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"Cluster" - questions

Robert Hercz shared this question 4 years ago
Need Answer

I am trying to find out if creating a Cluster between a Zipatile and a Zipabox is recommended/relevant, and what is to gain if I do so.


I have connected everyting related to security/burglary/alarm etc to the Zipabox which has a battery and a 3G stick, and everything related to lights etc to the Zipatile. I can control devices residing on one controller from rules on the other, by using Virtual devices, if necessary.


As I have not yet played around with cluster and thus no experience, I turn to the Community for advice :-)


Q1: Will I need one Pro license per device, i.e. shell out EUR99 x 2 to connect two devices together to work as one, or do I only need to purchase Pro once?


Q2: If multiple Pro licenses are required, and features I'd like to have are added more than one year from now, will I have to purchase a new Pro Licenses for a year for each controller in the Cluster, in order to add the new feature?


Q3: Will the devices in the cluster communicate locally when both are on the same LAN, or do they require external connectivity to communicate?


Q4: Which are, in the Community's opinion, the best arguments for establishing a cluster between two controllers or more in the same house (except for the obvious extended Z-wave range, if controllers are placed at a distance)

Comments (5)

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Interesting questions, as I thought about mounting an iPad to the wall (running only the Zipato app) as a touch controller alternative.

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Hello Robert,


This is a good topic, and I'm sure many users wonder the same thing. I have one zipabox connected to all my devices (same reason, battery backup and 3g, zipatile battery is a joke) and two Zipatiles that right know are used as dumb terminals for zipabox accross the house. I have PRO licence but haven't created a cluster, early posts in the community showed quite a few problems with cluster functionality and Zipato stated that cluster should only be attempted on new installations (I think because of the problems it was creating) so I decided to wait until backup functionality is released first, then try it.


A1: YES. I don't like Zipato's licence policy since it created PRO/smart, in my opinion it was much more functional to have the option of buying each protocol required or all of them, there are very few users in this community that use that many protocols. Also I just recently learned (I even opened a ticket to zipato support) that PRO licence is per controller and per USER (if my wife logs to my controllers with his account she cannot use PRO features), to me this doesn't make any sense, and looks like a decision based on money making. I think the licence at least should have to be per controller, its like if every person to fully use Office in your computer would have to pay for it, even though is the same device, and same software.

A2: YES. If you would like to stay current that will cost you $198 per year, per user (if you want all users to have PRO functionality). Quite expensive if you ask me, for let's say 2 or 3 new features per year?

A3: NO. Cluster is a virtual controller that resides on Zipato Cloud, basically after creating the cluster you have to migrate your "general" rules to the cluster (will live on the cloud) and if you loose internet, bye bye cluster and rules. I was thinking about that the other day and I think we would have to make an internet detector rule in order to enable local rules when cluster is down. And no, I wouldn't trust any important rule in the cluster.

A4: That is a good question, to this point (without testing the cluster), it is only the hability of using the built in sensors/gestures/buttons in the zipatiles as part of my home automation. Also could be sharing the load of rules, which can also be achieved as you have it or as I do it, using interlocks between them (numerical messages back and forth). Maybe also the local voice feature (that is not operational yet) on zipatiles, which will give a TTS option to send feedback to the user, i.e. "system failed to arm, etc."


I wouldn't call this "extended zwave range", since you basically will have multiple z-wave networks interacting through internet. There is an option that even zipato has claimed to have on community but I haven't been able to enable and zipato haven't responded me of how to do it since quite a few weeks now is adding a controller as secondary controller in the network, like being a "slave" in the same network and act as a network repeater to all nodes. tecnically you could nativelly control devices from both controllers. However this is just speculation since I haven't been able to add the zipatile to zipabox network or viceversa.

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Alberto,


Thanks for your thoughts. Just to avoid confusion; I believe you are incorrect with regards to the Pro licensing scheme: The license is tied to a controller, not a person. The "skills" and "features" enabled in the Pro license applies to rules creation, protocols etc. These abilities do not change if another person logs on to the controller. Persons, on the other hand, are given different "rights" (contact, tenant etc) although this rights-system is far from ready for the market.

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Not according to Zipato Support and the functionality I have right now. I have two users for myself (for testing purposes) and the wife's. If I log to any box using any other user than the master (in which I have PRO) I cannot use all puzzles, add devices from all protocols, etc.


