Hardware recommendations for 50 camera system

Discussion in 'Blue Iris' started by Obsidian, Jan 3, 2019.

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  1. fenderman

    fenderman Staff Member

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    Their servers are overpriced pc's using older processors. I would not buy anything from them other than the license.
     
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  2. crw030

    crw030 Getting comfortable

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    Oh, so this is just enterprise software (priced per camera) that can handle the enterprise-scale loads better?

    What order of magnitude "better" are the enterprise VMS software (2x, 4x, 10x) in your experience @fenderman? I assume this eventually translates into a lower cost if it requires less horsepower. :D
     
  3. fenderman

    fenderman Staff Member

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    Yes its just software. It varies. DW is somewhere in between blue iris and full scale enterprise vms like avigilon.
    Better is a relative term. There are many features that DW has that are unavailable in BI and vice versa.
     
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  4. taz420nj

    taz420nj Getting the hang of it

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    For the initial setup, yeah maybe, depending on how knowledgeable this guy is in networking, but no need to keep an IT guy "on staff" once it's set up and locked in.

    I tend to agree, but not "completely separate". A system like this can't be airgapped. Put the cameras et al on their own switch stack and subnet, but it will still need to be able to reach the internet for remote monitoring, offsite backup, etc. A good firewall appliance like pfSense would handle that.

    Agreed, and there should be a list of IPs and their camera number/location/patch port number/switch port number laminated and permanently attached near the console.

    Not in the actual system but I'd still recommend having secure access points that cover the area. You want to have live access to the feeds via a tablet/phone for initial install aim, as well as ongoing maintenance without having to keep running back to the console or playing telephone spotter ("Little bit left.. No your other left.. Now a little down - NO TOO MUCH, GO BACK!").

    While consumer dumb switches are considerably cheaper than new enterprise gear, you can find used managed switches in the form of upgrade pulls from plenty of Ecyclers for a fraction of the cost. They still have plenty of life left in them (I usually just replace the fans when I buy them), and they are far more capable than consumer equipment. Unlike the small bursts of data most people send through their home networks with an occasional big download or two, this scenario will involve constant 24/7 use of a lot of bandwidth. Depending on the cameras he chooses - and especially if he finds he needs more than 50, he could have the final uplink to the computer 75+% saturated at all times just from the camera streams because each one could potentially be running 10-15Mbps or more. I would not trust consumer equipment to handle this reliably.

    And make sure you get ones that can accept external battery packs and even consider investing in a standby generator.

    Now here's what I would do (and this might be greek to some, so my apologies). This will give you plenty of bandwidth, plenty of ports for future expansion (say you get it all installed and find you need 5 more cameras for blind spots you didn't anticipate, or you expand the warehouse or add a building), and it is ultra-high availability - meaning there is no single point of failure that will bring the whole network down (barring a power failure that outlasts your battery backup).

    I would source (four) gigabit, PoE, STACKABLE 24 port managed switches (preferably those with 10 gigabit SFP ports for futureproofing). Used, in good shape you should be able to find them under $400-500 each (New they'd go upwards of $3,000) You will also need the stacking cables. Basically "stacking" means that the four switches are all looped together into one big switch (1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-1), and for management purposes they all appear as one big 96 port switch. Simpler to change settings, update firmware, etc. Stacking also keeps data flowing in the event of a switch failure (with the exception of whatever is plugged into the failed unit of course).

    So what you'd end up doing is dividing the cameras up evenly among the 4 switches. That way if a switch fails, the most you would lose at any one time is 13 cameras.

    Now the strategy here is you will basically have at least one completely unused switch worth of ports throughout the stack. If a switch fails, you can simply move the cables from the failed switch over to one of the remaining switches, and everything will reconnect to the system automatically. Then you can replace the failed switch without disrupting the whole system.

    Now what if the computer is plugged into the switch that fails.. Won't that take out everything? Well it could. That's why we're going to put redundancy here as well. You will also install two 2-port network cards into the BI computer (you will do this with each computer if you decide to run multiples). The 4 ports in those cards can be "teamed" so that it in essence creates a single link that's 4 times as fast. If you plug one NIC port into each switch, they will also provide redundancy - because no matter which switch fails, the other three are still connected to the remaining cameras. If one of the cards fails, you still have two working links to all of the cameras.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
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  5. pozzello

    pozzello Getting comfortable

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    I noticed that many of the systems reporting large numbers of cameras with little CPU are (in addition to D2D) not doing any sort of motion detection in BI. ie, recording continuously or only when the cams detect motion, i suppose. That does defeat many of the features BI provides wrt to motion detection (object tracking, zones, etc) but just pointing out it can be done. Also, consider that 1200MP/s for 60+ cams (assuming 10FPS) is only 200kB/s per camera, ie 720p (1.3MP) or 1080p (2MP) w/ significant compression...
     
