Computer Science

Lab Resources

VMs in the Big Data Lab

The datacenter in the Big Data Lab provides a cloud computing infrastructure supported by 21 servers with the VMware vSphere platform. VMware vSphere is a virtualization platform for running virtual machines (VMs) in a large scale computing environment. VMs in the Big Data Lab can be managed through the vSphere Client or through OpenNebula. Big Data Lab VMs are subject to the Virtual Machine Policy and the Acceptable Use Guidelines.

vSphere Client

The vSphere web or desktop client is used to access and manage VMs in the Big Data Lab via a vCenter Server. For step-by-step directions on using the vSphere Client, please see How to access virtual machines in the Big Data Lab.


OpenNebula is a free and open source cloud infrastructure management platform that provides a web interface for provisioning and centralized management of virtual machines. OpenNebula's virtual appliance, called vOneCloud, brings OpenNebula to vSphere for a self-service cloud provisioning portal on top of an VMware infrastructure environment.

To access OpenNebula, first connect to the VPN (if you are off campus) and then log into with your Hofstra Portal credentials.

VPN remote access

The Computer Science Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows students and faculty to access resources of the Big Data Lab from off campus over the Internet. Connecting to the VPN requires a compatible VPN client and a client profile from To get started, install the OpenVPN client for Windows or Tunnelblick for macOS.

Git hosting

Git is a free and open source version control system (VCS) widely used for source code management (SCM) in software development. Developed by Linus Torvalds and others in 2005 to aid in the development of the Linux kernel, the unique design and efficiency of Git has made it a popular tool among numerous open-source projects. Git is a command line tool with broad support by many third-party graphical user interface (GUI) frontends.

Students and faculty can store and collaborate on projects at or use GitHub for personal projects. GitHub, a Git repository hosting service that is home to millions of open-source projects, offers free private repository hosting to students through the GitHub Education program.

Please see Getting started with Git for an introduction and setup directions.

Microsoft Dreamspark

Computer Science students and faculty may download software for free through the Microsoft DreamSpark program at the Kivuto portal. The selection of software includes Microsoft Windows, Visual Studio, and various Microsoft Office products. To access the Kivuto portal/OnTheHub webstore, log into the Hofstra Portal and click on the Kivuto icon in the "My Apps" menu.

Microsoft Office

All students can download a copy of Microsoft Office 365 for free from the "My Apps" menu in the Hofstra Portal at the top right-hand side of the page.


Students may install MATLAB and Simulink on up to two personal computers. To obtain MATLAB and Simulink, log into the Hofstra Portal and click on the MATLAB icon in the "My Apps" menu.

Mac minis

The department hosts Mac minis in the Big Data Lab with Xcode for CSC-285 (Mobile Device Programming). Remote access is provided to students enrolled in the course who do not have a personal Mac computer for iOS development. For details, please see How to remote into Mac Minis in the Big Data Lab.