See screenshot from Zipato support.

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It makes sense to have only one "master/owner/administrator" per Zipato-controller, and to tie *all* rights to this user, but IMO, the Master should be able to grant "full Rule & Device Edit" to another user. Other registered users, though (including my wife and kids) should NEVER EVER get the possibility to mess around with settings, devices or anthing else. Unfortunately, this schema is FAR from completed.

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I think the rights are totally separate than licences, and I agree with you that the right scheme is far from completed. But as you can see on Zipato explanation of PRO below, PRO licence was advertised to be required per controller, no per controller/user. That is why I contacted Zipato support, I thought it was an issue with the provisioning system but you already saw their answer.


https://community.zipato.com/announcement/brand-limit-explanation

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Hi Robert, good question and some good answers, so heres mine. Yes I think it is worth it.

Everyone has a different opinion, even myself I am not 100% sold on the pro licence cost per controller. But I look at it this way.

1. You dont need a Zipatile with pro to use your system. Just think of the Zipatile as a wall tablet like any other. Only cheaper, comes with a wall mount, multiple sensors, and touch buttons. So in fact it is already better value. But if you want the added benefits of SIP, and variables, sensors all shown on the once cluster device without the need of http commands or virtual sensors/devices, then buy the pro licence. the pro licence is aimed at exactly that, professionals. Integrators who want more than one controller to spread the work load, who want a more advanced system, who are spending big money on installations. People that need more support than a community, Zipato support.

Think of it this way, the basic controllers are like buying a bottom of the range BMW, the Pro is aimed at the M series buyers. You pay more, you get better service and products.

2. Yes, if in a years time and your pro licence has run out, you need to purchase again for new features if you need them. But all the services provided to you during this one year period, stay yours for life. Think of it as supporting Zipato to create new supported devices and improve their system. Other companies just ask for a subscription, at least they provide a fairly extensive working system with out one. They need to make a recurring income or they too will fall by the wayside.

3. Controllers in a cluster will work on local connection, as long as the controllers are on the same LAN. Basically a cluster is a virtual controller, that integrates all controllers into one virtual one, this virtual one is now placed on each actual controller. All commands are now done via local http requests. Not to say they cant work via remote either, I have not tried this but I am sure they can also be placed in different locations on different LANs and work as a remote cluster.

4. Why create a cluster? You really dont need to if budget is a concern. Otherwise, mainly to share the load between controllers, have multiple access points and sensors available, Intercom (this in itself is worth the money as you would pay over $100 per tablet for an intercom system) and premium support from Zipato.

While I think per device is a bit high, maybe one $99 first Controller the first then half this for the remaining is fair. But again I look at this as for professionals mainly. Not the average DIY'er, who should be content with just the one controller, you can always go purchase a cheap android tablet, multisensor, wall mount, and double in-wall module.

I know this will upset the people who want things for free or close to, but at the end of the day it is a business that need to generate an income, and the small profit made on a sale of a Zipatile is not enough to support Zipato long term. So please, support Zipato and buy a pro licence and enjoy the system as it should be, dont complain about wanting more for less, thats Vera talk.

Just my opinion, now awaiting yours..........................................


ps didn't know it was per user also, what if the other user is a supervisor? but does make sense, why do other users need the pro features, one user should be enough to enable everything.

Also I thought tenant users were restricted from editing and alarm access is also a right established by the administrator user, at least in my system

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also i forgot to add, it is very handy in creating "one' network where distance or interference would not allow z-wave (or other protocols) devices to talk to each other.

And Zipato will be introducing MQTT support in the future. This will also extend user communication without the need of clustering.

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👍nothing more to say

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@Adrian, Thanks for your comments.

You write "Controllers in a cluster will work on local connection, as long as the controllers are on the same LAN", Can you confirm this for a fact; have you tested this w/o internet connectivity? (This is important to me)

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I always wondered when the discussion started on Clusted interoperatibility for controllers. In an older post Sebastian mentioned that you dont need a cluster if you want to interact from one device (from Zipatile) to Zipabox) where the zipatile internal devices would be available to zipabox. This would mean there is only one controller (zipabox in hypotetic case) that has access to all internal features of the zipatile.

is this possible without setting up virtual switches and sensors and devices?

has anyone any experience in this?

