IVB\’s Home Theater and Home Automation

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The Value of an “Easily Recreatable HA Config”

Posted by IVB on November 30, 2007

Today’s lesson for Vivek was on the value of building an “easily recreateable config”, and how far I really am from that. I have an idea in here about what I could request of Dean for future CQC versions to hack around some Windows stuff, but that won’t address my XP config issues.

i’m now realizing how much of a non-appliance I deployed for the server. As I posted above, my boot disk died, and given that I had used a P.O.S. non-RAID1 setup, one disk dying = PC dying. If you’re going to do software-based HA, you really need to make sure you get a RAID1 boot disk cuz this *will* happen to you at some point.

Well, in true IVB form I got a wee bit lazy and just used the E6850 3.0GHz Core2Duo I temporarily had in the den. It was supposed to be the new HTPC, but then I would have had a 3way machine swap which would have sucked. So now i’ve got one hell of an overpowered CQC/CCTV server. I’m sure i’ll find a way to eat it up, but damn stuff loads near-instantly. Not that it was slow on the 2.8GHz, but this is a clearly noticeable improvement.

But on to my realization. I was thinking it would be a simple “just name the new machine with the same name as the old one, install the cards & sw, and bada bing”.

Yeah, not quite. I had some glitches:
[u]Workarounds may be possible: [/u]
1) I use CQC for .WAV playback on phone ring or doorbell. But, I used a non-standardized location (C:\Documents and Settings\Vivek\My Documents\My Music). On the new machine, I hadn’t created a “Vivek” user cuz I didn’t think of it at the time.  I changed it and setup a share drive so that now I point to \\cqcmaster\sounds , and that will have my stuff. Still, there’s gotta be a better way. I wonder if I can convince Dean to have a user files section of the \ProgramFiles\CQC directory, or perhaps have CQC store it’s stuff in some other directory and have him create an official “backup CQC config” routine that captures that stuff. Of course, then he’d need to have a “restore CQC config” which puts it back in the same place. 

2) 4) Random XP config settings, like the “sound scheme”, comes defaulted to “windows default”. As I have the HAPC sound-output hooked up to the Elk-amp input, I need it to be “no sound”.  I wonder if the “Files & Settings Transfer Wizard” would have that, and whether it would end up picking up extraneous crap too.

[u]Workarounds unlikely or not easy[/u]
3) The new mobo has 2 COM ports on it, the old one had none. Hence, all my COM ports are different, so I had to drop/add the drivers that were on it. This makes me *really* respect the concept of complete standardization across all machines, with all PCs designed to the maximum that any one PC needs to be at. Or, *always* setup your systems to start with COM3, and use filler serial cards if the mobo doesn’t have a COM1/2.

4) Although I now put a doorbell.wav file in the right place, it’s still not working. Well, I just realized that the default sound device is probably set to the s/pdif out, but I need it to be the stereo headphone jack which is what is hooked up to the Elk speakers. Sigh. It’s 44 degrees outside, and I have to go outside to get to the basement which is where the stuff is, or else I’d go fix it now. Plus it’s night-time, kids are asleep, so I best not muck with the Elk speakers and wake them up.

I’m sure there’s more stuff, but that’s all i’ve hit in 24 hours. 

I was contemplating using a hard-disk imaging program, but I don’t think that route will work for me as I doubt I’d have the same hardware config on any servers given that years would pass and technology would massively improve. I.E., I don’t know how an image of a HD built on a 2.8GHz cpu with no COM ports could even dream of working on a C2D RAID1 for boot PC with 2 COM’s on the mobo.

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