[mythtv-users] YARFA - Tricky architectural decisions
stephen.boddy at btinternet.com
Sun Feb 27 19:42:18 UTC 2005
Apologies if this is a repost. I submitted ages ago, and I've not seen my
YARFA (Yet Another Request For Advice) I'm afraid ;-)
Okay, after months of reading and research, I'm at the crunch time of looking
to actually buy equipment. Unfortunately, because of my home, I'm struggling
a bit with exactly what I put where.
First some details: I'm living in a rented flat. No drilling holes in walls,
floors or ceilings allowed. Both the satellite and terrestrial aerial present
in the living room. I have a phone point (for ADSL) in the front room and the
bedroom. The bedroom is close to a second bedroom that I use as an office. At
the moment my main workstation is in the office along with an IPCop firewall
box with an extension to the bedroom for ADSL.
Now some requirements:
* I obviously want to put at minimum an FE (Frontend) in the living room.
* I want MythWeb (and poss. MythStreamTv) to be available over the net.
* I want to keep just one box permanently on (*cough* koyoto *cough* ;-)
* I want to keep the living room as quiet as possible.
1. Living room box acts as internet gateway, FE & MBE (Master Backend). I then
use Wifi to forward the net to my workstation.
Pros: Simple(r) to build and configure.
I don't need to worry about dimensioning n boxes correctly.
Doesn't require "tricks" on MBE.
Don't have to worry about WOL/nvram/swsusp setup.
Only needs to send limited traffic (internet) over Wifi.
Cons: Means additional HD's in living room for storage (Cooling and
Lose the nice appliance nature of the IPCop FW. (Security)
Extra overhead of acting as gateway/FW.
Living room box always turned on.
2. Living room box acts as FE and SBE (Slave Backend). Office box acts as
internet gateway (poss w/ IPCop), MBE, and NFS fileserver for SBE. Because
I'm not convinced about Wifi for coping with up to 3 streams of data bouncing
around, I'd want to connect with cat5.
Pros: I can increase storage in the MBE without worrying about space &
(I think) I can run IPCop as a Xen domain, keeping that
Keeps the frontend focused on displaying to the user.
Cons: Much more complex to setup.
Need to understand where processing power is needed for all
Might be unable to use Xen, so still lose "appliance" IPCop.
WOL/nvram/swsusp can be hit and miss depending on
Requires cat5 to be run around under the carpet for reliable
I don't think I could use Xen on the first architecture, as I'm pretty sure it
would disrupt the display too much. Whereas using it on the second
architecture's MBE, it wouldn't be critical because all the data is buffered
anyway when passing over the network.
The items I still haven't nailed down in my head:
1. Where does the processing for the heavy tasks take place? i.e. transcoding,
ad-detection etc. We could do with a table like the following in the docs:
function location load
live-tv FE high
transcoding SBE high
ad-detection SBE medium
mythweb MBE low
For the second architecture I have an old 400MHz P-II that could handle
net/db/web. However if the transcoding occurs on the MBE, then it'll be
permanently bogged down, and the powerful frontend will be sitting idle or
2. Do I have to have a capture card in the _master_ backend, or can I have a
bare MBE, and only put my tuners in the SBE? The docs seem to imply the MBE
needs a capture device, but I can't see a reason why they have to be.
If you've gotten this far, well done. I know it was a bit long-winded but the
usual response to most questions is for more info. I'm giving it out
Now all you have to do is give me an opinion/answers. I was favouring the
second split architecture, but having put this down on paper, I'm starting to
lean back to the first single box solution. So, consider me perched on the
fence with a pained look on my face.
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