NDI Discovery Server as a Windows Service

The NDI Discovery Server is provided as part of the NDI Tools download. It’s a command-line tool that provides a central ‘registry’ of sources, so they can then be easily detected by other NDI applications. Without it, NDI sources are discovered using mDNS, which is typically slower, less reliable and often impossible to use in cloud environments.

While Rascular’s NDI products don’t require use of a Discovery Server, we definitely recommend using one. There’s no specific configuration in our software – if a Discovery Server is being used, it just needs to be configured in the NDI Access Manager, as usual.

Note that this configuration needs to be set on every PC that’s receiving or generating NDI sources.

You can start the NDI Discovery Server from the command line manually, but it’s much more robust to configure it as a Windows Service, so it can run automatically at startup without user intervention. To do this, we’ll use a tool called NSSM. Other service managers for Windows are available, but this one works well and is free. Download and unzip the most recent version from here:

http://nssm.cc/download

The ‘featured pre-release’ works fine on Windows 11. Open an Administrator command line window in the unzipped folder, and run ./nssm.exe install

Now, set up the path to the Discovery Server application, and give an unique name to the service. I’ve used ‘ndidiscovery’.

In the Details tab, enter a more friendly name and a description.

Finally, click Install Service. You can now use the regular Windows ‘Services’ tool to stop/start the service and specify any other options, including service recovery settings.

That’s it. Other NSSM command line options allow you to edit or remove the service, etc.

Be aware that using a Discovery Server does add a single point of failure to your NDI infrastructure. NDI 5 onwards allows you to configure multiple Discovery Servers, which we’d certainly recommend on any critical installations.