Hat Virtualization. Virtual desktop access may also be provided to short-term visitors on a case-by-case basis with advance notice.

The virtual desktops run the latest version of CentOS 7 and include a variety of software, including the LibreOffice suite, a LaTeX editor, and mathematical computation software (including Mathematica, MatLab, Maple, and Sage). For a full list of currently available software, please see the software page on ICERM's website.

Virtual Desktops are accessible only from the Igel Thin Clients within ICERM's facility. Due to Brown's firewall limitations, remote access from laptops or outside ICERM's facility is not possible.

Login Instructions

  1. On the IGEL Thin Client desktop, double click on the Virtual Desktop icon to open the web browser to the RHV User Portal.
  2. When the User Portal login screen opens, enter your ICERM username and password, select icerm.brown.edu as the domain, and click Log In.
  3. Once logged into the User Portal, find the desktop pool you wish to use, click the Green Arrow to take a VM from the pool, then wait for the machine to become available. Once you have "taken" the VM from the pool, click the green arrow a second time to start the VM. It will take a couple minutes for the VM to start.
  4. Once the machine has started and is available, the remote viewer console should open automatically. If it does not, double click on the main icon to launch the desktop console. The remote viewer will open, and your desktop will begin to load.
    ** If the console does not open automatically after double-clicking, and you are prompted to open a console.vv file instead, please follow the steps below in the notes section or contact IT staff for assistance.
  5. When the console is finished loading, you will see the CentOS login screen. Sign in with the same username and password you used for the User Portal, and your desktop will load.
    ** If you are presented with a splash screen with the date and time, just press return or space to open the login screen.
  6. When finished with the virtual desktop session, shut down the virtual machine completely from the system menu on the top right of the menu bar, and then close the User Portal.

    ** It is very important to make sure you shut down your virtual desktop completely after each session. Failure to do so can cause problems.

Important Notes About the Virtual Desktop System

  • Desktops in the pool are "stateless" and are created from a base image each time the virtual machine is started. This means any files you save outside of your home folder will be erased when the desktop is shutdown. In order to ensure your files are retained, please be sure to save them inside your home folder on the desktop.
  • Home folders are synced across the network, so anything you save in your home folder on one desktop will automatically be there the next time you log in to any desktop in the facility. In addition, user profile options (such as Firefox bookmarks, Dropbox configuration, etc.) will also automatically transfer to each machine.
  • The base image for the desktop pool is usually updated once per week on Thursday, during the afternoon coffee break.
  • Please do not create other user accounts on the virtual machines. They will also be erased when the virtual machine is shut down.
  • If you require software that is not installed on the virtual machines, please see ICERM’s IT staff or email support@icerm.brown.edu, and we will do our best to make that software available on the desktop pool.
  • Data stored in your home folder will be retained for 6 months after your last logon to the system.
  • Due to Brown's firewall, the virtual machines are only accessable from within ICERM's facility. Remote access is not currently possible.
  • If the console does not open automatically, and you are prompted to open a file called console.vv instead (as seen below), choose "Open With" and click "Browse". Navigate to File System > services > spice > bin and select remote-viewer.
    Then, select the checkbox for "Do this automatically", and hit Ok. The remote viewer should now launch.

If you have questions about these instructions or require further assistance, please contact the ICERM IT staff by dropping by the administrative offices, emailing support@icerm.brown.edu, or calling 3-5017 from your office phone.