An introduction to Clover Virtual Training Lab
Clover is a powerful SaaS product that offers Virtual IT Labs, seamlessly integrated with most LMS platforms. Clover provides access to virtualized resources, containers and cloud environments for training, distance learning, software development and demonstration.
This document represents an overview of Clover fundamental concepts. The reference below is targeted at those who are new to Virtual Lab concept and helps to understand the overall landscape of Clover.
Here, we offer a consistent outline of the underlying Clover components with pointers to the corresponding documentation, namely:
A Lab Template is a baseline virtual machine or container image that includes the basic operating system and the required tools for your lab. A lab template is prepared by the instructor and then linked to a project or unit. Once available, all learners’ virtual desktops are created from the template already prepared by the instructor. All virtual desktops have the same tools, policies and configurations as the template. A lab template can be used many times over for the purposes of template cloning.
Templates can be imported from the Clover’s catalog that offers a set of pre-installed and pre-configured cloud and docker images including basic operating systems, tools and applications. Instructors can also create their own templates starting from basic or extended templates.
During the template creation, the instructor should determine the Lab image (basic template), the access mode (RDP, SSH, HTTP or ALL), the session duration and specify if the VM is persistent or not.
Cloud based Virtual Labs
Virtual IT Labs launched by Learners from Clover are handled by Virtual Machines (VMs) or Containers (Dockers) running in the Cloud. Both VMs and Dockers are instantiated from Templates.
VMs are running in Openstack based Private or Public Clouds like Rackspace, CityNetwork, Platform9, OVH, Veexhost and so on. Dockers can be offered by Private or Public Kubernetes platforms like Amazon EKS, Google Container Engine and MS Azure. So you need just to choose and bring your own Kubernetes & Openstack based cloud and integrate it in the Clover platform to handle your VLABs.
You can also use the Clover Cloud platform to support your VMs. By using our Cloud platform, you can: 1) Deal with a single technical and commercial representative for both Clover and Cloud platforms, 2) Get faster deployment of Cloud images and templates
A Clover user may be either learner or instructor. A Registered user is anyone (learner or teacher) who has been registered in the Clover platform. A user who has logged into learning platform and passed to Clover (via LTI) or has directly signed in to Clover via SSO, is considered as Registered user.
A Virtual Lab represents a pool of virtual machines or containers launched from one or multiple templates, and associated to a group of users (learners/instructors) belonging to the same classroom or training group. In other words, the Lab is a project that determines the relationship between Templates, Group of learners/teachers and their virtual machines/dockers instantiated from the templates. The Lab name corresponds typically to the LMS course name.
A unit is a part of a Lab that corresponds to a subsection or a component of an LMS course. For instance, Clover Unit corresponds to the OpenEdx Unit or Moodle Activity. If the concept of Unit is not supported in an LMS platform, the Unit name will match the Lab name by default.