Why is it so complex and difficult to install and maintain HomeAssistant?

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Hi.

it is already my 3rd Raspberry Pi 4 (and now 8GB + 1TB SSD-USB-3) on which I try to install, configure, … HA.

I’m expert in VMware, scripting, Windows Management … but don’t understand how to configure and maintain HA.
I baught Alexa devices, and, it is just plug and play. I can’t script anything, but can directly use any device, while it is so complex with HA.

I run MQTT on one standalone Raspberry, with a Z-Wave and RFX dongle .

I also run HA on a Raspberry pi4 4GB, Hassio based. It is not stable and restarting it takes so many minutes that it is usable.
No way to login directly on the host to run an apt-get update, or even, upgrade the firmware, …

Trying to do that using the GUI fails, but I don’t know why …

Bref.

Is there any “HA for Dummies” guide available ?
I have to connect :

  • Z-Wave devices
  • Wifi LEDs and devices
  • Alexa
  • ZigBee devices
  • Bluetooth devices
  • RFX-433 devices
  • other app from internet (meteo, sun rising, …)

I want to start back from zero, with an easy to manage environment, probably Docker based :

  • MQTT
  • Zigbee2MQTT (if really required)
  • HA

Thanks in advance.

Dom

PS : This post maybe seen as “negative”, but in reality, I just need to fully understand and control that environment. :slight_smile:

2 Likes

A comment from the peanut gallery:
I started doing this particular HA 4 years ago. There were so many things it could do with so many different “things”, that I was overwhelmed and frustrated trying to wrap my arms around it all.

I settled down and just worked on doing one thing with one “thing” until I got that thing down pat and then moved on to the second thing… and so on.

Nirvana set in.

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well, that is because you are using a $100 server instead of a $500 server or a $2000 server… its gonna be SLOW. Try running HA on a quad core Xeon, even from 10 years ago, and it is 5 to 10 times faster than a pi

That is what I use, docker on an Ubuntu server, no HassOS

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Hi Dixey.

I would agree with your approach if time was not so … flying.
But from my part, a system (domotique, server, … ) has to be :

  • easy to install
  • easy to manage
  • easy to control
  • easy to use

If not, it becomes quickly useless.

Dom

Hi Richieframe :slight_smile:

Raspberry has the advantage to be small and to not take too much energy.

Dom

1 Like

The answer to the question:

Why is it so complex and difficult to install and maintain HomeAssistant?

is:

Because it’s not a consumer-level product. In its current form, it’s for home automation hobbyists.

What that means is if someone don’t invest sufficient time to learn how to configure and maintain it (by reading the documentation and reviewing posts in this forum), the end-result will be a complaint like this topic’s first post.

yes, and computing power takes energy. There is a level of efficiency as well, but regardless, if you want performance it takes power. By limiting power you are limiting performance, and a Pi is not a 'high reliability" system unless it is underclocked to limit heat output.

If today I were to build a server for running HA and other things, it would be a Xeon or Zen3 based system with ECC memory. For my parents or other people, it would be a Tiger Lake based NUC. It has enough of a generational performance and efficiency gap to be worth it, and at 15W average it is still over an order of magnitude faster than a Pi, and is still very small.

I currently use monolithic server, quad core Haswell Xeon with 32GB RAM which does everything, but in the future will split out the file server component so it is easier to maintain and upgrade, spinning hard drives require physical space, regulated cooling, and clean stable power so that system needs a full size case and redundant power supply for my reliability requirements.

I do not consider HA difficult to install or maintain, in fact the opposite, but I am using Docker Compose on a system with plenty of performance. Downtime on upgrade for me takes seconds, pull the new files, restart and rebuild the docker instance, done.

Hi Taras,

you are certainly right :slight_smile:
I just want to find the best solution to take full control of my devices and don’t want to be forced to use cloud connectivity.

The offer is not so … huge : Jeedom, HA, Domoticz …
I ttested Jeedom, Domoticz and finally HA.

