I want to simplify setting up training computers for our trainers inhouse. The situation is we have an enterprise based software program (which runs with .net + SQL Server + IIS) and when our trainers go out onsite to train customers they must setup this all on the clients computer which sometimes goes well and sometimes doesnt depending on how the customers IT person has set the computers up.

I want to have the setup be hardware and software agnostic (i.e. it will run on any setup, any permissions and any OS).

My idea is that the trainers would have a USB stick with them, they would than insert the USB into a computer and it will automatically spin up a virtual machine with an already preconfigured virtual machine instance with everything preconfigured so it would just run on top of everything.

Does anyone know if this is possible? To somehow script that we install a VM host and it than loads up a VM instance that I have snapshotted and placed on the USB stick?

Looking for advice

  • Just a remark: AFAIK there's no reliable solution to run virtualized VMs portably, so you have to actually install some virtualization software on the client PC. However, you should be able to run Bochs Portable - but don't expect great performance, it's an emulator (i.e. it doesn't execute instructions directly on your CPU, but emulates another CPU). – gronostaj Aug 1 '13 at 21:28
  • Hi Gronostaj, thanks for your reply. I was expecting that I would have to install the virtualization software on the client. I would think the end package would be an installer that would install the virtualization software as a prerequisite. Than after the training is complete they can just uninstall and everything will be back to how it was. – Matt Aug 1 '13 at 21:50

For this purpose i have used in the past a tool called LinuxLive Usb Creator.

It offers you the possibility of using your own ISO, or download a new one from a list.

Also, it creates inside the media chosen a portable Virtual-box environment which seems to do just what you desire. The portable media has then a boot flag for start-up boot and the possibility to bootup inside the OS.

note: this limits to creating *NIX bootable medias.

note2: you can take a look to Portable-VirtualBox and check if it suits you for running a Windows Environment.

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