  6. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee IPCT Contributor

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    One of the issues with the stats is that it counts clone cameras. I have almost all my cameras cloned to write to a backup . So it shows 18 cameras instead only 10 cameras. The back up 8 cameras increase the megapixel count also. The difference in cpu load is neglagable between the real 10 cameras and the counted 18 camera.

    A single data point is not very useful in making a decision on a cpu.

    Now let's get back on topic what is a good system for bi that will support 50 real cameras.
     
  7. crw030

    crw030 Getting comfortable

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    Quick someone send me 45 more cameras! ;) so I can do some proper testing of hardware limitations nomnom winkwink
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
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  8. Obsidian

    Obsidian n3wb

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    This is what I'm trying to avoid by setting up myself. A friend had a "CCTV Expert Company" install a crappy system with crappy cameras at his business and charged him over $12,000!
     
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  9. Obsidian

    Obsidian n3wb

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    I want to thank everyone for their input. Some of this is a little over my head, but I haven't found anything I could figure out if I study long enough! I'll contact DW and see what they have to say. Thanks again.
     
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  10. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee IPCT Contributor

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    Obsidian

    Good point.. Have some one run the cables for you and install the cameras. But you pick the cameras and hardware ?

    As stated earlier go with 2 or 3 mid range PCs and divide the cameras between them. That way all the eggs are not in one basket.

    Are you going to be generating alerts / notifications for the cameras or just recording the motion events ?

    I see that the building is a very large warehouse (250 feet x 550 feet) . What is the temperatures in the warehouse in the summer ?

    Assuming that the ware house is a square, where is the office located in the square ?
     
  11. taz420nj

    taz420nj Getting the hang of it

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    Pulling cables, while not the most fun job in the world, isn't awful - especially in a warehouse with open truss ceilings. I've lost track of how many miles I've pulled lol. If you're willing to do the work and put in the time to do it right, you could save a lot of money doing it yourself.

    First thing to do is map out the area. Make sure you do it accurately and to scale. If you can get a copy of the actual blueprint that's even better. Include the directions of the ceiling girders/trusses and locations of all columns. Mark out your initial locations where you want cameras to go. Then go to each location and take a picture. Now you can do it with a phone, but it's easier if you do it with a point and shoot with optical zoom, or a DSLR with a zoom lens. That's because all of the settings for each picture (zoom, aperture, ISO, shutter speed, etc) will be stored in the photo's EXIF data so you can set the FOV to the shot you want, then use the data to pick a lens for that cam location (if you're planning on using all varifocals, this isn't crucial). You can also go through your photos and make sure you are getting all the views you want/need. If there's some that don't work, pick another spot or angle and take another picture.

    Once you're satisfied with the camera locations, now comes planning the wiring. This is where having a scale drawing or blueprint comes in handy. Plan out the easiest/shortest routes for the cables to take between the cam location and the office. You will want to minimize direction changes, and run cables past other cameras "on the way" as much as possible and here's why. You put boxes of cable at each camera location in the first "run". Starting with the furthest one, you mark the end of that cable (several times in the first 2-3 feet) and its box "1" and pull it to the next location. You mark the end of that cable and its box "2" and start pulling both to the third location. Keep numbering and adding cables at each location until it makes the final run to the office. At this point you're pulling from multiple boxes simultaneously and you won't be making repeated trips down the same path for each cable. Keeping straight line shots makes it much easier to pull (though you might want to have someone at each box to avert snags and kinks).

    A few things to consider with your cabling/routing though..
    - Network cables have a distance limitation: no link can be longer than 100m (328ft). This is especially important since you are using PoE.
    - You CAN NOT run cabling through the truss triangles. You must use J-hooks and truss clamps to suspend them below the truss. Now this is not a "code violation", and nobody is going to red flag you if you do it, but it is a standards violation that can affect network performance over time.
    - If the cable will pass through ANY air handling space it MUST be Plenum rated (type CMP) or inside EMT for the entirety of the plenum space. Depending on how your building and HVAC system are constructed, this may include any space above a drop ceiling.
    - You can not lay cables on a drop ceiling. They must be suspended by J hooks or trays above the ceiling tiles. You also can not tape, ziptie, or otherwise attach cables to EMT (this IS a code violation).
    - Try to avoid parallel runs with AC power at all times, even if it is EMT. Perpendicular crossings are ok. Try not to get within 3ft of any motor or arc lamp/ballast.