Il HA is quite easy to install, having to play with Hassio, … is more complex.

But if you want options like “Supervisor”, “File editor”, … you need to install the whole with HASSIO.

Why such differences for the same product version but different way of installation ?
Maybe is that the main point of frustration for me :slight_smile:

Having Hassio and now a Docker version, of the same latest version, gives me two different applicative environments.

Kind regards,
Dom

Hmm…

Running here HA on HyperV (on w10),
and never had any issues, except once with a breaking update, which i overlooked and did not prepare for.

But still, before every update, i first take a full snapshot (and also from HyperV i take a snapshot every now and then).

Restoring a snapshot takes 10-15 minutes?
Except that one time i never had to use it for the last 1.5 years…

So what do you mean by ‘difficult’ ??:wink:

I know HyperV can be a bit of challenging due to no usb support, but VMware doesn’t have those limitations, since you know it well, i don’t understand why you don’t use VMWare ???

Hi Richieframe,

you are right for the Raspberry performance, … but it has the advantage to be small.
HA should not require much performance just for doing its job.

My concern is indeed, on the HASSIO version that it takes so long to restart that I tried to use the HA installation on a Raspbian OS.
But in that case, the options in HA (once running) are not the same :’(
Can’t find back the file editor, supervisor, … and other good and useful options.

Kind regards,
Dom

Hi aceindy.

I don’t use VMware as it requires an heavier host than a Raspberry (indeed a NUC could help, I didn’t thaught about that ^^).

I’m living in a small appartement, with not so many “free space”, and my wife doesn’t appreciate my … stuff :D.

Kind regards,
Dom

I’ll add +1 for using Docker for running HA. It has worked well for me for a year now.

If you don’t already use Docker, I recommend making the investment. It payed off for me especially because everything else I run to compliment HA also runs under Docker (exception: nginx for reverse proxy). This includes OZW Beta (yes, I’ll upgrade to JS soon :slight_smile:), Mosquitto, InfluxDB, and my own apps that I had developed before HA but now integrate with HA via MQTT (e.g. my own XBee ZigBee controller).
Couple notes:

  • Separate the HA configuration directory using a volume, e.g. -v /opt/home-assistant/config:/config so you can access and backup from your server’s local file system.
  • Some additional docker run parameters to automatically restart: --restart=always -d.
  • Be deliberate when updating: Tag your current image, pull the latest image down, backup your /config, run the new image, and verify; if something goes awry you can quickly restore and revert to previous image.

TL;DR – Docker removed complexity in running HA, in my experience.

joelp,

thanks :slight_smile:

I indeed will opt for Docker, which will allow me to manage the host itself :slight_smile:
Have you been able to configure HA on Docker to offer the options “Supervisor”, “File editor”, … ?

Kr, Dom

Also my wife doesn’t like my stuff that much, but she does like my plex.
And that runs on a laptop (and co-hosts HyperV) :yum:

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To be fair I never tried. I have gave HA a try by downloading the image and running it in Docker to test.

And that is a fair point to consider: I didn’t have to deal with any other hosting options to compare. I’m basing it on experience, generally, using Docker for the other services I mentioned I run.

:wink:

Your laptop required to stay on 24x7x365 :’(

Kr,
Dom

I have not so much experience with Docker … but I can learn :slight_smile:

I would like to get the same HA environment under Docker as under Hassio :slight_smile:
And keep the possibility to manage the security, … on my host.

Kr,
Dom

If you want the supervisor and addons you have 2 choices: Hassos or supervised.

You don’t like hassos, so your only choice is supervised. For that you must start with debian. See this post Installing Home Assistant Supervised on a Raspberry Pi with Debian 10

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Hi nickrout.

You hit a sensible point :smiley:
I’ll try Debian on my Raspberry Pi 4 - 8GB.

Will Debian run as wel on Raspberry as Raspbian ?

New chalenge is coming ^^.

Kr,
Dom

Raspbian is Debian, with some minor adjustments and Raspberry branding. So yes, Debian will run just fine.

2 Likes