Remote access of networked machines

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Icecold
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Remote access of networked machines

Post by Icecold » Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:10 pm

This seemed to make more sense in this subforum since it's not a hardware topic, but I was wondering how most people are controlling the machines on their network or through the internet. If this topic has been covered previously let me know but I couldn't find anything.

Over the years I've used VNC, or Teamviewer, and just connected to the machine and controlled the keyboard and mouse. Teamviewer is nice because it works through the internet and you don't have to worry about SSH'ing in first or a VPN or anything(which you'd need to tunnel VNC through SSH, or use a VPN for it to be secure if not on the local network - don't open normal VNC traffic to the internet). It's not nice because it will quickly flag you as not being 'personal use' if you have a lot of computers. It also seems to work somewhat inconsistently connecting to Windows machines(any time a UAC prompt comes up I have to refresh it a bunch / change the graphics quality back and forth or I get a black screen). VNC works inconsistently for me on Linux, a lot of times it loses connectivity and won't work again until the VNC server is restarted or the machine is. I'm not sure if maybe it's because of the high CPU usage running BOINC projects. The other issue with either is if you do not have a monitor attached on boot up it's almost unbearably slow(like 10+ seconds in between clicks). I've used HDMI dummy plugs to get around that.

Some options that I can think of-

I know X11 forwarding is an option to launch a Linux desktop from a remote machine but I've never used it. I'm not sure if that's a viable option or the pros/cons.

Using SSH and doing everything through command line is an option, but not one I'm necessarily wanting to do, but with being able to run BOINC Manager or BOINC tasks on another machine might not be terrible. I did setup BOINC Tasks for the first time yesterday and it's pretty great. I should have set that up way sooner.

For Windows machines that don't have GPU's Windows RDP is hard to beat. It's fast, it sets the screen resolution to match the client machine, etc. I only have one machine running Windows without a GPU crunching, though, and it's about to be 0, so this isn't viable.

I'm not looking to reinvent the wheel, so I thought you guys may have some suggestions on this. I appreciate the input!

crashtech
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Re: Remote access of networked machines

Post by crashtech » Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:45 pm

Right now I am using AnyDesk. It connects fairly consistently to Linux and Windows machines, but I have had some bad artifacting problems with it. It doesn't nag me about having too many computers, and has proven to be the path of least resistance for me so far. I'd like to graduate to something more sophisticated at some point.

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Re: Remote access of networked machines

Post by Skillz » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:38 pm

I ditched TeamViewer a few months back because I got tired of them flagging me as commercial use. Before it wasn't that difficult to get it over turned, but the last time over a week went by and I still wasn't able to access some of the rigs despite going through the "im using these personally" hoops.

I now use AnyDesk. So far it works just as good as TeamViewer. My only gripe with it is the only way to have an "address book" stored of your rigs is to pay for it. However, as long as you write down (I took pictures of all the rigs on my phone, so I can pull them up remotely with my phone) the numbers you can connect anywhere including over the Internet.

Although once you connect once it usually saves those instances in recent sessions, but I'm not sure how long they remain "recent" and if they will drop out.

When setting them up make sure you set a password on each host to allow unattended access. Otherwise, you'll have to physically be on the remote computer to accept the connection.

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Re: Remote access of networked machines

Post by Icecold » Fri Jan 15, 2021 6:17 am

I appreciate the replies. I rarely need to connect through the internet it's mostly on the local network, but it definitely is nice to be able to connect through the internet when there is a need to. I'll take a look at Anydesk. I was somewhat expecting replies like "Oh man I can't believe you're using Teamviewer(or any remote access program), I use this somewhat complicated setup of _______ and ________ and _______ to manage my machines" but it sounds like having remote console access whether Teamviewer, Anydesk, etc. is what most are doing. Adding Boinctasks has really made things a lot easier to manage, so I'm kind of kicking myself for not doing it sooner, but there are still needs to be on the machine itself such as spinning up extra instances, editing app configs, etc.

I haven't spent a ton of time looking into it but I find this pretty interesting - https://pikvm.org/ IP KVM switches are incredibly expensive compared to a Raspberry Pi and some other basic hardware, I probably wouldn't put it on all machines since it would be fairly cost prohibitive, but there are a few machines where hooking up a monitor to them would be a pretty big pain so it would be nice to have. Almost none of my computers are server motherboards with IPMI or anything like that.

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Re: Remote access of networked machines

Post by crashtech » Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:20 am

The only real problem I have had with AnyDesk is that sometimes it is really laggy, especially at the login screen. Often I have my Mint boxes reject my password because I'm typing too fast. I have to literally type no more than one character per second when this occurs. It's only that bad at the login screen, thankfully.

