For professionals who need reactivity and convenience, having a PC that is available on-site 24/7 becomes obvious. However, you must avoid falling into the trap of a cheaply-made machine with a high risk of failure. Therefore, the choice of having reliable and reasonably priced hardware is 50% of the solution. For the OS, you’ll need Microsoft Windows because all your useful software runs on it… as well as all the legitimate fears that come with it. At this point, this solution is not acceptable. We need to rely on a blessed and protected Microsoft Windows environment. That’s why we’re looking at what’s commonly done in the IT world: virtualization.
Hardware: Because the machine runs 24/7, we need to find hardware with the least number of moving parts, the least amount of heat generation, and the least amount of power consumption. We chose the Intel NUC platform, a mini PC that consumes a small amount of power compared to a full-sized PC and has the power of a desktop in a 4×4 form factor..
– Model nuc7i3bnk more info at intel.com
– Intel Core i3 processor
– 8GB RAM
– 250GB m2 SSD storage
– Gigabit ethernet
Software: the machine will run under Linux as host OS. Linux is well-known for its bullet-proof stability and reliability.
TeamViewer access is installed into the Linux host and reserved to the Krika team for administrative and maintenance purposes. Having the Linux host secured ensures that only a qualified person can apply any modifications.
Oracle Virtualbox, installed under Linux, will run a virtual machine of Windows Home Server 2011. This robust Windows environment is ready to host all professional software suites like AMX, Crestron, RTI, C4, Sonos, Lutron… The Windows session comes fully configured, set up, and activated. With dedicated 4GB memory and 2 cores, installing your software takes no longer than on a regular PC.
Remote desktop is activated, and a TeamViewer access is installed by default into the Windows session, however you are free to use your favourite remote access software instead.
Powered by Domotz: A Domotz agent is installed in another virtual machine. Domotz is the Premier Award-Winning Remote Network Monitoring and Management Platform. Domotz allows you to remotely monitor and manage your customer networks to enhance customer service, increase efficiency and improve your bottom line. More info at Domotz.com
> Thanks to Virtualization technology, the Krika One offers a more reliable solution compared to a regular PC for the same purpose.
> Running essential OS and software into isolated virtual machines drastically reduces the risk of freezing the entire machine in case of a software crash.
> Snapshots are regularly backed up in the unit and allow the Windows session to always be remotely recoverable.
> With its separate TeamViewer access, the Krika team can help you solve any potential issues you may face with Windows.
“Oh no, not another computer.
I won’t buy it, I can do it myself!”
That’s what said at first glance our customers who ended-up loving it. Don’t know what we’re talking about? Well, we’re not going to tell yet. All we can say is that this solution is a life-changer, but you must be ready for some own-questioning and dive deeply into your own work philosophy. We know not everybody is ready for serious changes. If you think you’re one of those, you can finish reading here.
Oh, you’re still here? Great! You may have taken one of the most important choices of your professional life (no joke). To guide you thru this first part we would like you to ask yourself those questions, one by one, take the time, sincerely:
“If you don’t have the time for that, just take it.”
Denise, 93 years old, France
- Have you ever had to go to your customer’s place with your own computer to setup devices that needs specific softwares?
- Did you get paid to go there?
- How often do you have to do that ?
- Have you ever tried to save travel by working remotely thru a VPN?
- Did it work?
- Seriously, did it work every time?
- How anxious were you during that operation?
- Did you have to go-back to your customer’s place anyway?
- Did you get paid to go there (again)?
- Have you ever asked your customer to give you a TeamViewer access to his own computer to work remotely?
- What was the reaction of your customer?
- Have you ever bought or built a computer on-the-cheap, left it at your customer’s place just to have a TeamViewer remote access?
- How long did it sustain?
- Did you have to go-back (again) to your customer’s place to fix your own computer left on-site?
- You weren’t paid for that, were you?
- Did that happen at the best moment when you had plenty of free time?
If at least One question made your heart beat faster, or your skin hotter, or even your hands wet, please continue reading, you’ll love it.
We will continue the self-questioning exercise by providing you with some feedback from our customers. Take a deep breath because you may recognize yourself in some of these unpleasant situations.
