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[OpenFOAM] Server/client setup on AWS using Xvfb

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Old   June 9, 2020, 10:41
Question Server/client setup on AWS using Xvfb
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Mike Worth
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I'm solving some openfoam models on AWS EC2 instances, which in general is working well, but it's a pain to visualise what's going on.

Currently I've got the case directory mounted via sshfs; in principle I can point a paraview instance at this filesystem, but it's super slow. This just feels like completely the wrong approach.

I've tried various things to get the server/client architecture working. I've got Ubuntu 20.04 on both my local (virtual) machine and the EC2 server. I've got the ubuntu version of paraview on both - the versions match, and trying to compile the source included with OFv1912 was causing me pain. I've got ssh tunnelling all sorted, and am getting the connection started, but can't get the rendering to work.

I think that I should be able to invoke
xvfs-run pvserver
on the EC2 instance, which should start an xserver without a physical display. This should render the content and send it down to my laptop. Instead what I get is a blank graphics area in PV, which if I move the window around goes transparent and I can see my desktop through it.

Can anyone suggest how to get paraview to play nicely with EC2 servers?

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Old   June 10, 2020, 04:05
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Mike Worth
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Well it turns out that the problem isn't one with the network setup - during an update to bring the two versions in-line I've just broken my paraview installation. It doesn't render anything even run on local data...


I got this all fixed, for anyone who finds this in the future here is the synopsis:
  1. I had a working paraview client on Ubuntu 18.04 which couldn't talk to the server on Ubuntu 20.04 (different paraview versions)
  2. I upgraded my client machine to 20.04, hoping to get the same paraview version. On the face of the the upgrade worked, but paraview seemed totally broken and wouldn't render anything.
  3. I started again with client and server both running fresh installs of 18.04. This worked. As I initially thought, xvfs-run pvserver does seem to render things server-side and allow for server/client paraview.

Last edited by MikeWorth; June 11, 2020 at 09:09. Reason: Described my resolution
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