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Monafly

PC console to control Mac engine-will it work?

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I'm about to retire (hurray!) and pass on my backup duties to a colleague. Our current RS installation is using Mac engine which we plan on continuing, but my replacement sits at a PC, where I ran the console on a Mac. Will he be able to run the console on his PC and control the Mac engine? Can't seem to find the answer in the documentation. 

 

Thanks. 

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As far as I can tell, the Mac "console" is only properly supported with the Mac engine. It can control the Windows engine, but Retro support tells me that's risky, and unsupported. (and can cause corruption)

There is no "console" app for Windows as far as I know.

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I consider this to be a fascinating topic, because it is pretty much the flip side of what Don Lee—under his former "handle" iComputehad suggested to him (by me) at one point as a solution to his problem in another  thread.  At the end of that thread, iCompute was going to try controlling his Retrospect Windows "backup server" from a Retrospect Mac Console—which he had discovered could be done; from the second post in this thread, that evidently turned out to be at least somewhat unsatisfactory  (why didn't he post that outcome in the other thread?).

As explained by DovidBenAvraham in the last sentence of the first paragraph in this section of the current Wikipedia article, there is indeed no Console app for Retrospect Windows.  The second paragraph of this section of the old WP article describes in later-deleted detail some measures that Retrospect Windows administrators have found to get around that difficulty.  And one of those measures gave me a idea.

IMHO what Monafly should try is to effectively do the equivalent of running Retrospect Windows "backup server" via Windows Terminal Services (obsolete name, but it's what is used on pages 434-436 of the Retrospect Windows 12 User's Guide).  However based on a search of the Ars Technica Mac forum, Monafly should not try to do this via Apple Screen Sharing and VNC, because it doesn't work well using a Windows client.  The recommended approach in this post there is to use some version of the RealVNC application.  I have no experience with it, so YMMV.  My idea would be to run the Retrospect Mac Console on the same machine as the Retrospect Mac Engine, install a RealVNC server on that machine, and use a RealVNC client running on Monafly's replacement's Windows PC.  Security?  I've heard of it; presumably so has RealVNC Ltd..

An alternative approach, which I have 1.5 years experience using to control two Macs (one a Digital Audio G4 running OS X 10.3 or OS 9.1) using a single keyboard-videoscreen-mouse, is to buy Monafly's replacement a Mac Mini—to sit somewhere within cable distance of his Windows PC—plus a KVM switch.  The Retrospect Mac Console would run on the Mac Mini, unless Monafly's installation has the Desktop Edition of Retrospect Mac—in which case it might be possible to cable the KVM switch to the "backup server" machine itself instead of a Mac Mini.  The particular model of KVM switch would depend on the connection capabilities of the colleague's video monitor; I use an ATEN CS782DP KVM switch to connect to my DisplayPort-input 27-inch Apple LED Cinema Display (somewhat obsolete, but it's what I inherited).  This approach would work well if the colleague is going to use the Retrospect Console a lot, and it would also make Tim Cook happy if Monafly's installation needs to buy a Mac Mini (insert appropriate smiley here).

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Added link to Wikipedia article on KVM switches

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On 1/3/2018 at 2:10 AM, Lennart_T said:

You could run TeamViewer (or equivalent) to control the Mac "Server" from any PC or Mac.

Of TeamViewer, the OP of the same Ars Technica Mac thread wrote, in a post preceding the one I linked to above,  "Teamviewer is my last resort, simply because it adds another level of complexity and I'd be SOL during an internet outage, even with both machines in the same house. I'd really prefer a simple, LAN-based, client-server model."   That's evidently what RealVNC is.

For the benefit of non-native (or non-American?) English speakers such as Lennart_T, SOL is slang defined here.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
P.S.: Revised single-sentence second prgf. so as not to _directly_ pollute Forums with asterisked-out naughty words

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1 hour ago, Pete said:

OK, skip team viewer and just run a direct screen-share via VLC or the like.

