How to access virtual machines in the Big Data Lab

There are several ways you can access Virtual Machines (VMs) in the Big Data Lab. VMs can be accessed through the vSphere client, Remote Desktop, or SSH. To access VMs remotely, you must first connect to the Computer Science VPN.
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VMs in the Big Data Lab can be accessed through the vSphere Web Client, vSphere Desktop Client (Windows only), though Remote Desktop Connection (only for Windows VMs), or through SSH (only for Linux VMs). In order to access virtual machines from your laptop, from lab computers outside of Adams and Weed Hall, or from anywhere off campus, you must first connect to the Computer Science VPN. Big Data Lab VMs are subject to the Virtual Machine Policy and the Acceptable Use Guidelines.

Using the vSphere Web Client

  1. Launch a web browser. On computers in Adams 204 or 019, launch Google Chrome (under Applications->Internet, or type “google-chrome” in terminal)
  2. Go to
  3. The vCenter server uses a “self-signed” certificate, so your browser will report an error.

    Mozilla Firefox: click “Advanced”, then press “Add Exception”, and then “Confirm Security Exception

    Google Chrome: click “Advanced” and then click “Proceed to (unsafe)

    Internet Explorer: click “Continue to the website (not recommended)

  4. click “Log in to vSphere Web Client"

  5. If your browser reports a cerificate error, repeat step 3.

  6. login as “students\h700...” with your portal password (same as your Windows password)

  7. from the left navigation sidebar, click “vCenter”, then click “VMs and Templates” to find and access your VMs

  8. Click on the triangles to expand the folders until you see your virtual machines.

  9. Click “Launch Console” to access your VM.

Using the vSphere Desktop Client (Windows Only)

  1. download and install the vSphere Client (

  2. launch the vSphere Client and login as “students<username>” (replace with your Hofstra username)

  3. Check the checkbox for “Install this certificate...” and click “Ignore” at the security warning prompts.

  4. Click “VMs and Templates

  5. Click on the plus signs [+] to expand the folders until you see your virtual machines. Then select the virtual machine you want to control and click the Launch Console button.


  1. Go to

  2. Login with your portal username and password.

  3. Click on the VMs button.

  4. Select the desired VM.

  5. Open the remote console to access the VM.

Remote Desktop Connection

  1. Launch “Remote Desktop Connection” from the Start menu.

  2. Enter the name or IP address of the virtual machine you want to connect to. The name or IP address may be observed in the vSphere Client or provided by your professor.

  3. login to the VM using your windows credentials. Alternatively, you can sign in as another user by clicking more choices. Usually, the username is “admin”, but check with your instructor if you are unsure.

SSH access

Linux VMs can be accessed on the command line through SSH as follows:

ssh user@ip-address

…where ip-address is your VM’s IP address and user is the username of the account on your VM.