XBMC "Server" - centralized XBMC management for multiple XBMC devices/platforms?

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wells Offline
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Lightbulb  XBMC "Server" - centralized XBMC management for multiple XBMC devices/platforms?
Post: #1
wells Wrote:Would it be feasible/possible/an interest for an XBMC "Server" this server would be on a local PC or NAS device and would recognize devices that are netbooting , save the device(s) HW settings and run a centralized version of XBMC ala Linuxmce. Or go the way similar to VMWare VDI

This way all of the devices (XBOX's, PC's laptops, Webtablets) would run the same version of XBMC, same settings, fanart/thumbs, profiles etc.)
With the webserver enabled on the "server" (PSP's iphones, smartphones) could be used as remotes to control these devices in different rooms like an ORBITER used HERE

I think this is a logical step in the evolution of the remarkable XBMC cross platform program. More and more people have multliple XBMC devices. I have 3 XBOX's 2 win laptops 2 win PC's and 2 linux PC all running XBMC. So a solution along the lines above would benefit me and others like me greatly.

Can this be done and how?

By no means am I a scripter or developer - but I would like to pitch in if there is anyone willing to work this, I have a networking background.

I posted this yesterday in another thread. I see people asking for syncing features; profile mgmt; userdata updating between multiple boxes; centralized admin; "the ability to watch a movie in one room stop it, then continue where it left off in anothere room". etc on this forum.

Would this be a viable option for the future evolution of XBMC? a Whole home solution, a dedicated server. with "roaming profile" type of features.
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niko7865 Offline
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Post: #2
I think it would be possible on linux at least. Have a 'central' install of xbmc on a pc that is always on, share the userdata folder (through nfs or something) and mount that share on all your other linux xbmc's, then erase the current userdata folder on all of the client xbmc, and replace it with a symbolic link (ln -s) to wherever the 'central' userdata folder is mounted.

Having them all share one userdata folder probably will cause problems if you use more than one xbmc at a time, however it should sync the library/settings/seen&unseen. I think resume data is stored there too, so you could stop a movie on one xbmc, turn it off, go to another one, select that same movie and hit 'resume' and it should start playing from where you left off on the other xbmc.
(This post was last modified: 2009-07-12 14:41 by Gamester17.)
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troutbum Offline
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Post: #3
+1 for this idea, it can be put together in linux with symlinks and server shares, but it would be nice to have this officially supported.

You could essentially designate one install of XBMC as the master DB and userdata directory, When designated as a master XBMC could make the userdata directory when you installed on a second machine you would be able to designate a symlink or pointer to the master install. Would be nice if it could handle concurrent changes and multiple users.
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kraqh3d Offline
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Post: #4
theoretically, the userdata folder could be shared between xbmc systems. the biggest issue is the database. for this to really work, xbmc needs to move away from sqlite to a true database server (mysql, postgre, whatever.) once the database is abstracted away to a pure remote sql connection, this is easy as everything else is just files (xml based settings, or cached thumbnails.) and there would be a trade-off of speed.

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ultrabrutal Offline
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Post: #5
http://trac.xbmc.org/ticket/4826
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wells Offline
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Post: #6
ultrabrutal Wrote:http://trac.xbmc.org/ticket/4826

that would be a great step forward!

I would like to go a step further and have 100% centralized administration, ALL updates/config would be handled on the server.

for example I have numerous XBMC's running on multiple platforms, today beta1 was released. So now I would have to FTP to all of my xboxes, pc's etc. to upgrade. it can be a bit time consuming.

should I open a ticket in TRAC?
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Gamester17 Offline
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Post: #7
Is this suggestion not the same as this?:
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=23314

...and a bit similar to this as well http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=15971 and this one does IMHO seams much more reasonable from my point of view as it sounds more practical to implement, the end-user would simply set one XBMC instance as the 'master' and all the other XBMC instances as read-only 'slaves', then the userdata would synchronize out from the master to the slaves in realtime or update when they boot if they been turned off.

Confused

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Rand Al Thor Offline
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Post: #8
Gamester17 Wrote:userdata would synchronize out from the master to the slaves in realtime or update when they boot if they been turned off.

