wisem2540

VM as a desktop replacement - server in rack - Remote possible?

22 posts in this topic Last Reply

Recommended Posts

So here is my dilemma...  

 

I have my current unraid server in a norco case, and racked.  Ideally, I would like to have a workstation somewhere else in the house.  So here are the options I can come up with so far, and I would like some input from my fellow unraiders

 

1. Setup monitor and keyboard/mouse near rack and deal with having to go to the basement every time I want to use it

2. Move Norco case into upstairs office, deal with the noise and heat

3. Move all components out of norco case, into a desktop case, and relocate to office (seems expensive)

 

For the reasons above, these options are not ideal.  I have thought about running long HDMI cables and using an RF keyboard and trying that out.  Is anyone out there doing anything creative with a remote protocol like Spice and a Raspberry Pi?  

 

In my mind, moving to a desktop case would be ridiculously expensive and I could probably just build a desktop PC or buy a cheap laptop for the cost of the conversion.  Any help would be appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post

I have a video editing server in the basement and work in the house. I use  USB and HDMI over cat5e/cat6. I think some transmit up to 300 meters.

Share this post


Link to post
47 minutes ago, 1812 said:

I have a video editing server in the basement and work in the house. I use  USB and HDMI over cat5e/cat6. I think some transmit up to 300 meters.

 

interesting idea.  It looks like I could do this for a little over 100 dollars.  I will definitely give this a try.  Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
13 hours ago, wisem2540 said:

 

interesting idea.  It looks like I could do this for a little over 100 dollars.  I will definitely give this a try.  Thanks

Beware, not all ethernet/hdmi transponders are created equal. Be sure to read recent reviews or get direct model recommendations.

Share this post


Link to post
22 minutes ago, jonathanm said:

Beware, not all ethernet/hdmi transponders are created equal. Be sure to read recent reviews or get direct model recommendations.

 

AND make sure the company has a good warranty program. If it's only 30 days, pass on it. Minimum 1 year.

Share this post


Link to post

Regarding thin client solutions I actually have a Raspberry Pi3 connected to my TV, and I can RDP from that to a Windows VM running on unRAID.  A Sharon Bluetooth keyboard/trackpad is connected to the Pi via Bluetooth.    Graphics performance is not that great (I.e. not suitable for gaming), but for productivity apps it works fine and costs virtually nothing to implement.   I guess you could use a similar solution with a Pi plugged into a free-standing monitor instead of the TV for a desktop environment.

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, itimpi said:

Regarding thin client solutions I actually have a Raspberry Pi3 connected to my TV, and I can RDP from that to a Windows VM running on unRAID.  A Sharon Bluetooth keyboard/trackpad is connected to the Pi via Bluetooth.    Graphics performance is not that great (I.e. not suitable for gaming), but for productivity apps it works fine and costs virtually nothing to implement.   I guess you could use a similar solution with a Pi plugged into a free-standing monitor instead of the TV for a desktop environment.

 

Be interested to know what you're running on the RPi to do this.  I've always found RDP clients on Linux a bit lacklustre in comparison to the performance with MS's own RDP client.

Share this post


Link to post
9 minutes ago, CHBMB said:

 

Be interested to know what you're running on the RPi to do this.  I've always found RDP clients on Linux a bit lacklustre in comparison to the performance with MS's own RDP client.

I use remmina although I believe there are quite a few alternatives

Share this post


Link to post

Here is the link to the HDMI cable from monoprice that I used. It is self-powered. Not sure how far you have to go, but mine is 50' long and rated to 4k bandwidth (18Gbps) at that length. But you can get up to 100' long.

 

The Ethernet option (at least the one from Monoprice which I considered) requires a dedicated Ethernet cable run (not part of your network) to connect point to point between near the source and near the destination. If you have existing cabling might be a great option! But if you have to run the cable, Ethernet cable may be slightly easier to run than HDMI, but probably similar effort. And the boxes are said to run hot (which sounds concerning). And you still need shorter HDMI cables to connect from the boxes to the source and destination. If you need a long run, it is probably the way to go, but for me, 50' was long enough (including cable routing) and for $45 was a good deal. The cable is directional, but unremarkable (no plugging it in or anything, and no heat at all). The Ethernet cable option could easily be 3x+ that cost by the time you get the boxes, long ethernet cable and the 2 shorter HDMI cables. And extra clutter.

 

For USB, it was a similar story. I got a 32' self-powered USB extension cable from Monoprice for a whopping $8.71. Perfect for a Logitech receiver. They are also available in longer lengths up to 82'.

 

There are also some options for a shared mouse across multiple devices. So if you have an "always on" computer/laptop or maybe even a NUC or lighter weight device, it could act as keyboard/mouse controller for the VM and you'd not need to run any USB cabling. Might take a little work to get it configured.

 

Here are two I found, but haven't played with them.

http://lifehacker.com/254648/how-to-control-multiple-computers-with-a-single-keyboard-and-mouse

http://www.inputdirector.com/

 

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
43 minutes ago, bjp999 said:

And the boxes are said to run hot (which sounds concerning)

 

 

None of mine are hot at all.

Share this post


Link to post

Can you post a link to the ones you bought?

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, bjp999 said:

Can you post a link to the ones you bought?