I forgot to mention that Chome Remote Desktop has worked really well for me between Windows machines, or even from a Linux box to a Windows machine, but have not had good luck getting into a Linux box with it. It's so good that on my Milkyway Windows PCs, that's all I install.

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Re: Remote access of networked machines

Post by Icecold » Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:04 am

I have all my DC machines set to auto ogin and not to lock the computer after any time period. I don't have anything on them other than BOINC so there didn't seem to be any security concerns in doing so. The only performance issues I've had with TeamViewer are mostly related to not having a monitor hooked up which hdmi dummy plugs resolve. I'll probably screw around with X11 forwarding a bit at some point and I'll post here if that seems viable. I'm going to try out Anydesk as well and will look into chrome remote desktop.

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Re: Remote access of networked machines

Post by crashtech » Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:59 pm

Anydesk is the same re dummy monitor plugs

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Re: Remote access of networked machines

Post by Skillz » Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:58 am

What are these "dummy monitor plugs" and why are you using them?

I don't have any dummy plugs on any of my remote machines and they all work just fine. I've only used a monitor on them to initially set them up, but once I did that nothing is plugged into the GPUs.

Also, you can edit the cc_config and app_config files through BOINCTasks.

Just go to the project list column. Select the project you want to edit. Then click Extra > Edit config file (app_config.xml) and a window will pop up allowing you to edit the app_config file.

Do the same thing for the cc_config, but you only need to select the host in the host column.

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Re: Remote access of networked machines

Post by crashtech » Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:12 am

@Skillz, are you simply using SSH or do you use remote desktop software? Typically what you will get without a dummy plug is 640x480 resolution if you remote into the dektop.

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Re: Remote access of networked machines

Post by Icecold » Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:12 am

I'm not sure if these are the exact ones I purchased, but it's what I'm talking about.

It doesn't seem to affect all machines, but especially ones that are Intel onboard video with no other video card run absolutely awful through Teamviewer if they are not booted up with a monitor attached. Like unbearably slow, 10-20 seconds between mouse clicks, etc. slow. In addition, you get a tiny little desktop window since the screen resolution goes to 640x480 or whatever with no monitor attached. These make it appear that there is a 1080p monitor(or whatever resolution the dummy plug is) so that it gets a normal desktop.

On linux, without it you can run xrandr --fb 1280x720 (or whatever you want the resolution to be) from a terminal and it overrides it even with no monitor, you just have to disconnect and reconnect teamviewer. I only use the dummy plugs on machines that run poorly without them, which is mostly but not exclusively Intel onboard video ones.

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Re: Remote access of networked machines

Post by Skillz » Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:43 pm

Ah, I have never ran teamviewer on an Intel HD graphics processor. All my rigs have a GPU of some sort running on it. With that being said.

...I was wrong on that. I do run one system with HD Graphics. I was just checking to make sure my next statement was correct in that you can change the resolution with AnyDesk even if a monitor isn't attached. That's when I realized it's actually running on the Intel HD graphics. Default it runs 1280x800 (or something similar) but I was able to change the resolution to 1920x1200 within' AnyDesk (just changed the settings in Windows using AnyDesk) and it gave me a much bigger window to work with.

I do not experience any slow down with AnyDesk when connected to it.

Also note I am running the CPU at 100% on one project and Collatz on the Intel HD graphics.

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Re: Remote access of networked machines

Post by Icecold » Sat Jan 16, 2021 1:06 pm

There's definitely something more to it than what I've figured out so far since it only affects some machines. The performance with Teamviewer in Windows isn't too bad for me without the HDMI dummy plugs, but it won't let me change the screen resolution unless a monitor was connected during boot or at some point after boot on most of my machines. Otherwise it's stuck at 640x480(or maybe 800x600, I don't remember off hand) and it makes navigating anything in Windows nearly impossible with the resolution so low. Are you using Windows 10?

Connecting to a Linux machine with Teamviewer without the dummy plugs is where I really see terrible performance, when it does have the issue. Some machines seem to be fine without it. The dummy plugs are a cheap solution at least. You can even make one pretty easily with a DVI to VGA adapter and some resisters, if your machine has DVI - https://rumorscity.com/2013/12/06/how-t ... ics-cards/

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Re: Remote access of networked machines

Post by crashtech » Sat Jan 16, 2021 1:11 pm

@Skillz, I'd be interested to know if you can alter resolution when accessing a Linux box.

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Re: Remote access of networked machines

Post by Skillz » Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:42 pm

I will say with TeamViewer I could not change the resolution. It would be stuck on a low resolution. Anydesk I can change it.

The rig I tested it on was running Windows 10, but I'm pretty sure it works on my Windows 7 PC with discrete graphics cards. It runs headless and I have to remote into it often to add new content to Plex. 1080p is the resolution it connects with.

I only use SSH for Linux. I dislike Linux's GUI desktops.

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