Continuing with my suggestions on getting started:
What about additional experience? I'm thinking particularly of image
making and updating, and working through the VCL procedures to set up
groups - e.g. specify which group(s) of accounts can see and use those
images. Privileges are very granular in the VCL architecture, and it is
common for us to give image making privileges to our faculty and/or
their TAs so they can tailor the image(s) used by their classes - and do
this without having to wait on the central staff. (Incidentally, this
decreases the work load on the central staff and so provides another
aspect of savings.)
By the way, have you noticed the incremental approach I'm suggesting?
I have found that this approach often works extremely well, smoothing
the way as well as decreasing costs.
Here, again, the best strategy would be to ask to use somebody else's
VCL and ask for these privileges. This is still best even if there is a
requirement of cost sharing. NC State currently offers this privilege
to other campuses in the UNC System, and sometimes beyond.
We're now at the point where you, and your staff, have used and
experienced the VCL and have decided that you want to try it out in some
pilots to see how it works for you, before you make a decision to commit
to full use in production. So you need to provide a VCL capability to
your students, staff, faculty, whoever will participate in this
How can you do this? Or rather, what is the best way to do this?
You certainly can go to http://cwiki.apache.org/VCL/ and follow the
links to download the VCL code, purchase all the hardware you need and
set up everything.
This is possible, but expensive as well as taking a lot of effort.
I'll continue later with a better approach.