Adopt a ZENBU

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The ZENBU system is designed for users to work with their data and with their collaborators. Although the convenience of using the online public zenbu http://fantom.gsc.riken.jp/zenbu has many advantages, we understand that some users will want to install a local copy of ZENBU.

ZENBU is available via both open source code and as a fully functional virtual machine.

ZENBU source code

The ZENBU source-code is available on source-forge https://sourceforge.net/projects/zenbu

The full installation instructions are describe in our Installation Guide section of the wiki

ZENBU virtual machine

The ZENBU virtual machine is built using the free VirtualBox virtual machine server https://www.virtualbox.org/ and the Debian linux operating system http://www.debian.org/. The virtual machine ZENBU provides a complete system but without data. Users can use any harddrive for data outside of the virtual environment using the virtual-box shared folder feature. This enables a fully functional ZENBU with user-login, data-upload, data-sharing, and local collaboration. The ZENBU-vm runs as if it were a server on the network and thus allows users to access it using the web browsers on their desktop/laptop machines on their local network.

The ZENBU-vm can be downloaded from the directory http://fantom.gsc.riken.jp/zenbu/vm/ Be warned that the VMs are quite large. The most recent one (2.11.1) is 3.7GB so it will take some time to download.

Even with the zenbu-vm you will still need to perform a few configuration steps. The most difficult is that ZENBU requires an external SMTP email server to send emails. It does not use command line email. ZENBU requires email to create user accounts and validate users. And people can not load data until they have a validated email user account. The other is that you will need an external storage for the data and cache for zenbu. I built the VM with only a minimal 32GB virtual harddrive. You can use the virtualbox shared-folder or configure an external shared disk with NFS or other sharing protocol.

There is a README that explains the steps for finishing installation of the zenbu-vm http://fantom.gsc.riken.jp/zenbu/vm/debian8_zenbu_server_2.11.1/readme

Current specifications of the ZENBU-vm v2.11.1 (build 2017-1-25)

  • Debian8 jessie stable linux operating system
  • VirtualBox Version 5.1.14 r112924 (Qt5.6.2)
  • ZENBU version 2.11.1
  • root virtual hard drive is only 32GB so must be configured with virtualbox shared-folder or external NFS shared disk.


Some other points of interest

  • runs very well on a laptop as a personal-zenbu or as a multi-user server
  • use external zenbu_data folder for data/caches and thus no limits to data loading
  • users can use their web browser of choice on your laptop/desktop. No need to use the web browser inside the virtual machine.
  • if virtual-machine is running on a network, then other users can access the virtual machine from their laptops
  • data is mounted via 'shared folder' zenbu_data which means is uses a directory outside the virtual-machine. This means the data directory can be whatever size of the external harddrives on the laptop/server. On a laptop this shared-folder could be several 100GB in size, or an external USB harddive of several TBs. But if the ZENBU-vm is running on a vm-server, the shared_folder can just as easily be a 20TB network-attached-storage device. This is where all user-uploads and caches go. no limits to how much data you can load into the virtual machine. same as a real server install. will not be limited by the 8GB root drive of the virtual machine.
  • internal mysql5 server for user, configs, sessions (not data nor cache). But possible to reconfigure using an external mysql-server if someone wants install this VM on a server.

Please contact jessica.severin@riken.jp if you have troubles or other questions about using the zenbu-vm