Virtual Box, the easy way with Casper

We’ve been deploying VirtualBox on a one-to-one basis for the past year.  Each time someone requested vBox we would get their machine and install it.  Casper came along, and after some politics, we decided to give it a shot at building a Virtual Box installer with Windows 7 built-in.  While the end result still requires some hands-on to modify some settings (such as computer naming & binding to the AD), it is by far faster and easier to get a Mac to run Windows 7 in Virtual Box now.

The following are some considerations when planning your vBox.

  1. Not all software is legally allowed to be distributed “on image”.  Sometimes you’ll have to create a post-install process to do this (such as a GPO or Kace, BigFix, etc).
  2. Binding requires unique name, so you’ll want to bind after it is deployed.
  3. Do not have multiple partitions on the windows drive, you won’t be able to use the dynamic disk size of Virtual Box if your second partition has space left on it.
  4. You’ll want to make sure you setup the storage area to be in a shared space, so it is accessible by more than just the user who created the package.

These are just some of the warnings, however the pay-off is worth it.  If you have a paid application for virtualization (Parraellels, VMWare) it is far easier than with vBox (in my opinion), but again you can’t beat the price of Virtual Box.  That advantage of Casper is that you can push the user preferences for VirtualBox out as a separate package, available For Exisiting Users, or For User Template.  We’re in the testing stages now, but if all goes as planned, we’ll have a simplified Virtual Box deployment in the near future.

I’ll post updates when complete (maybe even the file paths if I get the time).

Till next time.