Demo or Evaluation

In the following tutorial we’ll walk through spinning up Dataverse in containers for demo or evaluation purposes.


First, let’s confirm that we can get Dataverse running on your system.

  • Download compose.yml

  • Run docker compose up in the directory where you put compose.yml

  • Visit http://localhost:8080 and try logging in:

    • username: dataverseAdmin

    • password: admin1

If you can log in, great! Please continue through the tutorial. If you have any trouble, please consult the sections below on troubleshooting and getting help.

Stopping and Starting the Containers

Let’s practice stopping the containers and starting them up again. Your data, stored in a directory called data, will remain intact

To stop the containers hit Ctrl-c (hold down the Ctrl key and then hit the c key).

To start the containers, run docker compose up.

Deleting Data and Starting Over

Again, data related to your Dataverse installation such as the database is stored in a directory called data that gets created in the directory where you ran docker compose commands.

You may reach a point during your demo or evaluation that you’d like to start over with a fresh database. Simply make sure the containers are not running and then remove the data directory. Now, as before, you can run docker compose up to spin up the containers.

Setting Up for a Demo

Now that you are familiar with the basics of running Dataverse in containers, let’s move on to a better setup for a demo or evaluation.

Starting Fresh

For this exercise, please start fresh by stopping all containers and removing the data directory.

Creating and Running a Demo Persona

Previously we used the “dev” persona to bootstrap Dataverse, but for security reasons, we should create a persona more suited to demos and evaluations.

Edit the compose.yml file and look for the following section.

  container_name: "bootstrap"
  image: gdcc/configbaker:alpha
  restart: "no"
    - TIMEOUT=3m
    - dev
    #- demo
  #  - ./demo:/scripts/bootstrap/demo
    - dataverse

Comment out “dev” and uncomment “demo”.

Uncomment the “volumes” section.

Create a directory called “demo” and copy into it. You are welcome to edit this demo init script, customizing the final message, for example.

Note that the init script contains a key for using the admin API once it is blocked. You should change it in the script from “unblockme” to something only you know.

Now run docker compose up. The “bootstrap” container should exit with the message from the init script and Dataverse should be running on http://localhost:8080 as before during the quickstart exercise.

One of the main differences between the “dev” persona and our new “demo” persona is that we are now running the setup-all script without the --insecure flag. This makes our installation more secure, though it does block “admin” APIs that are useful for configuration.

Smoke Testing

At this point, please try the following basic operations within your installation:

  • logging in as dataverseAdmin (password “admin1”)

  • publishing the “root” collection (dataverse)

  • creating a collection

  • creating a dataset

  • uploading a data file

  • publishing the dataset

If anything isn’t working, please see the sections below on troubleshooting, giving feedback, and getting help.

Further Configuration

Now that we’ve verified through a smoke test that basic operations are working, let’s configure our installation of Dataverse.

Please refer to the Configuration section of the Installation Guide for various configuration options.

Below we’ll explain some specifics for configuration in containers.

JVM Options/MicroProfile Config

JVM Options can be configured under JVM_ARGS in the compose.yml file. Here’s an example:


Some JVM options can be configured as environment variables. For example, you can configure the database host like this:


We are in the process of making more JVM options configurable as environment variables. Look for the term “MicroProfile Config” in under Configuration in the Installation Guide to know if you can use them this way.

Please note that for a few environment variables (the ones that start with %ct in, you have to prepend _CT_ to make, for example, _CT_DATAVERSE_SITEURL. We are working on a fix for this in

There is a final way to configure JVM options that we plan to deprecate once all JVM options have been converted to MicroProfile Config. Look for “magic trick” under “tunables” at Dataverse Application Image for more information.

Database Settings

Generally, you should be able to look at the list of Database Settings and configure them but the “demo” persona above secured your installation to the point that you’ll need an “unblock key” to access the “admin” API and change database settings.

In the example below of configuring :FooterCopyright we use the default unblock key of “unblockme” but you should use the key you set above.

curl -X PUT -d ", My Org" "http://localhost:8080/api/admin/settings/:FooterCopyright?unblock-key=unblockme"

One you make this change it should be visible in the copyright in the bottom left of every page.

Next Steps

From here, you are encouraged to continue poking around, configuring, and testing. You probably spend a lot of time reading the Configuration section of the Installation Guide.

Please consider giving feedback using the methods described below. Good luck with your demo!

About the Containers

Now that you’ve gone through the tutorial, you might be interested in the various containers you’ve spun up and what they do.

Container List

If you run docker ps, you’ll see that multiple containers are spun up in a demo or evaluation. Here are the most important ones:

  • dataverse

  • postgres

  • solr

  • smtp

  • bootstrap

Most are self-explanatory, and correspond to components listed under Prerequisites in the (traditional) Installation Guide, but “bootstrap” refers to Config Baker Image.

Additional containers are used in development (see Development Usage), but for the purposes of a demo or evaluation, fewer moving (sometimes pointy) parts are included.

Tags and Versions

The compose file references a tag called “alpha”, which corresponds to the latest released version of Dataverse. This means that if a release of Dataverse comes out while you are demo’ing or evaluating, the version of Dataverse you are using could change if you do a docker pull. We are aware that there is a desire for tags that correspond to versions to ensure consistency. You are welcome to join the discussion and otherwise get in touch (see Helping with the Containerization Effort). For more on tags, see Supported Image Tags.

Once Dataverse is running, you can check which version you have through the normal methods:


Hardware and Software Requirements

  • 8 GB RAM (if not much else is running)

  • Mac, Linux, or Windows (experimental)

  • Docker

Windows support is experimental but we are very interested in supporting Windows better. Please report bugs (see Helping with the Containerization Effort).

Bootstrapping Did Not Complete

In the compose file, try increasing the timeout for the bootstrap container:

  - TIMEOUT=10m

As described above, you’ll want to stop containers, delete data, and start over with docker compose up. To make sure the increased timeout is in effect, you can run docker logs bootstrap and look for the new value in the output:

Waiting for http://dataverse:8080 to become ready in max 10m.

Wrapping Up

Deleting the Containers and Data

If you no longer need the containers because your demo or evaluation is finished and you want to reclaim disk space, run docker compose down in the directory where you put compose.yml.

You might also want to delete the data directory, as described above.

Giving Feedback

Your feedback is extremely valuable to us! To let us know what you think, please see Helping with the Containerization Effort.

Getting Help

Please do not be shy about reaching out for help. We very much want you to have a pleasant demo or evaluation experience. For ways to contact us, please see Getting Help.