At Viakoo, we see lots of different customer configurations with hardware and software of all flavors and colors. When we first activate our customers, we check the network, server, VMS and camera configuration settings.
In general, we see these three most common issues:
#1 Quietly not recording video streams
Problem: When you rely on your VMS to tell you whether or not your camera is recording, you may be looking at the wrong information to give you peace of mind. For many users, if they have hundreds of cameras recording to a dozen servers or more spread out over a broad geographic area, they are forced to remotely log into systems and check status. It forces people to use short visual tests to verify everything is okay. Often, we see users looking at live video from a camera or going to look for the stored video on a server. Status values that indicate the VMS is able to successfully connect to a camera is confused with whether it is recording at the current moment. The reality is those actions do not validate the video stream is actually being properly recorded. And there are cases when the red "Recording" indicator is on, but hidden issues and software bugs are putting you at risk of missing video.
How to see this in Viakoo: Viakoo automatically checks multiple places in the video network to ensure you are recording. We look at the network traffic from the camera to the VMS itself, where it is storing data, and cross-correlate it to what we can learn from the VMS, the network switch and the status of the camera itself to not only tell you whether it is currently recording, we can often tell you specifically why and what to do about it. We share this information with you in several ways:
- Look at your Tickets to see if Viakoo has detected that a stream has stopped recording. That would be the easiest way to find out
- In the Stream View, look at the' and columns to see if the stream of interest is having issues.
- In the Server Overview panes, it will show you a collection of squares for each video stream configured to record to the associated server. Any one of these video streams that are not recording will be highlighted with a red box.
#2 Quiet Operating System Issues
Problem: There are variety of hidden system issues that VMS packages aren't addressing. One of the most common issues that we see is file system corruption (see post on Dirty Bit). Another subtle problem is associated updated packages on the system which is reflected in a "pending reboot" status. These two problems are indicators that the operating platform is in an uncertain and potentially unstable state but most software continues to function as if everything is okay.
How to see this in Viakoo: Viakoo offers the ability to view information about the configuration and status of all the assets in your activated video network infrastructure. Viakoo shows you this in several places:
- Check Tickets tab to see if Viakoo has generated a tickets for these kinds of problems.
- The server details tab allows you to view the volume dirty bit status information as well as other component states.
#3 Actual video retention is nowhere near where it should be
Problem: When a video surveillance system is designed, each camera is specified with recording parameters. One of these parameters is the number of days the video from that camera needs to be retained. Another parameters are the camera frame rate to be recorded, its resolution, codec and whether its enable for motion detection. All these parameters affect how much storage is required to make sure there is enough space for all the video streams to meet their goals. This is why these specifications are so important because they are used to calculate how much storage needs to be purchased and configured so all the cameras make their goals.
Unfortunately, the people who design a system aren't necessarily the people who implement it. Even when they are the same people, setting up hundreds of cameras in different locations and configurations, people make mistakes. A camera could be installed using its default factory settings. People can inadvertently have a typo in the frame rate setting. These kinds of mistakes of implementation can cause your overall system to under-perform, which leads to critical video data getting deleted prior to the intended retention goal.
There is no mechanisms in most video management software packages that allows you to know when one of your streams is not achieving the desired retention. Failing to achieve retention goals can mean falling out of compliance either for regulatory or company standards.
How to see this in Viakoo: Viakoo has a number of places that allow you to see retention patterns and whether you are in compliance overall and on an individual camera stream.
- Check ticket details to see if Viakoo has generated a tickets for this problem
- Look at the Video Retention Compliance (VRC%) to see if it has dropped below 100%. If it has, keep drilling down at each level to find out which stream fell out of compliance.
- Look at the retention histograms to see the retention pattern for all volumes and look for histograms ending too soon.
- You can use the two fields located in the Stream View table to compare values and see the actual vs the goal. .