10.1. Introduction to Virtual Machine Pools
A virtual machine pool is a group of virtual machines that are all clones of the same template and that can be used on demand by any user in a given group. Virtual machine pools allow administrators to rapidly configure a set of generalized virtual machines for users.
Users access a virtual machine pool by taking a virtual machine from the pool. When a user takes a virtual machine from a pool, they are provided with any one of the virtual machines in the pool if any are available. That virtual machine will have the same operating system and configuration as that of the template on which the pool was based, but users may not receive the same member of the pool each time they take a virtual machine. Users can also take multiple virtual machines from the same virtual machine pool depending on the configuration of that pool.
Virtual machine pools are stateless by default, meaning that virtual machine data and configuration changes are not persistent across reboots. However, the pool can be configured to be stateful, allowing changes made by a previous user to persist. However, if a user configures console options for a virtual machine taken from a virtual machine pool, those options will be set as the default for that user for that virtual machine pool.
Virtual machines taken from a pool are not stateless when accessed from the Administration Portal. This is because administrators need to be able to write changes to the disk if necessary.
In principle, virtual machines in a pool are started when taken by a user, and shut down when the user is finished. However, virtual machine pools can also contain pre-started virtual machines. Pre-started virtual machines are kept in an up state, and remain idle until they are taken by a user. This allows users to start using such virtual machines immediately, but these virtual machines will consume system resources even while not in use due to being idle.