Local running OR in the cloud, is there a difference?

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of threads popping up asking about which devices run local, how do we know, and why isn’t it running local?

But, did it really matter? What benefit are we getting from it? Is there a benefit? Is local actually faster? Can you even tell the difference?

I have over 100 devices now, about 90 of them are Zwave and the rest are zigbee. I have exactly two instances of smart lighting running local. That’s it. I have 70 rule machine rules running, obviously not local. I have button controller for my Minimotes, those run local. But what’s the point?

Why do I have these two smartapp rules and two Minimotes running local? Simple - insurance.

But do I need it?

The two smart lighting rules are the foyer lights coming on with the front door opening and the foyer closet lights. Why? Because if the internet ever goes down then the lights will come on when we walk in the door!

Wait… That is freakin stupid! When is the last time my internet went down for longer than… Ooooohhhhhh… He’ll I don’t know… I can’t remember the last time it was down.

So, that clears up the “just in case the internet is down” issue, at least for me. I know some folks live in places like… Utah, San Francisco, Oregon, the Dakotas, and anywhere in Canada… But, I’m talking about me here dangit!

So, the only other reason I can think if would be speed.

Are things noticeably faster local than they are in the clouds? As far as I can tell… NO!

I’m sure if we pulled out the timer and checked it, there would be a pretty noticeable lag of a few hundred milliseconds.

But honestly, does it matter?

I understand there are reliability issues by having a clouds dependant system.

I understand that a completely local system, free of the internet, is going to be more reliable.

In summary, for me, I don’t care. I’m not seeing any difference NOW between the cloud and local.

So, I run my devices on the device handlers that I like the most, that give me the options that fit me.

Opinions? Thoughts? Ideas?

Let’s have an honest discussion about this. What am I missing?

I would really like to hear what y’all think.


I can give you one reason to actually have your devices in the cloud for right now. This is from a support email I received due to failing routines. I have had issues with several routines and rules failing to execute properly and was told to limit it to 11 devices per rule/routine. Here is why

Mar 4, 5:41 PM


Thanks for the followup.

The 11 device limit is based on a current bug in the local execution of devices, and will be fixed with a firmware update in the future. If the devices aren’t local, then the limit doesn’t apply - you can use this link to determine what devices are currently running local.



Interesting. The thread you started talking about this very thing is one of those that prompted this one.

Are you using the ST routines? I actually stopped using those a very long time ago. They were just incredibly unreliable.

This system is chock full of bugs… Makes me wonder why I don’t go back to wink… Apparently they have fixed their lag issues and are now working well with Alexa.

Oh, I remember why… RULE MACHINE! That and total flexibility and customization!

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This was discussed at length last spring when we first heard the rumors about local operation.

Usual argument is it’s just three-steps simpler to run locally. Or it should be. You drop the requirement for communication to the Cloud, The requirement for operation in the cloud, and The requirement for communication from the cloud.

Each of these represents a point of vulnerability. Remember that about the same time we had horrendous problems with sunset scheduling where a lot of people were apparently getting caught in musical chair queues where their cloud events just didn’t ever run because they timed out. all those cloud traffic jams would be removed with local processing.

So it’s often less about the lag on any one transaction, although that can be an issue, and more about how many things can go wrong in a given week.

Local processing should be simpler and easier to queue up. That should mean it’s more reliable.

Of course whether it actually gets implemented in a way that preserves that reliability is a different question.


yes I am using them for “simplicity” If i need to trigger them its a lot easier to find than virtual switches in an ever growing list of 130+ devices

You can use rooms to organize your virtual switches. For example, I have one room called “entertainment center” which just has all the virtual switches needed for harmony. :sunglasses:

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local processing is king no doubt and I even tried changing device handlers to get as many devices local as possible. I was even using Smart Lighting when I could but it started acting up so I dumped it and went RULE MACHINE all the way.

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yeah I now have 5 routines. They each have 1 action in them and use rule machine to do the rest triggered on the execution of the routine. I want to stick it out because I think ST could be great if they really focus on the bugs that are there now and stop trying to make new “Features”. Fix what they have and then worry about adding new things.

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When I first came to ST I guess I didn’t read enough our I was just hopefully naive. I was on wink and find the robots to be disappointing at best.

I honestly expected, because of the talk about flexibility and customization, a system that was built from the ground up around a rule engine like rule machine.

I couldn’t believe that they tried to put the horse after the buggy on this one.

I mean, common sense dictates that you build your hardware around your software.

Just imagine how powerful this HA system would be if they wiped the UI and did a full rebuild based on rule machine.

It would basically put every one else out of business over night.

But luck y for me, RM was released shortly after I got my hub and right before I went back to wink. (That decision was only one more failed routine away) and back then I only had about 30 devices, 27 of which were bulbs!


This is very true. I have override switches that are virtual switches, I have them in their respective rooms.

I also have a room called “virtual switches”
Makes it pretty simple for me.

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I created my own routines in RM.

THIS! I have multiple “theaters” that have media relevant stuff for living room, bedroom, actual theater. Then I have a room that has the 2nd or more of grouped lights. So bedroom has 2 lights that are grouped via rule machine, well, I don’t clutter the bedroom room with both, just one, the rest are accessible in the grouped lights “room” if I need them.

I’m now over 100 devices and you really have to organize this stuff in some way that is logical to YOU!

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