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View Full Version : Feature req: BTV networked cluster


jeff_dwork
05-29-2006, 03:47 AM
I want to install BTV on multiple networked machines and have one be the master and the others be record-only slaves. The master looks like BTV does now. Recording slaves don't run the viewscape and don't directly accept connections from link clients.

A link client connects to the master, which handles scheduling recordings. Schedule requests are sent to slaves, which operate like the recording part of BTV, saving shows on local or networked drives. A client request for live tv on a slave tuner is sent to the slave, which starts recording. The master transfers data from the slave's disk to the client in the same way a BTV server now sends a recorded show from a networked drive to a client. It would be ok to require the master to map the local drive of the recording slave.

Here's my tale of woe.

I built a 6 tuner (3x pvr-500mce) system 14 months ago which I probably couldn't reproduce today.

Most motherboards made now don't have enough PCI slots for tuners and disk adapters, especially since Hauppauge still hasn't figured out how to write interrupt sharing code. I spent last week finding out that it's a near miracle that my system worked at all.

I have an Asus A7V600 mb, AthlonXP 2500+, 1 GB memory. The A7V600 has AGP plus 6 PCI slots, 3Com gigE, 2 SATA channels in the VIA southbridge. I had 3 PVR-500 tuners in slots 2, 4 and 6 and a Highpoint RocketRaid 133 in slot 5. Slots 1 and 3 are empty so the tuners don't get too hot. There were 7 drives: 4 IDE on the Highpoint for video library, 2 IDE on mb master for recording and one SATA drive for the OS. All in an Antec Sonata case. After installing the Hauppage drivers from the BTV support link, the system worked great for a year.

Two of the drives lived in the upper 5.25" bays in adapters with little fans on the front, but with the power supply and cables behind, they got warm and one failed, so I got a new case. Of course, I needed more disk space so I also sprung for a new mb and cpu. It's hard to find a motherboard with lots of PCI slots these days - I ended up with an Asus A8V: AGP, 5 PCI, std 2 IDE channels, 2 SATA in sb, Promise controller on the mb with 4 SATA and 1 IDE, Marvell gigE on mb. Case is CoolerMaster CM Stacker 810 with room for 12 drives and lots of fans. (BTW, this case is QUIET, even with all the fans)

First problem: with both channels on the Highpoint card connected, the bios barfs with a message about too much current on the USB channels. Ok, I don't need that channel now, with 3 on the mb and 1 on the Highpoint, I've got enough.

Second problem (the killer): the Hauppauge tuner cannot share an IRQ with anything on the mb except another tuner. With only one disk on the sb IDE (VIA and Promise controllers disabled, Highpoint card not in system), I cannot record on the tuner that shares IRQ with the Marvell gigE. Similar problems when sharing IRQ between tuner and VIA or Promise controllers.
Maybe the tuner works with the Highpoint card, but I need at least 2 of the 3, so I didn't bother testing it.

The miracle is that the A7V600 uses 8 interrupt channels instead of the usual 4. The disk and USB controllers on the mb use the upper 4. The mb LAN and PCI slots use the lower 4. The mb LAN shares an interrupt with one of the tuners, but it works, maybe because it's an old 3Com controller instead of Marvell. The other 5 tuners share IRQ only among themselves

So I now have two computers. VCR is the A7V600 in the Sonata case with 3 dual tuners and two disks (OS and recordings). VLIB is the A8V-Deluxe in the CM case with all the drives. Works ok for now, but when that A7V600 dies, I'm sol.

Can we please have a BTV cluster?

Thanks,
Jeff

Papa Smurph
05-29-2006, 03:31 PM
As extreme (and silly, I guess) as this sounds, I have actually been thinking about a similar setup myself. Network cluster support would almost certianly help me out, but I wonder just how much such a feature would get used by most people. I'm guessing it's not worth Snapstreams time, but it sure would be cool (and TiVo couldn't touch it)!

Fonceur
05-29-2006, 05:00 PM
In addition, once you open up that kind of networked cluster (network encoder as called on a competitor's product), with the appropriate SDK, third party support for other unsupported devices (Firewire, QAM, DVB, etc.) might become easier... ;)

tscales
05-30-2006, 09:08 AM
I'd love it. I have four BTV servers and it is a royal PAIN to get all the shows on all the right boxes. This is such a no brainer.

Khris
05-30-2006, 10:45 AM
but I wonder just how much such a feature would get used by most people. I'm guessing it's not worth Snapstreams time

This is the unfortunate reality.....as cool as it would be, not enough people would utilize the functionality and it wouldn't be worth the R&D time on behalf of SS to develop such a sytem.

nanook105
05-30-2006, 11:29 AM
I have multiple servers (3) and probably wouldn't use this for recording. Now, if there was a way to share the post processing (smartchapter, showsqueeze, etc), then I might be interested. I would also be interested in a combined view of recordings setups (recording jobs, upcoming recordings, conflicts, problem recordings, etc), but just from being able to manage all of my servers from a single point. Sounds like a good plugin/add on (BTV Negociator on Steroids:thumbsup: )

Fonceur
05-30-2006, 12:31 PM
I would also be interested in a combined view of recordings setups (recording jobs, upcoming recordings, conflicts, problem recordings, etc), but just from being able to manage all of my servers from a single point. Sounds like a good plugin/add on (BTV Negociator on Steroids:thumbsup: )

Hmm... Not impossible to do, but I would probably spend a month or two trying to fix what I would break implementing that... ;)

So how many people running more than one server would use that and how many servers are you running? ;)

johnmacd
05-31-2006, 07:41 AM
So how many people running more than one server would use that and how many servers are you running? ;)

I would probably use this. I have 1 server and 1 Link. I would like to be able to add a tuner into the Link machine and have both the server and link work with the same database for recording.

I would also like to see the showsqueeze and compression split acros the network, so that idle computers could do the number crunching.