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Hi robert I have not tested it without internet connection, not sure why I haven't actually, but will tomorrow and let you know.

Attila, you will need virtual devices and sensors to take the place of the switches and sensors on the other controller if you do not have a cluster. eg, a zipabox will need a virtual sensor(motion), then when the zipatile detects motion you need a rule to send the http command to the zipabox to activate the virtual sensor, and again for no motion. Like I said, it can be done, just more work. Same can be done for all sensors both ways. So you could create a virtual switch on the zipabox that triggers the screen state on the Zipatile, all with https posts.

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Sounds like the non-pro version is for the pros

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it does indeed. What I was thinking about, what Sebastian was mentioning. he mentioned that whoever not interested to use all controllers as controller only one and not interested to create a cluster, simply will be able to integrate (include) the IP devices from one Zipatile into another. Like when you do an IP search with Zipatile B and any internal device from Zipatile A will be included into Zipatile B without any workaround by using virtual devices.

This supposed to be the NON PRO way to use 2 or more controllers in one installation ( with only one controller being a controller, he rest as a input / output device)...

Zipato - is this not possible? Was this only an intention, but because this is potentially a non-pro feature, it will not be prioritized or sorted ever?

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i see what you mean, it would be a good idea actually. But even IP devices that are discovered dont have 2 way feed back, They are simply a discover-able device and therefore usable via the rule creator with http commands. To add the IP devices this way would need a Zipatile in the "add device" to import the sensors etc into the current system. This would be a very good solution to have and remove the need for a cluster for most users. Possibly increase sales of Zipatiles too.

;-) DUC750. You are right.

Maybe though, this will all be resolved with the MYQTT support. Hopefully this is a standard free protocol on Zipatiles and this will allow the various sensors to be integrated over IP this way. If not, it should.

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I really would like to read about the outcome of your tests regarding cluster working without internet access. From what I have read an understood from Sebastian's posts on cluster is that this is a "virtual controller" that resides on Zipato cloud, you can create rules on it (that also lives in the cloud) so, even though the Zipato controllers can comunicate through local network, the "brain" is no longer listening. Of course they will keep executing their rules and even maybe you will be able to manually control their devices (through local network) but the rules stored in the cluster have no way to work.

Regarding the "one PRO user per controller" to me it does not make sense, when you buy a licenced software it works for every user on the same device. Even though I wouldn't want my kid to mess with configuration and devices (rights should be a complete separate issue), but what about integrators like @Attila and yourself, now if you sell a customer an integration with a PRO licence and after the install he wants you to build some more automation you have to use his account (and then he has to change his password when you are done) in order to fully use the device. I would even think that adding unlimited devices in all accounts may not be beneficial but blocking the PRO action puzzles???

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@Adrian, Have you had a chance to test & verify that rules, alarms etc., on Clusters works cross-controller (same LAN) even without external internet?

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Hi everyone, sorry for the long delay, havent had the time to test this fully.

Good news, now I have and will report on everything thus far.

Bad news, no, cluster does not work without an internet connection.


I tested with one zipabox and 2 zipatiles. Here are some of the results I found. Hopefully we will get some fixes from Zipato to improve the functionality of this awesome controller.

Clusters only works with an internet connection, at least under all test conditions of my 2 clusters (yes I created a second with another controller to double check) In fact if using a Zipatile in the cluster, you cant even control its own devices or onboard relays with out a connection. You can of course log on to the zipatile directly and control it, but not through the cluster.

Another issue I found, is I do not get the local, blue logo, connection. In fact I don't get this with a standard controller and operating via the app on the same LAN. Does anybody else get this anymore?

Whereas if logged on to a zipatile and operating the zipatile via itself, you get the blue logo meaning local connection. As it should it is the same bloody device. But not if controlling via another device.

So cluster does not seem to operate over ip as I thought it did, and was told. This is bad, as before, even if the internet was shut down, you could at least use the Zipatile to deactivate an alarm or switch lights on. Now you will need to switch out of the cluster and onto the zipatile itself. Thankfully this is still possible, as in the web control centre individual controllers are "greyed out" and unaccessible individually. But they are available via the cluster controller so don't worry.

