Sept 22, 2014
GMS Cloud Model
for using the Cloud
Role of the
Recovery and Fall Back plan
The Cloud model was introduced to simplify GMS deployment at
events. The GMS server will be in the Public Internet "Cloud" and
the tablets connect directly to it. This allows GMS "experts" to set
up and monitor the GMS server. The event staff can focus on performing their
volunteer roles. It also allows the server to be shared by multiple concurrent
The main requirement is that the event site WiFi network should
allow access to the public Internet.
The Process for using the
Practices" steps that should be performed by the event staff (GMS Cloud Engineer) prior to the start of
an event are:
- Gather the
desired number of Android tablets or phones. From the Play store, install
the following apps. See this,
for more setup details.
(search for GMS FRC)
- Send the
following information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This allows a server to be configured for the event.
- List of
users (names, roles, preferred username),
- Pit Map
for the event
site's WiFi SSID and password. (Optional, this allows easy tablet setup
using QR codes.)
- Name and
contact info for the "GMS Cloud
Engineer" or "Tablet
- Name and
contact info for the FTA (optional)
- The event
staff will receive a Setup QR code via email.
- It allows event staff to rapidly configure tablets for
each event. On the GMS Login screen, select Setup, point the camera at
the QR code and GMS does the rest. QR Codes look like:
will be selected by the users when they log in.
Role of the Laptop
In the Cloud
model, a laptop is not needed to act as the primary server. However, a laptop is
highly recommended. Its main purpose is to facilitate recovery in case
Internet access is disrupted. While it is standing by, it can add several
useful functions, like:
Recovery (Backup Server)
announcements that can be viewed by teams
- User additions/deletions
and password resets from the event site.
and updating pit map layouts.
display of Inspection status on overhead projector (very cool)
Robot state, weights, assignments, and queue changes.
GMS inspection reports from previous events.
Report printouts, to allow falling back to paper.
Preparation is required to make Disaster
Recovery swift and smooth. Instructions for setting up the Backup Laptop are
and Fall Back plan
With the Cloud model, loss of access to the Internet can be
disastrous. A laptop can serve as a "Backup" server and will mirror
the data on the Cloud server. It will periodically download the latest state
from the server in the cloud and keep itself updated. In case of disaster, the
recovery procedure is to:
- Switch the
laptop from "Client" to "Server" mode,
- If the
event WiFi is lost, power up the preconfigured supplied WiFi AP,
- Display a Setup QR code on the laptop and use it to
quickly re-configure all tablets. That is it. Done.
This switch should take about 10 minutes. The backup server
will be used for the remainder of the event; there are no procedures to revert
back to the cloud model. The 'emergency' WiFi coverage may be limited to about
100' from the LRI desk, and Inspectors will have to approach the LRI desk
periodically to update their tablets.
access is required to the GMS Cloud server:
- GMS Cloud
Server, http://c.pejaver.com, TCP port 4433
- The port number can be changed on request. Ports 80 and
443 are available if firewalls block port 4433 at the event site. Each
concurrent event must have a unique port number.
Pros & Cons
The "Local" and "Cloud" models are
functionally similar, however the Cloud model has several advantages:
- The Cloud
model eliminates the need for volunteers to set up the GMS laptop.
Training for operating the GMS Server Laptop is also eliminated.
eliminates the need to set up and take down the dedicated WiFi network.
Experienced network administrators at the event site can help with any
WiFi issues. Training for WiFi setup is also eliminated.
- It eliminates the risk of an insufficiently trained
volunteer mis-configuring the GMS server.
access via WiFi is required at each event location. While this is
typically available at all event sites, it may be expensive at some of the
large convention centers.
- The Cloud model currently does not support Judging. It is
ideal for other roles, especially Robot Inspection and Queuing.
following concerns about the Cloud model have been addressed.
All data over the Internet can be
encrypted using TLS/SSL. Security is actually improved because the private
keys will be safe in the service center and will no longer be in the laptops.
The Cloud mode uses the site's
existing WiFi infrastructure. It will not interfere with the FMS 5 GHz WiFi
GMS does not need high bandwidth
throughput or instantaneous responses. GMS retries communications until it
succeeds. The Cloud model may be a bit slower, but will be quite acceptable.
Availability at venues:
In the last few years, most schools
have installed Internet enabled WiFi access for students and staff. This will
be quite adequate. Most of the large convention centers already have the WiFi
infrastructure, though there may be an extra charge for its use.