Zeck
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Using PiServer with Pi 4

Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:42 pm

Greetings,

I work for a company and recently we have been looking at Raspberry Pi's as an option for kiosks and TV displays around our workplace. We are potentially looking at deploying a large number of Pi's throughout the workplace for various purposes.. We have purchased the new Pi 4's as our go-to for this project and are currently testing a couple. We are now looking into remote management options. This is a huge sticking point as our property is massive (over 1mil square feet). After doing extensive research on management options, I believe PiServer is a great option. I can find plenty of documentation for Pi3B+ models, but not the Pi 4 models. Does PiServer currently work with Pi 4s? Is this something that has not been released for the 4's yet?

Any input appreciated,
Thanks

tweak42
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Re: Using PiServer with Pi 4

Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:21 am

It appears that PiServer boots each remote client via PXE network booting which isn't implemented on the Pi4 yet. PXE for the Pi4 is being worked on though according to the documentation.

https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/piserver/
https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... teeprom.md

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Using PiServer with Pi 4

Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:49 am

Today's blog, Gordon said about a month for net booting code to be ready to go in the boot EEPROM.
But then there will be user found bugs to sort out.
Allow for a month or two?

But who knows, it is software, it might be quicker?
A TCP/IP stack has to fit in that EEPROM with the other stuff needed to boot the Pi4.

Can you make a uSD that does it in the meantime?
Play with something like this?
https://barebox.org/doc/latest/filesystems/nfs.html

Or just use Buster Lite?
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

Zeck
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Re: Using PiServer with Pi 4

Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:44 pm

Thanks for the input. I was afraid that it was just not available yet on the 4's. Just an inconvenience at this point. Knowing that functionality is on it's way is good enough. We are still in the testing phase of this project. By the time we work out remaining end user needs, have a master image prepared, and are ready for early deployment, I'm sure PXE booting will be available by then.

@Gavinmc42: At the current moment, that is a bit over my head. In all honesty, I'm just a lowly intern with zilch experience with Linux systems until a month ago. By chance, I fell into a scenario where I became a lead on a project to test Pi's as a replacement for older tech. I've been learning on-the-fly, adding whatever functionality being requested and making it work on Raspbian. It's been a busy month to say the least. What I have tried so far was installing Debian with Raspbian Desktop onto a desktop machine. I then installed Buster Lite onto a Pi 4 following through on the documentation for the 3B+ just to see if it would work. It did not, after troubleshooting and research on the topic I posted here.

Thanks again for your responses. :)

timrowledge
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Re: Using PiServer with Pi 4

Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:50 pm

If you want to save time it might be worth getting a few 3B+ to do your experiments. They do usb and pxe boot and since time is (often) money in business...
Making Smalltalk on ARM since 1986; making your Scratch better since 2012

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Using PiServer with Pi 4

Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:24 am

If you want to save time it might be worth getting a few 3B+ to do your experiments. They do usb and pxe boot and since time is (often) money in business...
Tim has a good point, grab a 3B+ for testing.
Just be aware the netboot is in ROM and the latest blog video says there can be issues with some devices.
These seem to be mostly USB drives.
The Pi4 has boot EEPROM, if any bugs are found with software the boot can be upgraded.

Welcome to the world of Linux and Pi's, even after 7 years I still know next to zilch ;)
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

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Eitan-UpSwift
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Re: Using PiServer with Pi 4

Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:23 am

Which functionalities are you looking for as part of the management solution?

Either way, I wouldn't downgrade to older models because of a lack of support for specific software (PiServer, in your case).
UpSwift.io - Manage and Control remotely RaspberryPi and IoT devices.

ejolson
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Re: Using PiServer with Pi 4

Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:38 pm

Eitan-UpSwift wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:23 am
Which functionalities are you looking for as part of the management solution?

Either way, I wouldn't downgrade to older models because of a lack of support for specific software (PiServer, in your case).
I agree. The final deployment should consist of only Raspberry Pi 4B and not a single 3B or 3B+ computer.

However, for testing and learning how things work, it may be reasonable to try a couple Pi 3B+ computers, because PXE-style net booting for that model works and is well documented. You then gamble that the Pi 4B will eventually boot in a way that is either plug compatible with the 3B+ or that the differences are minor.

Note that an expert should be able to put together an SD card with a second stage network boot loader that allows reasonable levels of remote administration even now. However, since the foundation has indicated a priority of netboot for the built-in bootloader, then gamboling along without worry developing your own remote infrastructure using the Pi 3 seems reasonable while someone else does the heavy lifting to implement a similar style of network-boot for the Pi 4.

On the other hand, since you've already purchased the Pi 4 computers, getting something to work quickly is likely important. Moreover, if this deployment is for a university campus, then setting up a suitable PXE boot server in every building on every subnet could, in itself, be a headache. In that case and others, it may still be preferable to have a second stage bootloader on the SD card that knows how to fetch the Linux kernel and initial RAM disk remotely through https.

Do you need the dual display capability of the 4B?

epoch1970
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Re: Using PiServer with Pi 4

Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:24 pm

I think the OP said the premises span over 100.000 m2. How many local networks, over such a surface? Bootp does not go across routers unless you help it a lot.
I assume more than a few Pis would be involved. Would a central server scale at reasonable cost?

I would rather consider an OTA solution able to distribute their OS and applications to (more) independent machines. Normally OTA means you roll your own OS, but Mender has seemingly made an effort (never tried it) to automatically convert a Raspbian-based OS into an OTA installable archive.
"S'il n'y a pas de solution, c'est qu'il n'y a pas de problème." Les Shadoks, J. Rouxel

ejolson
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Re: Using PiServer with Pi 4

Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:39 pm

epoch1970 wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:24 pm
I think the OP said the premises span over 100.000 m2. How many local networks, over such a surface? Bootp does not go across routers unless you help it a lot.
I assume more than a few Pis would be involved. Would a central server scale at reasonable cost?
The bigger the deployment the better central administration scales. If 100000 square meters is the size of a single building, it is possible a single subnet is involved, though perhaps with a mask that allows more than 255 connected machines. Even if a second stage boot loader is required, due to the maturity of the software stack, it may be easier to prototype the setup using Pi 3B+ computers rather then the 4B.

Another option is to do nothing more than enable SSH server on the standard Raspbian SD card image for all machines and decide that is enough.

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