Chapter 14.  Server Configuration

Table of Contents

14.1. Configuring ThinLinc Servers in a Cluster
14.1.1. Cluster Configuration
14.1.2. Cluster Management
14.2. Server Configuration Parameters
14.2.1. Parameters in /vsmagent/
14.2.2. Parameters in /vsmserver/
14.2.3. Parameters in /vsmserver/subclusters/
14.2.4. Parameters in /vsm/
14.2.5. Parameters in /sessionstart/
14.2.6. Parameters in /shadowing/
14.2.7. Parameters in /tlwebadm/
14.2.8. Parameters in /webaccess/
14.3. Configuring Logging on ThinLinc servers
14.3.1. ThinLinc server components
14.3.2. Per-Session Logging
14.4. Customizing the User's Session
14.4.1. Session startup - the big picture
14.4.2. Session startup on VSM Agent
14.4.3. Profiles and the standard xstartup.default file.
14.4.4. Session Startup with a Client Supplied Start Program
14.4.5. Configuring available profiles
14.4.6. Configuring different Linux Desktops based on the selected profile
14.4.7. Speeding up Session Startup
14.4.8. Configuring the language environment on the server based on the client language
14.5. Limiting Lifetime of ThinLinc Sessions

14.1.  Configuring ThinLinc Servers in a Cluster

In this section, we will describe how to configure a ThinLinc cluster with multiple agent servers to allow load-balancing and redundancy.


This section does not address configuration of high availability (HA). For information on configuring your ThinLinc cluster for high availability, see Chapter 6, High Availability (HA) .

A ThinLinc cluster consists of one master server (or multiple master servers in a HA configuration) with multiple agent servers grouped into subclusters. While ThinLinc in its simplest configuration may be run with both the master and agent installed on the same machine, running ThinLinc in a cluster configuration conveys numerous advantages:

  1. A cluster configuration allows automatic load-balancing of sessions across multiple agents

  2. Having multiple agents offers redundancy; for example, if one agent goes down or is taken out of service for maintenance, other agents are still available to handle user sessions

  3. A cluster configuration is scalable. Since most of the workload is taken up by the agents and not the master, adding more capacity to your ThinLinc installation is generally as easy as installing one or more new agent servers

14.1.1.  Cluster Configuration

When configuring ThinLinc servers as a cluster, one needs to configure both the master server and the agents. The master server needs configuration for subclusters (even if there is only one agent) and the agents need to know which server is the master for access control.

The configuration parameter /vsmagent/master_hostname for each agent that is included in a ThinLinc cluster should be configured with the address of the master server for the cluster. This gives the master access to communicate with and control the agent server.

Once the master and agents within a cluster are configured, and the vsmagent and vsmserver services have been restarted, these ThinLinc servers will then function as a cluster.  Subclusters

A subcluster is a group of agents. At least one subcluster is always active, even in a single server setup. Each subcluster can serve a specific purpose within the ThinLinc cluster. The dimension for grouping can be chosen at will and could for example be; location, project, application etc.

ThinLinc ships with one default subcluster configuration which is used for creating new sessions by any user. It is allowed to define as many subclusters as needed. Each subcluster can be associated with users and with user groups.

To associate a user with a subcluster, either use the users or groups configuration parameter for the specific subcluster. See Section 14.2.3, “ Parameters in /vsmserver/subclusters/ ” for details on these subcluster configuration parameters.

If a subcluster does have neither user nor group associations configured, it is used as a default subcluster. Users that does not belong to any subcluster, will have their sessions created on the default subcluster. If a user is not associated with a subcluster and there is no default subcluster configured, the user will not be able to logon to the ThinLinc cluster.

Loadbalancing of new sessions is performed using the list of agents defined in the agents parameter within each subcluster.

A subcluster is defined as a folder under the /vsmserver/subclusters/ configuration folder in vsmserver.hconf. The foldername defines a unique subcluster name.

Here follows an example subcluster configuration for a geographic location based grouping of agents:




During the selection process for which subcluster a new session is created on, the following rules apply:

  1. users has precidence over groups . This means that if a user belongs to a group that is associated with subcluster A and the user also is specified in users for subcluster B, the user session will be created on subcluster B.

  2. group has precidence over the default subcluster. This means that if a user belongs to a group that is associated with subcluster B, the user session will be created subcluster B and not on the default subcluster A.

  3. If user does not belong to an associated group nor is explictly specified by users for a subcluster, the new session will be created on the default subcluster.


Try to avoid the following configurations that will result in undefined behaviors for subclusters:

  1. Avoid two subclusters without associated users and groups , eg. default subclusters. It is undefined which of them that will be the default subcluster used for users that are not associated to a specific subcluster.

  2. If a user is a member of two user groups which are used for two different subclusters, it is undefined which subcluster the new session will be created on.

  3. If a user is specifed in users of two different subclusters, it is undefined which subcluster the new session will be created on.

14.1.2.  Cluster Management

When multiple agents have been configured as part of a cluster, it is usually desirable to keep their configurations synchronised. Instead of making the same change seperately on each agent, ThinLinc ships with the tool tl-rsync-all to ensure that configuration changes can be synchronised easily across all agents in a cluster. See Chapter 13, Commands on the ThinLinc Server for more information on how to use this tool.

The tl-rsync-all command should be run on the master server, since it is the master which has the knowledge of which agents there are in the cluster. For this reason, it is often useful to configure the master server as an agent as well, even if it will not be used to host user sessions in general. This allows the master to be used as a "template" agent, where configuration changes can be made and tested by an administrator before pushing them out to the rest of the agents in the cluster. In this way, configuration changes are never made on the agents themselves; rather, the changes are always made on the master server, and then distributed to the agents using tl-rsync-all.

An example of how one might implement such a system is to configure the master server as an agent which only accepts sessions for a single administrative user. The steps to do this are as follows:

  1. Configure the master as an agent too. On a ThinLinc master, the vsmagent service should already have been installed during the ThinLinc installation process; make sure that this service is running.

  2. Create an administrative user, for example tladmin . Give this user administrative privileges if required, i.e. sudo access.

  3. Create a subcluster for the master server and associate administrator user tladmin to it. See following example:


    See Section, “ Subclusters ” for details on subcluster configuration.

  4. Restart the vsmserver service.

In this way, configuration changes are never made on the agents themselves; rather, the changes are always made on the master server, and then tested by logging in as the tladmin user. If successful, these changes are then distributed to the agents using tl-rsync-all.