Virtualization at MIT


Virtualization software allows you to run Virtual Machines (VMs) on your computer. A guest operating system is an operating system installed on a host machine (a physical machine) and run virtually on VMware. IS&T supports and recommends VMware Fusion and VMware Workstation virtualization software for Windows, Mac OS and Linux host machines. You can install and configure your own virtual machine or download one of the preconfigured virtual machines provided by IS&T.

Do-it-yourself virtual machines

With do-it-yourself virtual machines, you are responsible for installing, configuring, and maintaining your virtual machines. This includes ensuring the guest operating system and all the software on your virtual machine are properly licensed for use with virtualization. IS&T supports:

  • Installation of VMware on supported versions of Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
  • Installation of Windows and Red Hat Enterprise Linux as guest operating systems.
  • Getting your supported guest OS on MITnet.

For more information, see: VMware at MIT: Installing and Using Guest Operating Systems

What's available

There are three pre-configured Windows 7 & Windows 10 VMs, and an additional Windows 10 with SOLIDWORKS for students, that have different sets of software and configurations. All three VMs contain the same Windows 7 software updates and security patches.

Data should NOT be stored within the Virtual Machine

Data should not be stored within the VM, as there is no good mechanism for backing up data stored in it. To make it easy to store data on your host machine, the student and administrative staff VMs have been configured so that when you access My Documents or the Desktop, you are accessing the Documents and Desktop of your Macintosh. This is called mirroring, and it allows data to be stored on the host machine, where it can be included in regular backups.

Caution: Files deleted from the Virtual Machine Desktop or My Documents folder will be deleted from the Macintosh Desktop or Documents folder as well.