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Re: [virt-tools-list] [virt-viewer][PATCH 0/6] Create actions menu

On Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 03:27:32PM -0200, lagarcia linux vnet ibm com wrote:
> Although I can agree that virt-manager would be more appropriate to hold the
> features I am describing, I think I am trying to address a use case scenario
> that is currently not properly supported by any of these two tools. So, first,
> let me try to define the audience I am interested in: my average end-user here
> is a desktop user.
> My view is that currently available virt-viewer and virt-manager tools are
> designed to fit the needs of system administrators or developers managing
> virtual machines. Both of them are targeted to the user dealing with
> virtualization in an enterprise/data-center environment. However, it is
> becoming more and more common that average desktop users, that are usually
> involved in administrative or operational tasks and that might not have any
> knowledge on how virtualization works, need to use virtualized environments
> running on their desktops (or even remotely) to accomplish daily tasks. Using a
> virtualized environment to accomplish some specific tasks would be important
> and necessary due to security reasons: to avoid any kind of contamination
> between the desktop user system and the system running the tools he/she uses to
> accomplish important tasks and that might have confidential/sensitive
> information. Also, it may be the case that customer contracts enforce the use
> of isolated systems to access the customer's IT environment: the use of
> virtualization allows one person to have access to multiple isolated
> environments in an easy way yet avoiding any contamination between the
> environments.
> The way I see today, virt-viewer is a too simple tool that only provides access
> to the virtual machine console. And, on the other hand, virt-manager is quite a
> complex tool for a desktop user. A desktop user might not be interested in the
> details involved in creating and managing virtual machines (IT department will
> work on that). But, at the same time, the desktop user would definitely want to
> access the virtual machine console and have some kind of control over the
> machine, even though he/she don't want to interact with any other complexities
> related to the virtual machine infrastructure. In that scenario, I am really
> targeting something in between from what virt-viewer and virt-manager console
> viewer provides today.
> The specific use cases I am interested in are:
> 1) Pause/Resume virtual machine
> As a desktop user I want to be able to pause/resume the execution of the
> virtual machine. This is important in cases in which I want to temporarily
> suspend the work being executed at some point and resume the work in a later
> time. From my point of view, this operation is similar to the suspend operation
> in my desktop/laptop and it is intuitive for me to execute the same action in a
> virtual machine.

You can just invoke S3 suspend inside the VM

> 2) Restart virtual machine
> As a desktop user I want to be able to restart the virtual machine. This is
> important in cases in which the applications running on the virtual machine
> blocks its operation for some reason (specially when using Windows virtual
> machines, which happens to be a very common case).

If you're talking about forcing restart when the guest is not co-operating
then this is just the same as item 4).

If the guest is co-operating, then invoking virDomainReboot is exactly
equivalent to just initiating a reboot from inside the guest.

> 3) Shutdown
> As a desktop user I want to be able to shutdown the virtual machine. The use
> case here is similar to the one above: sometimes it is needed to simply turn
> off the virtual machine to recover from a bad behaving state. Also, it is
> intuitive for myself that I would be able to shutdown the virtual machine the
> same way I do with my desktop/laptop. More importantly, this is the more
> effective way to free up resources being used by the running virtual machine.

Same comments as 2).

> 4) Forced shutdown
> As a desktop user I want to be able to forcefully turn off the running virtual
> machine. This is important in cases where the virtual machine is not responding
> anymore, e.g. BSOD.

Yep, I can see this could be useful.

> 5) Delete Virtual Client
> As a desktop user I might be interested in deleting the current virtual
> machine. This is important when, for instance, IT is deploying a new version of
> the virtual machine and I need to decide whether I want to continue using the
> old one, whether I want both versions (temporarily or in a definitive way), or
> whether I would, eventually, destroy the old machine and start using the new
> one.

This is a difficult one in general. While it is easy enough to delete the
definition of the VM, there's the question of what todo with the storage
that goes along with it.

> 6) Create shortcut on Desktop
> As a desktop user I want to be able to easily access my virtual machines.
> Ideally I would be able to do that from a desktop application launcher shortcut
> that would: 1) Check if the virtual machine is running and, if not running,
> start it; 2) Connect to the virtual machine console.
> This desktop shortcut will be pre-configured by IT in my machine, but I need an
> easy way to recover it if I mistakenly delete it.
> Notice that the desktop shortcut would led me directly to the virtual machine
> console viewer with all the features I am interested in. I don't want to look
> on all the complexities shown by the virt-manager management window, for
> instance.

I think your talk about shortcuts is a red-herring here. This can be simply
described  as "Start the VM upon connect, if not already running".

> 7) Changes the console viewer exit routine to shutdown the guest when the
> application is terminated.
> As a desktop user it is counter intuitive that the virtual machine continues to
> run when I left the console viewer application. I am used that when I close an
> application all the resources being used by it are also freed up. In that case,
> I would want to link the viewer exit routine to the virtual machine shutdown
> action.
> Of course that this might be configurable, as little bit more advanced desktop
> user might understand the fact that the virtual machine can continue to run
> even though the viewer is closed.
> 8) Leave virtual machine running in the background
> As a desktop user, I want to be able to quit the viewer application but leave
> the virtual machine running. This is the default behavior in viewers today, but
> if we introduce the use case #7 (which is interestingly a cause of a good
> amount of desktop users' requests) and the user configures it to be the default
> behavior, we need to leave a way for myself to keep the virtual machine running
> while I quit the viewer application.

> 9) USB redirection functionality
> As a desktop user I want to be able to attach a USB device in my laptop/desktop
> and get it available in the running guest if the console viewer has the UI
> focus at the time the USB device is attached. I would also be able to manually
> select which USB devices already attached to the host I want to make available
> to the guest.
> Current development status:
> Use cases #1, #2, #3, and #4 are currently implemented in virt-manager console
> viewer. It would be useful though to have a way to open it without opening the
> virt-manager management window.
> Use case #5 is currently implemented in virt-manager management window, but
> this is not a window in which a desktop user would be interested in as it is
> too complex for the average desktop user.
> Use case #9 is currently implemented only in virt-viewer.
> Use cases #6, #7, and #8 are currently not implemented in any tools.

It is quite a perfect fit, but in general I think I'd classify your
arguments as being "Allow the admin todo anything to a VM, that he
could do to a physical machine if he had physical access".

Virt-viewer as an application is really aiming at "Allow a user to
interact with a VM as he would with a physical 'kiosk' display". ie
it presents you access to use the desktop, but provides no physical
interaction / lifecycle control

I still believe that virt-manager could be made to address these, or
alternatively GNOME Boxes also addresses much of this. The problem is
though, that neither of these applications are really ammenable to
running on Windows.

I'm kind of loathe to suggest this, but it kind of seems like you'd
be served by a new application "virt-control", which would basically
be the virt-viewer, but with all the extra features you describe.
This could even be done as part of the virt-viewer codebase, so that
we don't end up duplicating too much code. We already have 2 frontends
to our virt-viewer codebase - remote-viewer & virt-viewer - so adding
a 3rd - virt-control wouldn't be the end of the world, assuming we
still shared that 95% of the code.

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