Camera Software Recommendations - 20+ camera location

BradL

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Hi everyone! I've been lurking around here from time to time and figured I would finally register and ask for some guidance. One of our locations had to migrate away from an old end of life system and we went with iSpy Connect because it was super affordable up front and allowed us to quickly migrate. Problem seems to be the way the software performs when we begin utilizing too many cameras. I don't suspect it is hardware related because this is a slightly old ex-hypervisor-server with a lot of horsepower. Anyway, I started looking into Milestone and had a fairly poor experience with the trial. The pre-sales and demo people were fantastic, but we had some installation problems and the support team was not so great. They kept avoiding inquiries, passing it off, and were generally reluctant and seemed annoyed to be asked to assist in any way. I tried countless fixes on this site and others but, frankly, I can't imagine it is worth the time and if their support team is that uninterested then I'm not comfortable moving forward.

Anyway, that's way too much information. We're looking for a quality software solution for a single location with around 20-30 cameras. Preferably something other than iSpy or Milestone. We do have a budget we can use, but cost concerns always exist. We have a wide range of hardware, some newer Dahua and Axis, some older Axis, some older Sony cameras, so multiple vendor integration would be critical. Thanks in advance for any input!
 

bp2008

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Hello!!

I think you won't be surprised that people here would recommend Blue Iris. To that end, I have some questions.

1) What is the CPU in the server? (more than one CPU?)
2) How much RAM?
3) What operating system?
4) What is the total number of megapixels added up across all the cameras? It doesn't need to be exact, just an estimate.
5) Do you expect to use 25-30 FPS frame rates or would 15 FPS be acceptable?
 

BradL

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Hello!!

I think you won't be surprised that people here would recommend Blue Iris. To that end, I have some questions.

1) What is the CPU in the server? (more than one CPU?)
2) How much RAM?
3) What operating system?
4) What is the total number of megapixels added up across all the cameras? It doesn't need to be exact, just an estimate.
5) Do you expect to use 25-30 FPS frame rates or would 15 FPS be acceptable?

Thanks for the reply!

1) Two CPUs, 8 cores each
2) 48GB RAM
3) Server 2016
4) I'm not 100% on this, but most are low quality 2-3 per camera average, maybe?
5) 15 FPS would be fine, that's mostly what we're getting now, or less in some instances, we're sort of aiming for something serviceable
 
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bp2008

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That sounds pretty good, though you didn't say what the specific CPU model is? There are a lot of really slow 8 core processors out there, especially in "servers".

2-3 megapixels per camera? If we assume 30 cameras at an average of 2.5 megapixels, all at 15 FPS, then you have a load of roughly 1125 MP/s (megapixels per second). This is certainly something Blue Iris could handle, however you may need to configure sub streams with many of the cameras if the server CPU cores are individually weak, as is likely with an older server.

I suggest you download Blue Iris (it has a free trial period) and configure several of your cameras in it to see how you like it. Note that the Blue Iris trial doesn't support direct-to-disc recording, and sub streams probably won't work either, therefore your CPU usage will be substantially higher during the trial period. Use this as a guide to configure cameras for efficiency: Optimizing Blue Iris's CPU Usage

One of the cheaper ways to buy a Blue Iris license is from this site -- ipcamtalk resells it at a discount.
 

BradL

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That sounds pretty good, though you didn't say what the specific CPU model is? There are a lot of really slow 8 core processors out there, especially in "servers".

2-3 megapixels per camera? If we assume 30 cameras at an average of 2.5 megapixels, all at 15 FPS, then you have a load of roughly 1125 MP/s (megapixels per second). This is certainly something Blue Iris could handle, however you may need to configure sub streams with many of the cameras if the server CPU cores are individually weak, as is likely with an older server.

I suggest you download Blue Iris (it has a free trial period) and configure several of your cameras in it to see how you like it. Note that the Blue Iris trial doesn't support direct-to-disc recording, and sub streams probably won't work either, therefore your CPU usage will be substantially higher during the trial period. Use this as a guide to configure cameras for efficiency: Optimizing Blue Iris's CPU Usage

One of the cheaper ways to buy a Blue Iris license is from this site -- ipcamtalk resells it at a discount.
Thanks I will check out Blue Iris and see how it goes.

The processors are both Intel Xeon E5-2665 2.40 GHz , server is about 6 years old, Gen8 ProLiant DL380P

I appreciate the heads up about the demo limitation and will look into pricing asap, provided that it goes well!
 

TheGooginator

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I would to second the use of Sub-streams if you are amenable to the lower quality when viewing all your cams at once. This I have recently incorporated into my system and even if a few cameras it has made a noticeable difference in my overall CPU usage.
 

bp2008

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Xeon E5-2665 cores are about half the speed of modern desktop cores. But you do have two of the CPUs ... I'd consider that system roughly on par with an i7-8700K or i9-9900K. On that server I'd probably configure sub streams on the higher resolution cameras and let the lower resolution cameras run without sub streams configured in Blue Iris. Ideally you'll be able to keep constant CPU usage in the range of 20-40%, leaving lots of room for usage spikes.

On my own i7-8700K server I notice my server has a lot of trouble keeping steady frame pacing during 4K @ 30 FPS playback, even though overall CPU usage is typically under 30%. Just to point out one of the issues that can arise from not having quite enough processing power even though the usage looks low.
 
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bp2008

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@BradL Note that your server doesn't have Intel Quick Sync, so you don't need to worry about enabling hardware acceleration. Just skip that step in the optimization guide.
 

BradL

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Last question for the time being (I'm already up and running!)

When I follow the configuration guide for substreams, my Dahua does not populate the main stream with data. It says in the guide that it should have a string in the main stream textbox as well as the parameter textbox and that I should copy/paste over to the substream section. On my working configuration it just has a single forward slash in the Main stream.

1599149946581.png
 

bp2008

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If you choose "Dahua" in the "Make" dropdown, and "Main Stream RTSP" in the "Model" dropdown, it will populate the Main stream and Params fields for you. Some cameras will work without all that path info and just give you the main stream, but it does make it hard to tell what to use for a sub stream URL :)
 

BradL

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If you choose "Dahua" in the "Make" dropdown, and "Main Stream RTSP" in the "Model" dropdown, it will populate the Main stream and Params fields for you. Some cameras will work without all that path info and just give you the main stream, but it does make it hard to tell what to use for a sub stream URL :)
Damn that was obvious, okay no more dumb questions, can't thank you enough!
 

BradL

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Another quick follow up, got all my cameras loaded in (there were 26 in total). Shut down the iSpy software. Running at about 30-45% CPU utilization on average, was more like 70-80% before. Still have some settings to tweak with motion detection to prevent a delay with recording but I think I have that figured out now as well. Just dropping in for one final word of appreciation. I can use my server again without losing my mind, and maybe even actually expand at some point.
 

Flintstone61

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Am I understanding that some camera's are running zero/none/nada substreams to drop CPU utilization? Is this possible?
 
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