 

I own these https://www.amazon.com/gofanco-Extender-Ethernet-loop-out-control/dp/B01HHG72J6/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1502063340&sr=8-10&keywords=hdmi+gofanco

 

and these https://www.amazon.com/aCompatible-Extender-Supports-Resolution-Transmitter/dp/B01N41KZ86/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1502063393&sr=1-1&keywords=hdmi+acompatible

 

which are just a different brand of the same Chinese company it appears. I had a close lightning strike to the house take out 2 of the 4 pair I use, but they were replaced with no hassle.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, bjp999 said:

But if you have to run the cable, Ethernet cable may be slightly easier to run than HDMI, but probably similar effort.

It's cleaner to run if you have to penetrate walls or floors, since you only have to drill a hole big enough to put the bare cable through, instead of a 1/2" minimum hole to pass the HDMI connector. Terminations are cleaner too, it's cheap to put a low voltage box with a CAT6 jack, HDMI boxes are available, but more hassle.

 

Plus, if you care about fire regulations, I doubt the HDMI is plenum rated, where CAT6 is easy to find a plenum rated cable.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, 1812 said:

I own these https://www.amazon.com/gofanco-Extender-Ethernet-loop-out-control/dp/B01HHG72J6/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1502063340&sr=8-10&keywords=hdmi+gofanco

 

and these https://www.amazon.com/aCompatible-Extender-Supports-Resolution-Transmitter/dp/B01N41KZ86/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1502063393&sr=1-1&keywords=hdmi+acompatible

 

which are just a different brand of the same Chinese company it appears. I had a close lightning strike to the house take out 2 of the 4 pair I use, but they were replaced with no hassle.

 

If the goal is 1080p, life is a bit easier. I was looking for 4k.

 

Here is the 4k equivalent of what you have ...

https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_id=109&cp_id=10914&cs_id=1091401&p_id=21609&seq=1&format=2

 

32 minutes ago, jonathanm said:

It's cleaner to run if you have to penetrate walls or floors, since you only have to drill a hole big enough to put the bare cable through, instead of a 1/2" minimum hole to pass the HDMI connector. Terminations are cleaner too, it's cheap to put a low voltage box with a CAT6 jack, HDMI boxes are available, but more hassle.

 

Plus, if you care about fire regulations, I doubt the HDMI is plenum rated, where CAT6 is easy to find a plenum rated cable.

 

Agreed, on most counts.

 

Except if you clicked on the link for the HDMI extender cable, you'd see it was CL2 rated. ;-) I have an easy passthrough from my study to my basement. But I have run cable up walls into the attic and then down again, as well as down walls into the basement and up again. Not that tough with a wire puller. Going through walls gets me into WAF issues which is a much bigger challenge and I try VERY hard to avoid!

 

While looking around at Monoprice, I found some wireless HDMI extender options for anyone that can't make wired work.

Share this post


Link to post

Only reason I would never make my working desktop as a vm is' what happens if unraid runs into an issue that requires you to shut it down. Then you don't have a computer to search for a solution.

Share this post


Link to post
6 minutes ago, hernandito said:

Only reason I would never make my working desktop as a vm is' what happens if unraid runs into an issue that requires you to shut it down. Then you don't have a computer to search for a solution.

Smartphone / tablet?

 

I agree with the premise, I don't think KVM and by extension unraid's VM management is mature enough to rely on for a must work situation. I use a VM for my business bookkeeping, but i have an identical VM on a different unraid server in a different physical location for redundancy if I have an issue. The data file is backed up to yet another unraid server, so I can access my backup from either VM or another physical machine if needed.

Share this post


Link to post
1 minute ago, jonathanm said:

Smartphone / tablet?

 

 

 

'Try copying a file through iOS to a thumb drive; you want to pull your hair out.

 

I rely a lot on a thumb drive that boots a semi persistent PartedMagic. With it I can read array drives, test them, try to recover data, etc. I run it on my real desktop, and also boot windows or Mac OS. I have a swapable hdd drive cage. Very handy.

Share this post


Link to post
48 minutes ago, hernandito said:

Only reason I would never make my working desktop as a vm is' what happens if unraid runs into an issue that requires you to shut it down. Then you don't have a computer to search for a solution.

 

I have several computers including my recently decommissioned workstation (sitting unplugged waiting for an emergency),, NUCs (mostly running as media players but one has dual boot with a thin Windows install that I use when I travel), and a Surface Pro. Plus my work laptop. Should my server die or experience heavy downtime, those would more than suffice. I can do read only mounts of specific array disks in my backup server as necessary to access important files.

Share this post


Link to post

I have 50 and 65 foot HDMI cables from my server to various spots in my house and transmit 4k content just fine. The only place I struggled was with my gaming monitor, which requires a DVI cable to achieve 144hz@1080p, though I think thats a fact of the monitor itself.

 

I use Bluerigger cables from Amazon. For the 65 foot run, I actually have a 50 foot and a 15 foot daisey chained with a simple female/female connector. I know, not ideal. May not work for everyone, etc. But its been working for me for a while now.

Edited by NotYetRated

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


Copyright © 2005-2018 Lime Technology, Inc.
unRAID® is a registered trademark of Lime Technology, Inc.