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102 - Where to Install CCC

Chameleon CentralController (CCC) is used to export My Movies metadata directly to CMC's Movie DB, and manage User Accounts and Parental Restrictions, and tracks Watch History and WatchLists on a per-user basis.
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Pauven
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102 - Where to Install CCC

Post by Pauven » Fri Dec 04, 2020 10:19 am

TL;DR:

Chameleon CentralController (CCC) is essentially a data server for all of your CMC PC's. For best results, install it on your My Movies PC so CCC has easy access to export your movie collection. You should keep the My Movies General Service and CCC running all the time to keep your exported My Movies data up-to-date, and to keep your CMC HTPC's in sync.

CCC doesn't need much horsepower, so a low end Windows PC is fine. Network speeds are important, so Gigabit Ethernet is recommended.

CCC will need 1.5 GB to 2.0 GB of disk storage per 1000 My Movies titles. A fast SSD is highly recommended.

Skip to the next chapter: 103 - Installing and Running CCC





CCC Architecture Overview
If you have decided to use Chameleon CentralController (CCC), the next step is to figure out where to run it. First, it will help to understand how CCC interacts with both Chameleon MediaCenter (CMC) and My Movies.

CCC is a Windows 7/8.1/10 program that will operate as a proxy, or "man in the middle", between all of your CMC HTPC's and your single My Movies server PC. The following diagram most clearly illustrates this concept:

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It is important to remember that no matter how many HTPC's you have, you will only run CCC on a single PC, and all your other PC's will connect to that single CCC instance. You should not run more than one copy of CCC for your entire My Movies collection.
  • CMC HTPC's will not directly communicate with My Movies, they will only "talk" to CCC.
  • Only CCC will communicate with your My Movies service.

The diagram above does leave out one important component in a typical My Movies collection - your media storage server. Below is a more comprehensive diagram that shows how both My Movies and CMC will communicate with your movie storage, while CCC does not access your media storage:

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*NOTE: There is one exception to the above diagram - CCC will communicate with your media storage if you use the built-in tool to "Validate File Paths for All Discs", which can help identify misconfigured collection data in My Movies. If you use that tool, CCC will scan your media folders to compare them to what is configured for each title in My Movies, and identify any issues. But for the purposes of choosing where to install CCC, this is not an important consideration.



Availability Considerations
It is best to think of CCC as a data server for your CMC HTPC's. As is typical for a server, CCC needs to be up and running all the time, so that it can have fresh data from My Movies to send to your CMC HTPC's, and also to sync user data across your CMC HTPC's.

*NOTE: While CMC can run when CCC is down, this is considered an "offline" failover mode - this allows you to still access a previous copy of your collection and watch a movie if the CCC service or PC has failed, but this should NOT be your normal operating routine.

Most users keep their My Movies server PC running all the time, so it makes perfect sense to have CCC installed and running there. This is also our HIGHLY RECOMMENDED location, as both My Movies and CCC need to be running at the same time in order for CCC to export your My Movies collection. This is illustrated by the diagram below in the Performance Considerations topic.

But if you normally keep your My Movies PC shut down, it may make more sense to have CCC running on a different PC that is powered up all the time. Having CCC available for your CMC HTPC's allows them to stay in sync with each other, which includes User Accounts, User Preferences, Watched History, and personal WatchLists. This CCC PC can be one of your CMC HTPC's, or just any general PC you have in your home.



Performance Considerations
Where you install CCC can have an effect on overall performance. The primary performance concern is CCC's access to the My Movies data - the closer the better. For that reason, we highly recommend you install CCC on the same PC you have your My Movies service running. Below is a diagram that shows this configuration, which is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:

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The secondary performance concern is your CMC HTPC's access to the CCC PC. Again, closer is better. But if you have multiple HTPC's, you should also consider network performance. It is important to place CCC on a PC with a fast and reliable network connection, since the amount of data transmitted between CCC and CMC can be several Gigabytes for the average collection.

The least important performance consideration is PC horsepower. CCC does not use any GPU resources, so very basic video capabilities are fine. CCC also uses very little RAM and CPU horsepower, so a low end CPU with 2 GB of RAM is typically sufficient.

*NOTE: If you are running CCC on your My Movies PC, remember that My Movies needs more CPU power and RAM. While 2 GB of RAM and a low end CPU is more than sufficient for CCC, you will need a lot more for My Movies.


For storage, CCC will need approximately 1.5 GB to 2 GB of storage per 1000 My Movies titles. A fast SSD is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

If you have multiple CMC HTPC's communicating with your central CCC PC, then high-speed networking is also an important consideration. CCC will be transmitting Gigabytes of data to your CMC HTPC's, so having a Gigabit Ethernet connection is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.



Single PC Operation
We understand that every user's requirements are unique, and there are too many variations to try and illustrate every possibility. But in general, users will fall into one of two categories:
  • Networked Multi-PC Installations
  • Single PC Installation

All of considerations detailed above pertain to networked, multi-PC installations. But if your needs are more modest, you can certainly run everything on the same PC: My Movies + CCC + CMC:

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Note that even when used on a single PC, for best results you should still have CCC running all the time to support CMC.

You can also have a hybrid approach, where you still have multiple PC's networked together, one of which runs My Movies + CCC + CMC:

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Proceed to the next chapter: 103 - Installing and Running CCC
President, Chameleon Consulting LLC
Author, Chameleon MediaCenter

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