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Author Topic: Show Critical Computer - Backup  (Read 501 times)

Casey Sharp

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Show Critical Computer - Backup
« on: April 23, 2022, 02:44:51 PM »

Hi all!

I work in a large theatre and we are experimenting with a show control software for control of a slew of things such as projectors, media servers, cameras, fog and other effects, etc... using various protocols including TCP, UDP, OSC, HTTP, DMX, SMPTE LTC, etc... The software is called "Chataigne" if anyone is interested.

My question is not in regards to the software specifically, but the machine it's running on.

In our current situation it's running on a standard Windows 10 computer - we went this route for testing purposes and it's working great so far. However, it's a sub-par machine and we have no redundancy. If the machine goes down we'd be scrambling getting things back up and running - obviously not ideal.

Do any of you have experience setting up redundancy for show-critical machines? Ideally, we would have the project running on 2 machines in sync and if one goes down it would just be a matter of switching a few cables and you're done. Or even better would be 2 machines on the same network and an "auto-failover" would execute if the primary went down. Is there a "proper" way of doing this other than trying to manually configure two Windows machines to be identical?

I'd appreciate any wisdom regarding this!
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Alvaro

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Re: Show Critical Computer - Backup
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2022, 05:33:29 AM »

I know about Hardware solutions that offers this kind of automatic redundancy such as Medialon or even QSC.

Talking about chataigne, i just found this software and the capabilities are awesome.. I guess that is possible to do but some work need to be done:
1) replicate the same show in both machines
2) implement a watchdog protocol so only the master can send the commands, but when the slave unit detects that the master is off it will take the lead.
3) important to manage the IP address of the computers, because the rest of equipment will try to send their commands to the IP of the offline computer (for example: launching a batch that change the slave's IP when detects that the master is offline
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Show Critical Computer - Backup
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2022, 11:55:37 AM »

I know about Hardware solutions that offers this kind of automatic redundancy such as Medialon or even QSC.

Talking about chataigne, i just found this software and the capabilities are awesome.. I guess that is possible to do but some work need to be done:
1) replicate the same show in both machines
2) implement a watchdog protocol so only the master can send the commands, but when the slave unit detects that the master is off it will take the lead.
3) important to manage the IP address of the computers, because the rest of equipment will try to send their commands to the IP of the offline computer (for example: launching a batch that change the slave's IP when detects that the master is offline


There are master?slave IP Protocols that would work better.  However until you change your display name to your real, verifiable, name, per the rules when you signed up (did you think we were kidding?) the thread will be locked. 
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

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Mac Kerr

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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2022, 01:42:44 PM »

I know about Hardware solutions that offers this kind of automatic redundancy such as Medialon or even QSC.

Please go to your profile and change the "Name" field to your real first and last name as required by the posting rules displayed in the header at the top of the section, and in the Site Rules and Suggestions in the Forum Announcements section, and on the registration page when you registered.

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Brian Jojade

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Re: Show Critical Computer - Backup
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2022, 05:12:52 PM »

The 'poor man's' solution is just a 2nd machine running the same software and then if there's an emergency, swap cables to the new machine.  If the budget doesn't allow better solutions and a few seconds of downtime is acceptable, that's the easiest.

True auto failover stuff adds a lot more pieces to the equation and each application running on the machine, input source and output destination needs to be accounted for in the failover process.  Implemented properly, you should be able to take machines on or offline as needed and the show won't be interrupted.
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Brian Jojade

Tim Hite

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Re: Show Critical Computer - Backup
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2022, 03:56:47 AM »

Hi all!

SNIP:::

 TCP, UDP, OSC, HTTP, DMX, SMPTE LTC, etc... The software is called "Chataigne" if anyone is interested.

My question is not in regards to the software specifically, but the machine it's running on.

SNIP:::
sub-par machine and we have no redundancy. If the machine goes down we'd be scrambling getting things back up and running - obviously not ideal.

Do any of you have experience setting up redundancy for show-critical machines?SNIP:::

I'd appreciate any wisdom regarding this!

Chataigne is open source, my first stop would be bringing this up to the developer community. You can't be the only person facing this issue. Developers generally love a good challenge.

Meantime, look at sourcing some reliable hardware, doesn't look like the system spec should be too heavy duty.

If you're going to stay on Windows, Dell XPS 8950 won all the awards this year, consumer reports and CNET and a few others. Available as Dell refurbs for ~$800. Getting redundant hardware seems simple enough.

M1 mac mini would be another solid option. Will likely be a solid computer for a decade if you don't upgrade the OS to a new version.

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Re: Show Critical Computer - Backup
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2022, 03:56:47 AM »


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