Difference between revisions of "Core"

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{{versioninfo|710Status=Relevant info|710UpdatedDate=2nd June 2011|710UpdatedBy=purps|810Status=Relevant info|810UpdatedDate=2nd June 2011|810UpdatedBy=purps}}
 
{{versioninfo|710Status=Relevant info|710UpdatedDate=2nd June 2011|710UpdatedBy=purps|810Status=Relevant info|810UpdatedDate=2nd June 2011|810UpdatedBy=purps}}
 
[[Category: Cores| ]]
 
[[Category: Cores| ]]
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{{toc}}
  
'''Core''' is the term given to the main LinuxMCE server in your home automation/multimedia network.
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==== The LinuxMCE Core server ====
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A Core is a single dedicated PC acting as a server that interacts with all the components of the system. This is the most important component of a LinuxMCE system since it runs all of the primary applications and services. It is the heart and brain of the LinuxMCE system, the main server in your LinuxMCE home automation/multimedia network.  
  
All settings for the network are stored in the Core Server. Even if a device is connected to a [[Media Director]] PC in another part of the house, it is detected by the Core server and information about that device (its location, functions, and options) is stored on the Core.
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The core serves as:
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::* a communications hub for all connected devices
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::* the networking [[Why dual network cards? |router of the multimedia network]]
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::* a PXE server distributing boot images to media players
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::* a storage device for media
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::* the storage location for the configuration of all the devices
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::* a PBX for all connected media directors and IP telephony devices
  
In this way, plug-and-play function is provided throughout the LinuxMCE system for all [[AV devices]] connected anywhere within the system.
 
  
The Core Server provides a standardized [[LinuxMCE Admin Website]] to every Media Director, which can be viewed through a browser on any Media Director. The entire system can therefore be administered from any Media Director.
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[[Image:Diagram1.jpg|200px|right]]
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The Core is the central point of the LinuxMCE system. It runs applications and daemons needed for the other devices to exchange messages.  
  
This allows the Core Server to be "headless" (i.e. without a monitor, keyboard, mouse, or any other input or output device), if desired. It is a true server.
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{{p}}
  
The Core PC is also able to provide standardised [[netboot]] services to the Media Directors on the home network. In this way, the Media Director PCs do not require their own OS and can act essentially as thin clients. System administration and updates are therefore much easier, as only the Core software needs to be upgraded.
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== Centralized configuration and administration ==
  
==Hardware requirements==
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==== Configurations ====
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All the settings are stored in the Core Server, including network settings and device configurations.
  
Because the Core handles processing for the whole network, it should be the "brawniest" PC in regards to processing power. A dual-core 64 bit processor with a lot of RAM is very nice to have in the Core Server.
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Each component's location, functions, and options are stored on the Core. This enables plug-and-play operation throughout the LinuxMCE system for all [[AV devices]] connected anywhere within the system, even when connected to another - such as a [[Media Director]] PC in another part of the house. Although the [[AV devices]] are connected to the Media Director(s), they are nevertheless managed by the Core. <br>
  
Since a Core can be hidden in a closet (or in the garage or basement somewhere) and therefore does not need to be in your living room (unless it is functioning as a [[hybrid]]), fan noise is usually not an issue.
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In the [[LinuxMCE Admin Website|LinuxMCE Admin]] panel, A/V devices settings are specified separately from the settings of the Media Directors to which they are connected. This is done because the Core individually keeps track of the controls and settings of every device on the system.  
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{{p}}
  
The Core PC does require a large amount of storage. This can be large capacity internal hard drives, a large capacity external hard drive, or even perhaps a [[NAS]] (network-attached storage) device, that is accessible by being connected somewhere on the home automation/multimedia network.
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==== Administration ====
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The Core Server provides a standardized [[LinuxMCE Admin Website]] accessible via web browser from any Media Director. Since all devices part of the LinuxMCE network are listed and configured on the Core, the entire system can be administered from any Media Director, and you can run the Core Server without a monitor, keyboard, mouse or any other input or output device if you choose to do so. It is a true server. In this configuration, the server is said to be running "'''[[headless]]'''".
  