I think Pete's finger slipped.  I don't think he means the VLC media player, but the VNC graphical desktop sharing system.  If  Pete looks at the 2015 Ars Technica thread I linked to, but starting with the OP, he will find that the thread is titled "Any way to improve VNC performance?" for a very obvious reason.  The conclusion of the Ars Mac hive mind by the end of the thread was that RealVNC—which actually uses the RFB protocol—with the proper settings might give much closer to screen-sharing performance than TightVNC running on a Windows machine to access a Mac.

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So, no Windows console. That explains why I couldn't find out anything about that. I will investigate other options, such as a VNC to control the console running on the same Mac as the engine is on. It may be possible to install the Mac engine close enough to the Windows machine to use a KVM or some such. 

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll post back after we've evaluated options and  have decided on a course of action. 

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14 hours ago, Monafly said:

..... I will investigate other options, such as a VNC to control the console running on the same Mac as the engine is on. It may be possible to install the Mac engine close enough to the Windows machine to use a KVM or some such. 

....

Not "a VNC", specifically RealVNC.  You could also consider Chrome Remote Desktop, which was mentioned in an Ars Mac forum discussion of Internet remote viewing solutions.  But the preceding post there mentions TeamViewer, so you might also want to avoid the Internet complications mentioned for that here.

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Why specifically RealVNC as opposed to a VNC? I'm  not super familiar with all the flavors of VNC but have had good luck (Mac controlling Win) with Chicken of the VNC. 

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On 1/16/2018 at 5:22 PM, Monafly said:

Why specifically RealVNC as opposed to a VNC? I'm  not super familiar with all the flavors of VNC but have had good luck (Mac controlling Win) with Chicken of the VNC. 

Monafly,

You're not talking in this thread about Mac controlling Win, but about Win controlling Mac—which is a different story.  All I know is that this Ars Technica Mac forum thread, which I found by using the  Ars Forums search facility, said that Windows-client controllers that actually use the VNC protocol—read the fourth paragraph in the WP article—didn't seem to work well.  The post that ended the thread recommended RealVNC, which actually uses the RFB protocol with some tweaks, as the best non-Internet-dependent application for Win controlling Mac.  I have neither experience using RealVNC, nor do I own stock in the RealVNC company, so YMMV.  See also this (German-based but in English) web page, which is a reference in the WP article.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Corrected link in second sentence to go directly to Ars Forums thread; RealVNV uses RFB with some tweaks; web page in last sentence turns out to be in English but German-based, and is a ref in the WP article

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Monafly,

I've now found that TightVNC has made further improvements in 2016, later than the last post in the Ars Technica thread I linked to above.  The changes in TightVNC 2.8.0 were "Java Viewer: Improved compatibility with built-in server of OS X. Provided a workaround for supporting 8-bit pixel formats (and formats with less than 8 bits) that were represented incorrectly by the OS X",  "Java Viewer: Improved support for OS X, added support for DockerIcon",  and "Java Viewer: Fixed a crash in ZRLE decoder when decompressing data from a built-in server of OS X".  Note that TightVNC 2.8.0 is "limited release, Java Viewer only".

So it looks as if TightVNC might be back in the ballgame.  IMHO it'd be worth trying first, since it doesn't require installing a server on macOS—which RealVNC would.  If it doesn't work, then there's always RealVNC.

This page says of TightVNC "Since the release of UltraVNC the development activities of this version seem to have slowed down somewhat.UltraVNC is here, and says "Its embedded Java Viewer allows you to connect (and make File transfers) from a simple Web Browser on any system supporting Java (Linux, Mac OS...) to an Ultra VNC server."  However that sounds as if you might have to install an UltraVNC server on the Mac running the Console, which doesn't appear to be possible—since the only UltraVNC servers are for various versions of Windows.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
The only UltraVNC servers are for various versions of Windows

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2 hours ago, saskia said:

I use Chrome Remote Desktop between Macs from home to work

saskia,

Presumably you don't have a WAN between your home and your workplace, so you must communicate between them using the Internet—which is what Chrome Remote Desktop uses.  However Monafly, in the OP of this thread, says he/she is retiring and "my replacement sits at a PC".  In this later post, he/she says "It may be possible to install the Mac engine close enough to the Windows machine to use a KVM or some such. "  So why mess with something that requires a functioning Internet connection between the two machines, which is also true of TeamViewer, if a LAN connection at most is sufficient?

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