An anonymous reader writes: I have been a long-time lurker but now need the advice of the "Ask Slashdot" community:
The company I work for offers training for CAD and Multimedia applications (AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor [similar to SolidWorks], 3D Studio MAX, etc.). Up to this point we have used ghosting to restore the workstations after a training course. The problem with restoring an image is that it a) requires some administrative work by our training coordinator b) isn't very efficient because the entire image is restored even though only a very small portion of apps/data is different between the current state and the image.
My initial thought was to implement virtualization since this would allow us to create "snapshots" which could easily be restored / deleted. However, because of the type of software we train on, having native or near-native graphics performance is essential and all of the desktop virtualization products are lacking in this area (personally tested Virtual PC, VMWare Workstation and Virtual Box). Within the desktop virtualization market, the best option I found was Parallels Workstation Extreme but it requires significant investment in certified hardware. Also, we often train at our customers' site using notebooks so virtualizing an application via a DataCenter is not an option.
Therefore, at this point, it appears as if neither ghosting or virtualization are viable options. As I've thought about it, I'm thinking that the best course of action would be to implement a product that allows you to create an "Undo Disk" on the physical hardware. In this environment, you would run the O/S on the physical hardware but all modifications would be stored within a separate file / partition which if deleted, would restore the machine to its "base" state. Overall, this would accomplish my objective of full performance with quick restores (since only the "delta" difference needs to be removed; unlike in ghosting) and could even by done by the trainer at the start of the class. I haven't found a product in my searching that does this. I don't think that Windows Restore Points are the answer because it isn't a true snapshot since some settings are not captured and are thus retained when going back in time.
It is my responsibility at work to implement a more efficient means of dealing with our training systems and would appreciate any guidance.