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Using a "black box" micro-pc for probe and other MSP services

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I was wondering if anyone else does this, but I am thinking of setting up a small form factor or micro PC to use as the Automate network probe, as well as the launchpoint for other services like Liongard Roar, Auvik, Network Detective (for onboarding), and even Veeam Backup and Recovery (for smaller clients). It would provide a secure place (separate from their domain) which we can use.


  • 4 core CPU (i5 or greater)
  • 16-32 GB RAM
  • 500GB-1 TB SSD


  1. Does the network probe HAVE to be on a DC? What do I lose by not having it on a local DC?
  2. What do I lose by having my services non on a local domain? They will all be configured with the appropriate domain accounts, so I do not see a downside to that.
  3. They have wireless built in, so we can test wifi (if the MDF is within reasonable range/signal of wifi)


The basis for this is that I am a bit tired of onboarding clients with such different environments, and having to squeeze in our services where ever we can.  This would give us a platform for standardized onboarding/deployment, for only $500-1k per client.  I think this is worth the cost, no?  

What have you done?

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We don’t do this universally at this point but we certainly have it in place for our clients with no onsite servers. Doesn’t really need much horsepower. Most of ours are retired desktops or laptops from our internal uses. 

There’s no need or requirement for probes being on DCs. 

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We've used HP Micro FF desktops with great success, generally they are an i5 with 16GB of RAM and a fairly large HDD, about 1TB

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