What is a small starter system?

  One chassis with 4-14 blades will do it, plus some disk storage. (A
few Terabytes of disk storage will take you a long way.)  That's enough
to get a full VCL system running and to do real classes on a pilot
basis. You'll use one blade for a  LAMP server to run the VCL web
interface and MySQL database, another blade for a Management Node, and
the rest for user services.  Even without any virtualization
(hypervising) that will give about 2 to 12 concurrent logins.  It's your
decision whether to start with "bare metal" blades, or to use a
hypervisor.  If you are already familiar with a hypervisor it can be a
reasonable way to start.  If not, "bare metal" has one less

  One chassis is easy to handle, doesn't require any outside network
switches to handle Management Node to blade communications, and lets all
of the VCL software be exercised.  Auth/auth was mentioned above. Your
choice is whether to start with local accounts only, or to interface to
your Identity Management system at first.  An incremental approach is to
start simple - with local-only accounts.  Our experience is that this is
quite acceptable to students who are using the VCL in pilots for
courses.  (I'm a believer in the Hawthorne Effect, q.v., and have found
that faculty and students generally like to exercise productive new

  There are other chores in the course of bringing up the small starter
system which are identical to starting any size system.  So this
learning curve must be climbed, and it makes sense to climb it via this
small starter system.

  Next, details of the "other chores."
--henry schaffer

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