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dutsnekcirf

Here's probably a stupid idea...

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I was thinking that it might be cool if my master controller could be running in a virtual machine in my VMware ESXi server.  This way I could allocate as much processing resources (RAM and CPU) I want to the master controller and allow all of my hardware controllers to simply function as slave controllers.  I have no idea how I would do this (VMware vCenter Converter possibly?) and I have no idea what hardware resources are needed for a master controller.  I'm thinking at most it'd need to have access to some sort of Control4 compatible ZigBee controller.

I'm thinking it would improve the speed and responsiveness of my system by offloading whatever processing is performed by the master controller to a more powerful machine.  I could also make use of VMware's Snapshot feature in addition to creating project backups.  Thoughts? Anyone?

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You're right. Stupid idea.

I get the idea of what you're trying to accomplish, but it's likely not worth it even if it could be pulled off.

First of all, you'd need to get access to the software, bypass the security measures in place that identify it, then find a way to somehow ID it into the system (ie develop a driver for it at a level even the best 3rd party developers don't have access to) or somehow fully emulate it as an existing controller. Oh and then there's registering it online so you can stream audio services, have remote access et al. Forget creating a driver, you'll have to emulate, and spoof a MAC of a real controller. Which can't be any controller you use or you can't ID it in the system. And if you use a type of controller, it will eventually be obsolete, and you're redoing all of it to emulated a newer version.

After that you'd likely see ZERO increase in ability as current controllers are already overpowered for almost any system you can throw at them.

Oh and a C4 zigbee card? Not happening, unless you once again develop it yourself. Not that you have to, you could off load that part to a true controller.

You'd likely also have to deal with figuring out a way to deal with the audio side of things for streaming etc. as the master controller ALWAYS handles the audio stream, even if it's not being used as an output device.

 

If you're having responsiveness issues now, the issue is NOT going to be your controller's processing power, unless you've got the wrong controller to begin with (ie an hc250 running a system that should be running on an 800 or EA5).

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2 hours ago, Cyknight said:

somehow fully emulate it as an existing controller

That was my first thought.  I figure that'd be easier than somehow attempting to reverse engineer the software and create a custom Linux build that performs the same task.  But you're right, after doing so, I wouldn't be able to use the original controller from which I derived the image.  Spoofing MAC addresses has never really worked all that well for me anyway.

2 hours ago, Cyknight said:

Oh and then there's registering it online so you can stream audio services, have remote access et al.

I figure if I did indeed accomplish this by emulating the existing controller then this wouldn't be a problem.

2 hours ago, Cyknight said:

And if you use a type of controller, it will eventually be obsolete, and you're redoing all of it to emulated a newer version.

yeah, probably not worth it if the amount of effort involved in creating it is too high.  On the other hand, why bother creating anything at all if you're concerned about it becoming obsolete in the future.

2 hours ago, Cyknight said:

After that you'd likely see ZERO increase in ability as current controllers are already overpowered for almost any system you can throw at them.

That is indeed a very valid point.  My system is not an overly complicated system and I'm not dealing with responsiveness issues at the moment.  My current master controller is indeed an HC-250 and it's working just fine for now.  I guess maybe I'm just always looking for ways to improve things.  And the more likely motivation is that I'm too cheap to upgrade to an EA-3 at this point in time.

2 hours ago, Cyknight said:

Oh and a C4 zigbee card? Not happening, unless you once again develop it yourself. Not that you have to, you could off load that part to a true controller.

Yeah, it had crossed my mind to simply use one of the other controllers as the ZigBee controller.  That would eliminate the need for a fancy C4 ZigBee card.

2 hours ago, Cyknight said:

You'd likely also have to deal with figuring out a way to deal with the audio side of things for streaming etc. as the master controller ALWAYS handles the audio stream, even if it's not being used as an output device.

I don't see how that'd be an issue.  But that probably just means I'm missing some nuance that I'm not aware of.

What would make this all easier is if Control4 created the VMs themselves as Virtual Appliances that could simply be imported into ESXi and then sold a license in order to enable/register them.  They could maintain the upgrade path and provide software updates as needed.  The licenses could make up the difference in profit margin that they receive from selling physical hardware.

Edited by dutsnekcirf
Fixing formatting

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31 minutes ago, dutsnekcirf said:

What would make this all easier is if Control4 created the VMs themselves as Virtual Appliances that could simply be imported into ESXi and then sold a license in order to enable/register them.  They could maintain the upgrade path and provide software updates as needed.  The licenses could make up the difference in profit margin that they receive from selling physical hardware.

I see literally zero motivation for Control4 to actually do this.  It's an interesting thought, but would take a ton of resources for something that wouldn't lead to any additional revenue and could open up a world of hurt on the support side. 

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1 hour ago, mstafford388 said:

I see literally zero motivation for Control4 to actually do this.  It's an interesting thought, but would take a ton of resources for something that wouldn't lead to any additional revenue and could open up a world of hurt on the support side. 

Totally agree Matt

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Several of the ethernet switch vendors allow you to run virtualized workloads on their metal. It would be pretty sweet to just ditch the appliance completely.

I DO see how archaic many C4 dealers are (IR Everything)  and home based technology typically is, but there will be a day it makes sense. It may be a VM running on their own hardware, but the benefits of having it all running in a VM are so huge it will eventually happen.

 

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