NDI Routing, redundancy and failover

We’re frequently asked about redundancy and failover options when using RouteMaster VR to route NDI video. Here’s a look at the issues involved, and suggestions for mitigation.

What happens if my RouteMaster VR system fails or crashes?

Surprisingly little, at first. Your NDI video streams will continue to flow uninterrupted from source to destination, because the data doesn’t pass through the RouteMaster software. However, with RouteMaster down you won’t be able to easily change the routing without manually reconfiguring your NDI receivers to use specific sources.

Can I just restart RouteMaster?

Yes. Restarting RouteMaster won’t interrupt any of the video streams, and the state of the virtual matrix is regularly saved, so RouteMaster will show the correct status when it’s restarted.

Can the restart happen automatically?

Sometimes even the most robust applications can crash due to a bug or glitch. That’s why RouteMaster can be run as a Windows Service, which can be configured to restart automatically in the event of a problem.

What about hardware failures? Can I install RouteMaster on a second PC?

Not directly – and this is really a limitation of NDI. When you configure an NDI device to receive video from RouteMaster, you specify the Machine Name or IP Address of the RouteMaster system. If you run RouteMaster on a second PC it would need a different name and IP address to prevent networking issues, so all your NDI receivers would need reconfiguring when you switch from one RouteMaster to the other.

Does Virtualization help?

Absolutely, and this is what we’d recommend. You can run RouteMaster VR in a Virtual Machine (or as a cloud instance) so the IP Address and Machine name are part of the image. You can’t have multiple copies of the image running concurrently, but spinning up the image on a different machine is fast and easy.

What about synchronization of state and settings?

RouteMaster VR’s state and settings are held in JSON files. You can specify the location of these using a command-line option for RouteMaster .

To simplify the switchover between VM images, you can keep these settings files on a high-availability storage system, or use file synchronization tools to keep them consistent.

Can the failover be completely automated?

Yes, but it’s complicated: One approach is a Windows Server Failover Cluster, but we are currently looking at alternative solutions for this.