    You will need to calculate how much cable to buy. Use your scale drawing to estimate the length of each run. Figure out how to rotate the used boxes during pulls to maximize usage and minimize leftovers (pretty much all cable has foot markings on the jacket so you'll know how much is left in each box as you use it). Be sure to do some overestimating to account for "service loops" at each cam location, and also take into account drop lengths for vertical runs (ie: cameras mounted on columns or poles a few feet down from the ceiling, the drop from the warehouse ceiling to the office, etc). If any vertical drops are susceptible to human sabotage or mechanical damage (ie: on a wall where merchandise is loaded by forklift), you will want to sheath them in EMT or rigid and mount the camera on a box.

    Make sure you are proficient at crimping RJ45's (at the camera ends) and punching down 110 terminations (patch panels in the office). If you're not, PRACTICE. Don't get the big bags of cheap RJ45s off ebay either, they're garbage and you will regret it. Buy a good cable tester and test each run after termination.

    I'm sure I'll think of things to add but this should give you a good starting point if you decide to tackle this yourself.
     
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  12. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee IPCT Contributor

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    Taz420nj

    Pull your own cables in a business is a fast way to go out of business. You must use a certified electrician.
     
  13. taz420nj

    taz420nj Getting the hang of it

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    Um. No. You don't. In fact, an electrician is probably the LAST trade you want anywhere near datacom lines. I'd rather have a plumber do it - at least they know what a minimum bend radius is. Want some horror stories about new construction prewire jobs done by the contracted electricians and their day crews rounded up at Home Depot that I've had to unf**k before I could terminate and install equipment? Wanna know how many thousands of feet of CCA I've ripped out because all the electrician knows is that it's cheaper and makes him more?? How about the ones who daisy chained coax and CAT5 jacks through the whole house or the ones who think it's AOK to put CAT5 and coax into the same finger clips and level penetrations as Romex (running them parallel for 10-20-30 feet at a time)?? Yeah. Nowhere is it required that a "certified electrician" install your datacom lines. You are allowed to do it yourself. Only some states require a low voltage and/or alarm certification (which anyone with half a brain can get in about a day) if you do it as part of your business.

    IMO electricians should be BARRED BY LAW from even touching data lines.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
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  14. JNDATHP

    JNDATHP Getting the hang of it

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    We just had 2 Cat5e runs pulled and an exterior sconce light (110v) installed. The electrical company sent out an electrician for the sconce light and 2 others, not electricians but “Camera” installers, for the low voltage.

    The electrician wanted to parallel his 12-3 with the Cat5e. The low voltage guys said uh, no!
     
  15. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee IPCT Contributor

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    You use a low voltage electrician. If you hire the wrong person or company you will have problems.
     
  16. taz420nj

    taz420nj Getting the hang of it

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    You dont have to.
     
  17. Obsidian

    Obsidian n3wb

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    I have a couple maintenance guys, so running cable and mounting cameras not a big issue. Open trusses overhead so pretty easy running cat5/6.
    I'm planning on just recording the motion events.
    Most of the warehouse is not heated or cooled. Summer temps will get max out in the 90's a couple of days then bottom out in the teens in the winter. Temps changes gradually, not big swings.
    The office is in the front and the guys work in the rear, a lot of pallet racking in between
     
  18. Obsidian

    Obsidian n3wb

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    Thanks for the advice. I have a question. I had planned on using multiple switches, with a run from each camera to the switch, starting at my office then branching off to the different areas of the building that needs cameras, just like branches off a tree trunk. Will this work? This is where I lack in networking knowledge. I have only set up a small office network before with 6 pcs and a couple printers.
     
  19. taz420nj

    taz420nj Getting the hang of it

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    Can it be done that way? Sure. That's what makes star topology so great. It lets you add a printer and VoIP phone at someone's desk where there is only one RJ45 jack for example.. SHOULD you do it that way? Not in a million years. It's far from ideal for this type of application. I can tell you right now if you start having problems and need to call in someone to troubleshoot, it's going to piss them off royally lol. Not to mention PoE cant really be "repeated" through PoE powered switches. They are out there but they're usually only one in and two out because the available power is still limited by what can be provided by the port on the upstream switch. So you cant provide central backup power, like you can with home runs. If you branch and branch the lines, each individual switch will have to be on it's own UPS.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  20. TonyR

    TonyR IPCT Contributor

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    +1^^^.
    It also cuts down on the number of devices that go "down" due to a single bad mechanical connection or a single bad port switch, etc.

    It'll probably cost more and take more time initially but the rewards will be reaped come troubleshooting time....and there WILL be a time, hopefully farther in the future.
     
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