For cybersecurity, XAMK Virtual Laboratory is so far the most important result for South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences. The platform of the service is located at the CyberLab datacenter in Kotka.
CyberLab is the datacenter of the Degree Programme in Cybersecurity of the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences. A few years ago, a modern CyberLab datacenter was built at South-Eastern University of Applied Sciences for training and project purposes. The datacenter works as an important part of datacenter technology education. Currently the datacenter has 10 servers, which in total have 300 CPU cores, and approximately 3,7 TB of RAM. The datacenter is highly used by XAMK Virtual Laboratory.
XAMK Virtual Laboratory is a cloud service, which only requires users to have a modern web browser with support for HTML5. The browser does not require Java or other plugins/add-ons.
VirtualLab is a virtual laboratory service running on the CyberLab datacenter. VirtualLab is now widely used in cybersecurity- and information networks education, as well as in RDI activities (Research, Development, Innovation). It replaces almost all laboratory work done with physical devices. For example, before a three-person student group had only a few devices to use, but now one student can have a multiple complete virtual “worlds” each including over 20 virtual devices. These are called “laboratories” or “scenarios”. VirtualLab is in heavy use: at the best, the system has had simultaneously nearly 100 users, 250 laboratories, about 2100 active virtual machines and approximately 4900 virtual cables.
Using the VirtualLab
The VirtuaLab can be used from XAMK’s own computers as well as from any device that has a modern HTML5 capable web browser. For example, a student logs into the system from https://virtual.ictlab.fi. Then he/she can reserve up to ten simultaneous scenarios. Each scenario can contain multiple virtual machines, and all virtual machines come with all the cables required for connecting them. Now the student selects which scenario he/she wants to interact with. After that, he/she is greeted with a network topology image containing all the devices included in the scenario. The student can select any device from the topology image by clicking it, and then he/she is taken to a screen that resembles a remote desktop view of the virtual machine.
The VirtualLab system enables the construction of complex virtualized environments that include multiple virtual machines, each with their own operating system. These machines can be servers, workstations, switches, routers, firewalls, and so on. All of these machines can be interacted with and external software can be installed to them. One can create any type of scenario they want, whether it is a offensive- or defensive cybersecurity laboratory or a practice laboratory for datacenter networking.