There are other chores involved in getting even a small starter VCL
system up to speed.

  Downloading, installing, and learning how to use xCAT for loading
images on "bare metal" blades has to be done.  (I think it still must be
obtained from the xCAT site http://xcat.sourceforge.net/ rather than
being distributed through the Apache Foundation site.)  

  The VCL is based on the common "LAMP" software environment - Linux,
Apache, MySQL, PHP, Perl.  If you don't already work in this
environment, there will be a somewhat longer learning curve.  The
current VCL code uses MySQL for its operational and historical data
storage.  If this is not the RDBMS which you already use, there might be
a small learning curve, or some mods will be required to substitute a
different SQL database. 

  Mess around with your hypervisor of choice, e.g. VMware, Xen, ..., if
you are using one.  (We primarily use VMware when we want to use a
hypervisor.)  If you don't care to use a hypervisor initially, or ever,
then don't. "Bare metal" blades work very well, and are the setup of
choice for apps which will use up most or all of the cpu's capabilities.
However, with the increasing availability and popularity of multicore
processors, it is likely that hypervising is in your future.  But it
certainly doesn't have to be done in the initial stages of operation.

  Interface the VCL with your campus enterprise storage so users can
have their allocated storage visible on their VCL session. (That's
usually easily done by installation of the appropriate client on the
base image.)  Make your own web page "skin" for your institution, it
might as well reflect your institution's look and feel - or multiple
pages for the look and feel of each institution/organization in your
collaborative.

  All of this is needed to get the starter VCL system ready to use.  So
next we'll look at getting started in the realm of use.
-- 
--henry schaffer

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