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Virtual Computer Lab (VCL)

The Virtual Computer Lab is a software system designed by North Carolina State University that can provide 7 X 24 X 365 computer access to applications and systems for anyone that has access to a basic computer. The system was released by NCSU to the Apache Foundation as Open Source and is being used at ODU.

The VCL is a remote access system that allows you to reserve a "virtual computer" with the desired operating system and applications for your coursework, and remotely access it via the Internet. The system has all the widely used applications at the University that can be made available, such as SAS, Matlab, SPSS, GIS and others.

Valid Account
The VCL is available to all Faculty, Staff and Students. Only faculty will have the capability to make block reservations for courses they teach during the year. Block reservations are limited to a maximum of 30 seats per class. Block reservations should be coordinated with ITS to insure proper course management and integration for each academic semester.

Internet Connection
To use this system you must have a computer with internet connectivity. Since all the processing is done on the VCL, very minimal "computer power" is needed locally. Because many applications can get graphically intensive, the performance of this system will be relative to the speed of your internet connection. Broadband connectivity is recommended. Dial-up connectivity will work, but is not recommended due to the slow connectivity.

Prior to creating your first reservation, it is beneficial for each user to set their system preferences. The system preferences for each user are remembered by the VCL and will provide connectivity information to the system.

  1. Go to https://vcl.odu.edu
  2. Make sure drop down says 'ODU LDAP' and click Proceed to Login, log in with your MIDAS ID and Password
  3. After logging into the VCL site, click New Reservation in the left hand menu.
    • Choose the application environment you would like to use from the pull down menu.
    • Choose the time you would like the reservation for. For an immediate session select Now
    • Select the length of time for your reservation. This can be any amount from 30 minutes to 4 hours.
    • Click Create Reservation (you can go back and edit the session times if you need to).
    • A message confirming your reservation will appear.
    • Wait until the Connect button appears. The Connect button will appear in 1 - 5 minutes depending on the available resources and their current state.
    • Click the Connect button when it appears.
  4. After you click the Connect button, you will see a connection information page. This will provide your reservation details, IP address of the remote machine and the password information for your reservation. The account for the reservation is typically the same as your Midas ID. However, the password is NOT your Midas password; this will be a randomly generated password valid for this session only. You will also receive a confirmation email from vclhelp@odu.edu.

    If you are having problems with the directions above, the following files provide a full featured guide on how to perform these tasks:

Students, faculty, and staff can retrieve and save files while in the VCL via a number of methods. The following information provides details on how to use each one while connected to a VCL remote session:

Local Hard Drive or other local media (USB etc.) while attached to a VCL Remote Desktop Session (review Setting User Preferences). If you are having problems with the directions provided, additional information can be found in our online video guide

Faculty, Staff and Students can connect from the VCL Remote Desktop Session to their ODU Network drive space via WebDAV. Instructions on how to do this are located HERE. Students and faculty/staff can find additional instructions for connecting via WebDAV via our online video guide.

Users can connect from the VCL Remote Desktop Session to their LIONS environment. This can be done by simply opening an SSH session, connecting to lions.odu.edu and logging in. Once in your LIONS environment, users can copy files back and forth as needed.

For Faculty and Staff only; a direct drive mapping can be done while attached to a VCL Remote Desktop Session. Instructions on how to do this are located HERE. Faculty/Staff can find additional instructions for mapping drives via our online video guide.

Connecting with Remote Desktop

Windows - Windows XP to the current version of the Windows operating system has the capability built in it to make Remote Desktop connections. Updates can be obtained HERE

Mac OS X - Remote Desktop Client can be downloaded HERE

Linux/Unix - A Remote Desktop Client may be included (rdesktop) or it can be downloaded HERE