Of course you need a DVD/CD drive (at least for software installation -- grin)!
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{{p}}
  
The Core should have 2 NICs (network interface cards) -- one for connecting to an "external" network (such as your cable modem, DSL modem, or home LAN router) and one for connecting to the "internal"  home automation/multimedia network (your LinuxMCE system network).
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== Plug 'n' Play Capabilities ==
  
Further, it is best to have the [[:Category:TV_Cards|TV card]] in the Core server, as well as the [[:Category:Video_Capture_Boards|video capture board]] for any surveillance [[:Category:Cameras|cameras]]. A [[Automation|home automation]] interface is usually attached to the Core as well. Therefore, a PC to be used as a Core must have plenty of expansion slots, and cooling fans proportionate to the load.  
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Once LinuxMCE is installed, you can treat it like an appliance -- plug it in, turn it on, and leave it alone. You don't even need to install any software on the media PCs that will be used as [[Media Directors]]. If these PCs are connected to the Core by wired Ethernet, they can usually be set to [[Network Boot for Media Directors|boot LinuxMCE from the Core server over the network]] whenever you want to use them as a Media Directors. The rest of the time they can be used as a regular PCs, using whatever operating system is already on their hard drives.
  
Output and sound cards are relatively unimportant for the Core, because output is usually channeled through the Media Director PCs.
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For this to work, it is recommended to have [[Why dual network cards?|two Network Interface Cards]] in the Core -- one to connect to the "external" network (which can be your home LAN or simply your Internet connection), and one for the "internal" LinuxMCE network (to which all your LinuxMCE devices are connected). All devices on the LinuxMCE LAN are considered "internal", and any device on your home LAN is considered "external". The Core serves as a bridge between the LinuxMCE LAN and the internet when internet access is requested by LinuxMCE (internal) devices. The LinuxMCE Core server effectively acts as both the DHCP server and the firewall for the "internal" LinuxMCE network. <br>
  
Nevertheless, some home automation/multimedia systems channel output through a central whole-house multi-channel amplifier which is connected directly to the Core. If you plan to do this, make the Core into a [[hybrid]], instead, and fit a good (nVidia) [[:Category:Video|graphics]] card and a good [[:Category:Soundcards|sound card]] (with surround sound jacks -- 5.1, 7.1, or even 11.1).
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To recognize each device and send it the necessary software, it is necessary that the LinuxMCE Core read and answer DHCP requests. It needs to be '''the only DHCP server within your LinuxMCE internal network''', in order to offer both plug-and-play and network boot services. You can keep a DHCP server on your home (external) LAN as long as its relationship with the Core is the Core's "external" Network Interface Card, but the Core should be the only device to serve DHCP within the internal network.  
  
===Example PCs used as Core servers=== 
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Note that you can easily have PCs outside of the LinuxMCE internal network, if you choose. Simply connect them to the external network, rather than the internal LinuxMCE network. <br>
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Alternatively, you can choose to have all PCs in your house be part of the LinuxMCE network. In this case the Core server provides DHCP and firewall services for your entire home LAN, and all you computers can be used as [[Orbiters|remote controls]].
  
See the [[:Category:Cores|Core Category]] for examples of PCs used as Core Servers.
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{{p}}
  
===A Dedicated Core===
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==== Netboot services ====
[[Image:Diagram1.jpg|200px|right]]
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With all the settings for Media Directors and all other devices centrally stored, it is possible to [[netboot]] devices from the Core. The Core PC provides standardized [[netboot]] services on the network. It listens for and auto configures all sorts of devices, including network audio players (e.g. Squeeze Box), IP phones and cameras, and Media Director PCs. <br>
The Core is the central point of the LinuxMCE system and runs applications and daemons needed for the other devices to exchange messages. A dedicated core will run only backend applications and will not provide any frontend, except the web interface. This means it won't act as a media center. You'll need to use Media Directors to be able to play movies, listen to music and watch TV. This kind of setup is recommended when you have plenty of extra devices; this way the backend applications will have full access to the Core's resources.
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The Core server detects each device and makes it accessible to all the other components. With this plug-and-play back-end, the Core can automatically provide a network boot to thin-client PCs, and issue them the OS necessary to turn them into [[Media Directors]]. <br>
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System administration and updates are easy since only the software stored on the Core needs to be upgraded.
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{{p}}
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== Core PC hardware selection guide ==
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To learn about the PC components necessary in a Core, read the [[Core - Hardware selection primer]]
  
This was easy to achieve in 0710 as there was a very handy dialogue box that allows you to switch between core and hybrid. It is however possible in 0810 by disabling AutoStartMedia in "/etc/pluto.conf".
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{{p}}

Revision as of 03:53, 20 October 2012

Version Status Date Updated Updated By
710 Relevant info 2nd June 2011 purps
810 Relevant info 2nd June 2011 purps
1004 Unknown N/A N/A
1204 Unknown N/A N/A
1404 Unknown N/A N/A
Usage Information

The LinuxMCE Core server

A Core is a single dedicated PC acting as a server that interacts with all the components of the system. This is the most important component of a LinuxMCE system since it runs all of the primary applications and services. It is the heart and brain of the LinuxMCE system, the main server in your LinuxMCE home automation/multimedia network.