Confused

Only issue I could see with that is that watched/unwatched wouldn't get updated if you watched a movie on one of the slaves, correct?
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ultrabrutal Offline
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Post: #9
wells, xbmc instances could auto update from the internet. no need for a server here. this would benefit users with only one xbmc
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wells Offline
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Post: #10
First off thanks gamester!

Clearly your search skills are better than mine Wink and from the looks of it you have been fielding similar requests questions for awhile so I apologize if it seems redundant.

to answer your question yes and no??

I have searched these forums and most requests are for the userdata folder to be sync'd up, via a NAS device. My suggestion I believe is different because the system 'XBMC' as a whole would be installed locally on 1 machine and any changes would be made there only. I know it sounds lazy but it gets time consuming.

MY SITUATION:
I have 4 kids, either with a PC or XBOX and a wife with PC and laptop, then my pcs are all running XBMC (this is the best thing since motion pictures itself Big Grin) .
When I make a change to one especially in the realm of new skins and plugins it becomes " I want that too daddy!" so now I spend forever and a day turning them on and updating them.
SOLUTION (maybe):
I would like to only make 1 change on 1 box(server) and when they turn on XBMC the changes will be there because it (an image/snapshot) is being ran from the Server. XBMC is small enough to be ran over LAN via PXE and the media sources still remain on the SAN or NAS device.

@ ULTRABRUTAL -
I forgot... You are absolutely right about the updates auto DL'ing from the interweb it can be done using the t3ch script (I've been having issues getting that to work properly with my setup :sniffleSmile

I hope someone takes on these type of feature requests. As i said before Im willing to help, I just need a "lead" with experience willing to do it.
I think alot of us users would be willing help we just need sound guidance
It seems intense but I believe it can be done. Is it Practical? im not sure. but it would save me (and others) so much time.

Thanks again you guys.

I hope I made "some" sense
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Gamester17 Offline
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Lightbulb  Potential as a commercial solution for hotels, hospitals, airplanes, and...
Post: #11
Rand Al Thor Wrote:
Gamester17 Wrote:userdata would synchronize out from the master to the slaves in realtime or update when they boot if they been turned off.
Only issue I could see with that is that watched/unwatched wouldn't get updated if you watched a movie on one of the slaves, correct?
Correct, but in my head I imagine an XBMC solution like that could have the potential of being made popular as a commercial solution for hotels, hospitals, airplanes, and other internal on-demand TV services, and for those type of solutions they would only need instances of XBMC in which the gets userdata gets restored from the master after use, after a reboot if you may.

Cool

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wells Offline
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Post: #12
Gamester17 Wrote:I imagine an XBMC solution like that could have the potential of being made popular as a commercial solution for hotels, hospitals, airplanes, and other internal on-demand TV services

For this a 'Kiosk' Mode would most definitely need to be established as discussed in other threads, correct?
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Rand Al Thor Offline
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Post: #13
Gamester17 Wrote:Correct, but in my head I imagine an XBMC solution like that could have the potential of being made popular as a commercial solution for hotels, hospitals, airplanes, and other internal on-demand TV services, and for those type of solutions they would only need instances of XBMC in which the gets userdata gets restored from the master after use, after a reboot if you may.

Cool

While I definitely agree with you that this would be the perfect solution for instaces such as Hotel implementation as you mentioned previously where keeping track of watched/unwatched would not make any sense, I would still like to see a way of keeping multiple databases up to date on a smaller scale. For example I will end up having 3-5 instances running in my house with about 3 unique user accounts. It would be nice to centralize and be able to keep at least a small number of xbmc devices synced.

One other thing I wanted to mention on this topic. Keeping the databases centralized is pretty much a given but we should give some thought to guisettings.xml. It should either be left on the individual instance or have some way of making a separate guisettings.xml for each xbmc device NOT just for each user. Some people might have a 1080p monitor in the living room and 4x3 standard def tv in the bedroom. You would definitely want different resolution, skin, etc. Just some thoughts I had been mulling around. Cheers.
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psike Offline
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Post: #14
I'm using XBMC on 2 PC's. My computer is the host for all the movies and the other one use a SMB share.
Is it possible for the other PC to use the same library from my computer, instead of creating another one?
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cellopoly Offline
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Post: #15
I have the same type of setup and I use the XBMC Media Companion to create nfos for all my videos. Then just have XBMC library auto update on load.
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