- That day someone changed the Internet box…
- That day the router reset…
- That day I jeopardized myself like a big boy…
- That day we had to upgrade remotely Lutron and Crestron installations…
- When you don’t know how to set up a VPN…
- When a luxury server is a bit overkill…
- When you know it’s going to be complicated…
That day someone changed the Internet box…
“My customer called me in a panic. Nothing was working anymore in the house except the Internet. When I asked him if somebody had changed something, he told me his son encouraged him to subscribe to another Internet provider that was offering special prices. That’s what happened, a cable guy came, removed the previous box and replaced it with another one without caring about all the settings. The result was catastrophic. All my static IP settings were gone, and all the configurations had to be done again.”
Blaack, Courbevoie, France
What I should have done: I should have gone with an absolute emergency to my customer to set all the static IPs into the box. Problem, I was already in another place 200km/125miles away.
What I did: I connected to the Krika One with TeamViewer, and I was able to log in the Internet box and quickly setup the static IPs.
That day the router reset…
“For an unknow reason, the router reset and lost all configuration. I even lost the VPN and the port forwarding. On-site, the RTI XP3 wasn’t responding to any command.”
Phaselec, Mougins, France
What I should have done: I should have sent with a critical emergency someone to my customer to set all the static IPs into the router. Problem, it was already late and none of my co-workers were available.
What I did: I connected to the Krika One with TeamViewer, and I was able to instantly import the locally backed-up configuration into the router. I took the opportunity to update the RTI XP3 plugged-in USB to the Krika One. The trick was done in less than 7 minutes (including the time it took to recover the password)..
That day I jeopardized myself like a big boy…
“My customer was in the very south of France, and I was connected to the Krika One from my office in the very north of France (about 900km/560miles). I was connected via TeamViewer to the Krika One in order to manage the Control4 configuration using the Composer software installed inside. As we were re-mapping the whole network infrastructure, I set up the static IP of the Krika One to… the wrong submask! After clicking the ‘apply settings,’ I suddenly lost my connection to the Krika One and… bye-bye, adios amigo.”
Arno Domotic, Tourcoing, France
What I should have done: If that was on a classical computer, I would have taken a plane to take control of the computer with a keyboard and mouse to acquire the right IP address, losing 1 day and a lot of money for a 1-minute operation.
What I did: I contacted the Krika support team. They were able to take control of the Krika One using their special access, and they reset it to right IP address.
That day we had to upgrade remotely Lutron and Crestron installations…
“As we’re based in Switzerland, most of our customers are located in the mountains. We’ve already set up VPN to remotely access our customers network, but it was based on weak Internet connections. We knew one day Lutron and Creston would release a major update, and the idea of pushing an update thru those unstable VPNs was making us very nervous.”
Smarthome SA, Gland, Switzerland
What we should have done: We had the choice to take the risk of an interrupted remotely-operated update, pushing the heavy configuration file from our office to our customer, or drive through mountains and snow to visit each customer to push the update from a laptop.
What we did: We connected via TeamViewer to each Krika One installed on every customer and ordered the update from the local file to the local network. When the connection was eventually interrupted, we knew the operation continued proceeding locally.
When you don’t know how to set up a VPN…
“Clearly, we’re not network experts and never will be. We prefer to spend our time on our smart home expertise rather than fighting against things we haven’t really mastered.”
Bonnet, Biarritz, France
What we do: We install all our software (Sonos, C4 Composer and various dedicated softs) into the Krika One. We have a 24/7 access with TeamViewer that’s a very stable and reliable device. There’s no need to touch anything in the router configuration.
When a luxury server is a bit overkill…
“Most of our customers are equipped with AMX, Crestron, Control4. These technologies deserve a proper machine to be administrated. However, we seriously can’t sell a big machine that will be idle 99% of the time.”
Home & Networks, Beaulieu sur mer, France
What we do: The Krika One is powerful enough to run all this software. Small-sized and power-efficient, it’s a perfect solution for our customers at an affordable price.
When you know it’s going to be compliated…
“We have a rather uncompromising customer. He pays us well, but we have to react quickly. Moreover, we regularly face issues with the devices on site.”
Noir et Blanc, Bruxelles, Belgium
What we do: We’ve installed a Krika One with all the necessary software. Thanks to the built-in Domotz agent, we can react whenever an important device faces a problem. We can log-in anytime to reset anything thanks to the IP-controlled power strips.
What do you think? Do any of the stories above remind you of something you’ve ever faced?