The core serves as:

  • a communications hub for all connected devices
  • the networking router of the multimedia network
  • a PXE server distributing boot images to media players
  • a storage device for media
  • the storage location for the configuration of all the devices
  • a PBX for all connected media directors and IP telephony devices


Diagram1.jpg

The Core is the central point of the LinuxMCE system. It runs applications and daemons needed for the other devices to exchange messages.



Centralized configuration and administration

Configurations

All the settings are stored in the Core Server, including network settings and device configurations.

Each component's location, functions, and options are stored on the Core. This enables plug-and-play operation throughout the LinuxMCE system for all AV devices connected anywhere within the system, even when connected to another - such as a Media Director PC in another part of the house. Although the AV devices are connected to the Media Director(s), they are nevertheless managed by the Core.

In the LinuxMCE Admin panel, A/V devices settings are specified separately from the settings of the Media Directors to which they are connected. This is done because the Core individually keeps track of the controls and settings of every device on the system.

Administration

The Core Server provides a standardized LinuxMCE Admin Website accessible via web browser from any Media Director. Since all devices part of the LinuxMCE network are listed and configured on the Core, the entire system can be administered from any Media Director, and you can run the Core Server without a monitor, keyboard, mouse or any other input or output device if you choose to do so. It is a true server. In this configuration, the server is said to be running "headless".



Plug 'n' Play Capabilities

Once LinuxMCE is installed, you can treat it like an appliance -- plug it in, turn it on, and leave it alone. You don't even need to install any software on the media PCs that will be used as Media Directors. If these PCs are connected to the Core by wired Ethernet, they can usually be set to boot LinuxMCE from the Core server over the network whenever you want to use them as a Media Directors. The rest of the time they can be used as a regular PCs, using whatever operating system is already on their hard drives.

For this to work, it is recommended to have two Network Interface Cards in the Core -- one to connect to the "external" network (which can be your home LAN or simply your Internet connection), and one for the "internal" LinuxMCE network (to which all your LinuxMCE devices are connected). All devices on the LinuxMCE LAN are considered "internal", and any device on your home LAN is considered "external". The Core serves as a bridge between the LinuxMCE LAN and the internet when internet access is requested by LinuxMCE (internal) devices. The LinuxMCE Core server effectively acts as both the DHCP server and the firewall for the "internal" LinuxMCE network.

To recognize each device and send it the necessary software, it is necessary that the LinuxMCE Core read and answer DHCP requests. It needs to be the only DHCP server within your LinuxMCE internal network, in order to offer both plug-and-play and network boot services. You can keep a DHCP server on your home (external) LAN as long as its relationship with the Core is the Core's "external" Network Interface Card, but the Core should be the only device to serve DHCP within the internal network.

Note that you can easily have PCs outside of the LinuxMCE internal network, if you choose. Simply connect them to the external network, rather than the internal LinuxMCE network.
Alternatively, you can choose to have all PCs in your house be part of the LinuxMCE network. In this case the Core server provides DHCP and firewall services for your entire home LAN, and all you computers can be used as remote controls.



Netboot services

With all the settings for Media Directors and all other devices centrally stored, it is possible to netboot devices from the Core. The Core PC provides standardized netboot services on the network. It listens for and auto configures all sorts of devices, including network audio players (e.g. Squeeze Box), IP phones and cameras, and Media Director PCs.
The Core server detects each device and makes it accessible to all the other components. With this plug-and-play back-end, the Core can automatically provide a network boot to thin-client PCs, and issue them the OS necessary to turn them into Media Directors.
System administration and updates are easy since only the software stored on the Core needs to be upgraded.



Core PC hardware selection guide

To learn about the PC components necessary in a Core, read the Core - Hardware selection primer