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I am going to migrate our current TileCache WMS-T server to a current and up to date GeoServer / GeoWebCache product. We use Mapnik as our rendering back end and I would love to keep it this way. I run several layers written in Mapniks proprietary XML-Styling language... Therefor it would be wise to keep that.

Has anyone done this so far? My idea so far is to run a lightweight WMS Server in front of Mapnik and then use that server to feed my GeoServers Tile storage....

Any other ideas?

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It is possible to "proxy" WMS queries through to an alternative service, using the "Cascading WMS" feature in GeoServer. It is essentially going to look like a store inside GeoServer, but it'll look like a part of GeoServer / GeoWebCache to external users.

That offers a few management advantages, but there are some limitations, given in the documentation page I linked to. It looks like those limitations shouldn't be a problem in your case, except perhaps the authentication issue if your Mapnik server has some authentication lock-down.

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