Another thing I brought up with support was the transfer of ownership. I believe if a controller is part of a cluster, all ownership of the controller should be relinquished to the cluster owner. And thus, for example, if a new owner buys a home, they should simply be able to transfer the ownership of the cluster to the new client, and thus all controllers within that cluster. But as it stands I think the controllers have to be individually removed from the cluster, transfer individually and re added to the cluster. I have not fully tested this. But if this is correct, it could mean 1 of 2 things. You may loose devices and rules when removing or re adding controllers. And maybe the cluster ownership can not be transferred and a new cluster will be needed to be created.

So the another benefit of the Pro licence is with the SIP functionality. While this is good, we have just been testing the BRIA app, and this allows us to add a pbx also and operate any SIP intercom (Doorbird) and Handset locally on a LAN connection. So far so good, but i'll keep you updated on the this too.

I also have experienced that if you reset a controller, you loose the pro licence that is associated with it. My understanding is that the pro licence was "attached" to that controller not the owner. So if you do a master reset for a client or new home owner, you loose all the functionality of the pro licence, even if it was purchased yesterday. I am sure a quick email to support would fix this, but awfully inconvenient if you are onsite to setup for the new owners.

I haven't tried a backup snapshot of a cluster yet as I am not sure if this backup feature is working. But will test when it is.

Alberto, i have noticed that the pro licence is and isn't attached to the controller and/or cluster. I have created another user with alarm rights and that user has access to all the pro features in the rules system when logged in to that controller in the web UI, but can not add Pro Licence devices, such as Phillips HUE. At least I am under the impression that varaiable and some operators puzzles are still off limits to non pro users, is this correct?

I think the best solution here would be for Zipato to just have the option to have an Add Device, Zipatile, function that would import all the ip devices on it into another controllers network, just like adding a Doorbird, Sonos, Nest or Hue

If you have anything else you want me to check, let me know and i'll do my best.

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@Adrian,


Thanks for your response and time invested into testing and feedback. Yes, as far as I was able to see some puzzles such as REPEAT, JOIN and variables is restricted to smart license users, all my users other than the master cannot use this puzzles on rules neither adding PRO devices (phillips hue, sonos, etc.) to be honest I really don't care about adding PRO devices, I would like the ability of using all puzzles and variables in the same controller, regardless the user, this was my understanding with the explanation of PRO licence Zipato did a while ago.


Regarding the cluster requiring internet, I would have been VERY surprised if this worked without internet since the Cluster controller lives on zipato network.


You bring to the table very good points that I hope Zipato considers on further upgrades to the cluster, selling your "automated home" would be a pain in the #$%^ to reconfigure all just for changing user ownership. For sure backup feature could help, if it would be ready by then...


Yes, I still get the blue light on my zipatile when logged directly to it (not in cluster yet). Also I never really liked the idea of losing local control of my controllers. I still see very often when there is internet issues how zipabox reboots a few times even with "keep offline" option, while this happens my home is just "stuck"

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It is a huge issues that basic things take so long or never to be working. For example the virtual thermostat does not work in other mode than heating and cooling despite it has setting for humidity and also ventilation. These just don't work and don't have a working widget so useless - this is like ever since the beginning. Also the battery alarm - apparently it is still not working so i should not wonder that it reports my controller online status but no battery powered statuses.

Although i understand that because zipato runs on cloud, they need to do thorough testing, but some of these basic features are now long available in the web ui and still not functional...not to mention the backup.

What a shame.

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interesting points guys.

i found out that I can remove ownership via the API, my bad i should have thought of this. But doing so still removes the Pro licence from the controller. Not good if you have supplied the Pro licence to a client for $150AUD. Still should have the option to transfer a cluster and all joined controllers at once to a new owner.

Yes local connection was working very well on the first adaption of the new android app, what happened? It really should be fixed as response time is much faster and more reliable. Though I just use Alexa now.

Funny how I never lost the use of all the puzzle pieces, just the ability to add Pro Devices.

I have never played with the humidity or ventilation side of the thermostat. So you mean you can not turn a system on to a ventilation cycle without heating or cooling engaged? Is this when using the Zipato AC IR controller? I just had a look and you are right. There are options for setting outputs but no menu items to select from the app. An unfinished project it seems.

The Battery level of the alarm (i take it you mean the zipato/philio multisiren) does not report the battery level/status as far as I know. Or do you mean the option of triggering a alarm/message on low battery for battery powered devices? This i think is also long overdue. Though the app I see has a lot more battery status icons.

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