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Remote access to Ubuntu machine with no public IP

Currently I use LogMeIn on all of our PCs and Macs for a way to remotely diagnose issues on them. This works great since it's very easy to get to the machines to matter where they are as long as they have an internet connection.

I will be deploying 20 Ubuntu machines that will travel weekly. The internet connection on them will be just a simple 3G WiFi hotspot, so the IPs will change constantly. What is the best way to accomplish being able to remotely access these machines with VNC or an equivalent? I would prefer a free option, but am open to paid services as well.
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bhilgenkamp
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bhilgenkamp
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1 Solution
 
bharrington83Commented:
Dameware, it does windows, linux, and mac.

http://www.dameware.com/
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rindiCommented:
There's teamviewer that works on Linux PC's (similar to Logmein). But as it runs as a wine app the user has to be logged in for the service to be able to run. So you'll have to make sure that when you want to logon to the PC's the users of that PC are logged in.

http://teamviewer.com

Possibly it's available via the ubuntu repositories, so you might not need to download it from the actual teamviewer site.
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bharrington83Commented:
Just make sure you look for a host based solution.  With having dynamic IPs you'll want something that calls home, and not something that you'll have to update IP addresses on.
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
You could have a cronjob setup on the travelling machines that mail you their IP address and name every hour or so. That way you can use your favorite (free) remote access tool to manage your machines.
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rindiCommented:
That will usually not work as ports would have to be mapped on the routers the users are connected to. With Teamviewer (and possibly also dameware which was also mentioned) that wouldn't be necessary.
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bhilgenkampAuthor Commented:
DameWare seemed promising, but I would need to know the remote IP which wouldn't be hard to set up, but since we are using wifi hotspots with multiple machines behind them I'm sure there is some type of NAT going on that I don't know if I can change on the hotspot. Another issue (I should have mentioned this earlier) is that I need to have a Mac client. DameWare is Windows only.

I'll take a look at TeamViewer. IIRC the price was pretty high compared to LogMeIn (which is why I ended up picking LMI).

I wonder if this could be done with a combination of cron, ssh and VNC?
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rindiCommented:
If you compare the price of logmein and teamviewer, I don't think it is more expensive. As far as I understand for logmein you have to pay for each PC you install it on, and it's an annual payment. For Teamviewer it is a one-time payment and you only pay for the PC's you are using to control the others with (your PC). Those you are controlling don't require an extra license. For your number of workstations I believe teamviewer would be cheaper actually.
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bhilgenkampAuthor Commented:
I use LMI Free on all the clients and then purchase LMI Central ($299) to access those clients. All we need is remote access, so LMI Free is adequate. I have half a dozen users on LMI Central that may all be connected at the same time. Once you get into TeamViewer licensing costs it gets into the thousands of dollars.
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rindiCommented:
The business version of Teamviewer costs SFr 609.--, which amounts to about $660.--. You can manage as many PC's as you want with that, and you don't have to pay annually.

From the Logmein site it looks as if you pay $399.-- to manage only 5 PC's, and that is just for one year, after which you pay another $399.-- for the next year. I can't find anything about the $299.-- you mentioned, but maybe you got a special price. But even then if you have to pay annually and for more hosts you will soon get into thousands of dollars too.
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bhilgenkampAuthor Commented:
LMI Central Pricing - https://secure.logmein.com/products/central/purchase.aspx
TeamViewer Pricing - http://www.teamviewer.com/en/licensing/index.aspx

Where did you get the pricing for TeamViewer? I spoke with a sales rep there last year and they quoted me thousands of dollars.
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rindiCommented:
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bhilgenkampAuthor Commented:
Even though I can install it on an unlimited number of hosts, the problem with that is that there is only one license for me to use as the client computer. If I buy licenses for the 6 employees that need it then we're up to the Corporate version, plus another 3 channels at US $849 per channel. That puts me over $5000 for what LMI does for $299 a year. If I didn't need to provide access for other employees here then I could get the Business version at US $749, but unfortunately that's not an option.
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bhilgenkampAuthor Commented:
Ended up installing Hamachi (product of LogMeIn) on the Linux machines and using VNC to remotely access them. Kinda slow but it works and is very cheap.
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bhilgenkampAuthor Commented:
This solution worked best.
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