CheapStix

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The CheapStix project was conceived to streamline holding workshops where we demonstrate the features of the OPeNDAP data server and provide tutorials running from basic configuration to advanced customization. The server is built and packaged in a virtual machine along with an operating system and all the other software needed and that 'machine' is run in a free hypervisor from VMware. This provides the attendee with a completely separate computer for use during the workshop - they never have to modify their own computer except to load and run the VM. Since we supply the operating system, complications from OS differences between workshop attendees are eliminated.

The VMs have a second use, however. They also provide a way to run data servers in a variety of environments which normally prove challenging. Examples are environments where the server must serve data that are read-only, where the host can run only the server or where a suitable host OS is not easily available (e.g., where Windows is the only available OS). In each of these cases, data may be exported via Samba or NFS and mounted read-only by the VM. The VM/Server combination can effectively run on any hardware which VMware supports with one of its hypervisors.

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