Virtual Machines


What is a Virtual Machine ?

A virtual machine, or VM, is a full operating system environment installed on top (or inside of) another operating system which is interfacing with the hardware.  The underlying operating system is known as the hypervisor, or bare-metal operating system, while the VM is often referred to as the guest.


Research VM Environment

We have an environment available for researchers to create virtual machines using pre-built templates. These VM's will be setup with NAT IP addresses (accessible only within campus or through VPN), and their primary purpose should be for creating a short-term virtual machine environment which can be used for code development, running experiments, etc.  

This environment is not intended to be used for general purpose desktop computing tasks. If you're interested in a virtual desktop environment for general purpose computing, please talk to your local IT support person and we can help set you up with an appropriate solution.

This environment is being maintained for the purposes of research computing. If the IT department detects or is notified of a security incident, we will remove your access to the VM while we investigate the problem. 

Are you looking to create a Virtual Machine?

Step 1Login

Step 2: Click the VM Portal to login as a user. 


Step 3: Login with your netid and password

Step 4: Create a virtual machine

  1. Click Virtual Machines tab
  2. Click the New VM button to open the New Virtual Machine window.
  3. On the General tab, please follow the instructions below: 
    • Cluster:
      • Either cluster is available for use, there are more resources in the Intel version. However the only difference between the two is the processor architecture.
        • Self-Service-Intel
        • Self-Service-AMD
    • Based on Template:
      • Choose your operating system from the available templates: 
    • Operating System:
      • Will be auto-populated based on template choice
    • Instance Type:
      • Template will default to 'custom' which is 2 cores, 4GB RAM
      • You can alternatively choose from preset defaults Tiny through XLarge. If you change the instance type please be sure to check vNIC profile setting to vm_vlan3102.
    • Optimized For:
      • Will be auto-populated based on template choice
    • Name:
      • Please fill in a descriptive name for your VM
      • A good template to follow: YourNetID-OStype-project
        • ​​OStype can be: win10, centos7d, centos7s
          • Example: jones-win10-plantresearch1
          • Note: Windows system names must be 15 characters or less.
    • Description:
      • Please provide a brief description of how this VM will be used
    • Comment:
      • Optional: Any additional details that may be helpful for you or system administrators
    • vNIC profile:
      • Select vm_vlan3102 (auto-populated VLAN3102 based on template | removed if different Instance Type Selected)

Step 5: Congratulations! Your Virtual Machine is created. User guide and sign out buttons are available in the top right corner. 

Step 6: How to login to VM

You need to use the SPICE client [windows, linux, mac] (can be launched from browser), or appropriate tool for the OS (i.e. rdp for windows or ssh for linux) to connect to your VM. If you are using a University supplied computer, the Spice-Client is available on Mac & Windows through software self-service.  Please talk to your local IT support person if you need assistance installing the client.

Once you have the SPICE client installed on your device, you can login to the Virtual Machine.

Click on the "Play" button to start your VM.  Then, click "Console" and follow the login procedure accordingly. 


  • The system preparation process will take a few minutes to complete.  Once completed you will be able to login with your NetID and password.  The first time you login you will be added to the members of the administrators group.  You will need to logoff and then back in for all the administrative rights to be applied.

Windows 10 SysPrep Screen Shot

  • You should then be taken to the desktop, and icon for "Software Center" will be available to install ISU related software. 

Windows 10 Desktop


  • Login as user: me (no password)
  • You will be forced to set a password on first login

You should then be taken to the desktop (or command prompt if you chose the NoGUI option):

Accessing shared storage:

If you need to access your research files storage from your VM, please follow the instructions here appropriate to your OS:

Other Useful Info:

If you need to use a sound card, you will need to manually add one to your VM. Please contact your IT support personnel if you need assistance with this task.

For more information about RHV: