Creating a Terminal Server / NAS Server for gaming

#1 Edited by VACkillers (1075 posts) -

Basically wanting to know if this can even be done? I would love to know if anyone has even tried to do this or has successfully done this? The two major issues im running into is basically how to set one up that would enable games to be run remotely off the server, for a personal LAN or W-LAN room, Which operating systems would be best to have this on, I already know about harddrive speeds and the importance of a Gigabyte speed network card/cables, otherwise I would get some seriously major lag in gaming, but from all the research i've tried to find online, i cannot find a decent tutorial, or even a how-to for gaming use.

After seeing this video here

I saw that this dude uses a synology NAS server, which he has 10 2TB harddrives in it I believe, with all 4 of his PCs running the same game, which made me wonder if he is actually using the synology nas server to hold the games, while he logs into the server via client protocols on the other machines? for me, i have some 200 games or more, and obviously i cannot install every single game on my machine, but on a server like that, i would, and streaming them for lan parties and such would be VERY beneficial instead of having to optain 3 or 4 copies of every game, or having to install the games on every single machine.

At colleges there is no software (ie. ms office) that is installed on the few 100 local machines on the network, its all run via the server, so if anyone has any idea on how to do this, where to start? or even has any experience with terminal servers or NAS servers, i would really appreciate your input on this

#2 Edited by TyCobb (1975 posts) -

Terminal servers are for people running thin clients or for businesses who want people to work internal to the network. Basically it is awesome for people who do work outside the building and not have to have the applications installed on their machine or be connected to the domain. You just get an IP address to connect to the server using RDP. It's a great deal if you can afford the terminal server licenses which are quite expensive. At least it used to be. But this is not what you want to do because you will basically get 10 FPS at the most. I also doubt the video card will be able to handle more than 1 session and the machine will chug trying to constantly try and feed that image over RDP.

All this guy is doing, is running a NAS that has the game files. This just alleviates him from having to install the game on every single computer. You could do this by just getting a NAS and dropping the game files over from the PC it is installed on. Most games will fix the registry once the game.exe runs and since most saves are done on the user's profile, it isn't a problem. This guy still has gaming PCs. They're not dummy thin clients and it has to be that way so the game will run properly. A server trying to run more than one game will just cause the server to slow to a crawl (mainly because of the graphics). He is not logging into any server other than his file server to get the files he needs.

#3 Edited by Aperture_Science (20 posts) -

These are just a bunch of high end pcs but instead of having their own hdds for game storage it's all consolidated into one huge nas, which you would just use symlinks or junction points to point his program files/steam folder at.

This is much more interesting, but I don't think we're quite there interms of software, bandwith & latency. There's always Onlive & Gaikai.

Edit here's the link for the splashtop app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.splashtop.remote.pad.thd&hl=en (nvidia cards only I think)

#4 Edited by VACkillers (1075 posts) -

Thanks a lot for the reply guys, I actually wasn't expecting anyone to come up with a real solution to this to be honest because its a subject that pretty much never gets talked about at all in the industry that much. See the reason why i thought a terminal/nas network might work is because it would be basically the same thing as how ONLIVE works, as that doesn't require anything from the machines that you play the games on except flash, as thats basically whats happening on the onlive servers, they are streams whats happening to your laptops/computers like a video, thus giving new life to seriously old hardware, as they would be able to run todays games like they were using top of the line hardware inside, and thinking about this way, thought it "might" be possible to basically do the same thing on a much smaller scale, like a lan/wan.

As for running at 10FPS, well thats what i was talking about the need for a gigabyte network cards and cable, which you can get off newegg for around 150-180$ unless you go commercial use which are basically a grand each, and yes about the graphics card, i would ave actually at least 3 gfx cards in tri-sli mode, if this was the case and i was actually able to do it, i figured 1 graphics card per game client basically, unless you go with dual card solutions like 3 690s for example, ram probably would consist of around 8GB per game client, so 32GB for around 300$ is cheap and plenty, the shit kick would be CPU, as you would at least need 4 cores per game client for todays game, so a 16 core cpu basically, i would go with AMDs server 16 core cpus, running two of them would give me a total of 32 cores which would also be enough. I've thought long and hard about the hardware issues, and figured all ways around to speed things up, SSDs are usless because you wouldn't be able to match that speed on a regular home network anyway unless you were using militry internet or something haha, so 7200 rpg or some velocirapters or something would work just fine, max FPS you'd prolly get would be around 30FPS though, for most games that acceptable though.

I'd like some clarification though on what you guys were talking about with the NAS servers, and having the game files on the nas server, thats what im wanting to do essentially, so the games dont need to be installed onto the local machines, with the machines still running the games. Are you talking about just installing the games on the NAS server and running the game.exe's from the nas server? or having the games installed on each machine, but keeping the nas server to hold things like maps/mods/saved games? though i dont know how that would work as the local games wouldn't see those mods or additions. If you could explain what you guys meant by that, that would be great!!!

thanks again for the input and that flash app there....

edit : In this video he shows the setup of the synology NAS, but in the OS near the end of the video, it shows his gaming folder aswell, so he is clearly running the games off that server.

#5 Posted by TyCobb (1975 posts) -

The 10FPS example I gave relates to RDP. RDP is slow and 10 FPS was probably generous. OnLive is using proprietary technology which is why you see them selling a product and hardly any competitors.

I think my original post still works in terms of the NAS housing all the games. You just need to install the game on one PC and copy the directory over to the NAS. This is why you need a gigabit switch. All those files need to be able to be accessed quickly in order to help with load times since it is now accessing a network location rather than a sector of the hard drive.

I really don't think the setup you have in mind is going to work. You would really need some custom software to try and delegate and assign certain hardware to the processes. Windows trying to manage your resource is probably going to get in the way. Let me take a step back and say everything I am talking about from here forward is related your terminal server idea. Say you have your server with 4 video cards and the 16 core CPU. You would have to find a way to assign specific cores to specific game instances. Once Windows puts 2 game instances on the same core, you could be screwed performance wise since those processes are now locked to that core. With your video cards acting as 1, you are going to have all your game instances fighting for that card. Even if you don't SLI them together, it is probably going to be quite difficult and a pain in the ass to have each game instance assigned to an individual card. Some games let you choose the adapter, but it has been awhile since I have seen that exposed in the options, so you get to hunt for that setting for every game. Also since you are on a NAS, that setting is global unless the game saves the settings locally to the user profile. Now with that out of the way -- RDP is still going to be the one that shits in your oatmeal and stops it all from being enjoyable. Have you ever heard sound coming from an RDP session? It sucks. It fuckin sucks. Not to mention the nice lag and sometimes audio/video offset.

In the end, it is your money so do what you want.

#6 Posted by VACkillers (1075 posts) -

thanks for the reply Tycobb as for the money i sure as shit dont have a cool 4 grand laying around to try it properly, not yet anyway, i was really just seeing if it was even possible if it could be done really. I know that you can successfully get steam games to work on a NAS network, but i have so many games that aren't on steam it wouldn't be worth it just for steam only games heh, there was even a tutorial how you associate steam and direct it to the NAS location via synology directing software. As for windows trying to manage the resources properly, yes i thought that would definitely be an issue, and i would get 2 16 core cpus, not 1, for a combined total of 32Cores.

With that being said though, yes it would be difficult to associate each core to specific game clients, i just assumed windows would do that automaticly, seems as there was so many cpu cores inside the machine, it really wouldn't be an issue.... If thats the case, how about a Linux setup instead of windows? would work much better with a NAS server setup?

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