Easily Avoided Installation Mis-Configurations that Cause Big Problems Later On

We are all human and mistakes happen. Especially when you are installing something complex and you are on a team. Let's face it, sometimes when everyone is responsible for the outcome of a project things fall through the cracks and you can end up paying for those oversights later on, once your video surveillance system is operational. 

The following list is a compilation of problems we see at customers sites that are the cause of hard to diagnose and costly problems down the line, long after the installation of a video surveillance system. These mis-configurations are easily avoided early in the process, but can be hard to remedy once the system is operational. 

Here is the list and how to make sure you don't have them.


1. Non-RAIDed recorders. 

Raid gives you resiliency against parts that break frequently. You should record to a RAID array. Not applying RAID to a storage volume simply means that if one of you hard drive fails, you loose all your video. Simple as that. 

What we've seen in some cases is once it comes to their attention that their recorder is not RAIDed, it is hard to implement RAID without first offloading the video data to another recorder since the nature of RAID will mean that the volume will be reformatted. 

We recommend that even if you have a small recorder with only two hard drives that the recorder be at least RAIDed with RAID 1,5,6 or 10. Simply mirroring the drive can save you from falling out of compliance with missing video. 


2. Video Storage Capacity Is Insufficient

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 check for 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 retention(Retention Goal) vs the Desired retention (Days of Retention).


3. Not changing the default recording path to the OS system volume (C:/ drive) in the VMS

We've covered this topic before but it definitely make it into this list of mis-configuration that happen during an installation as well as an update of system. Some VMS put the C:/ drive as a default value for their recording and don't raise an alert to indicate that the default value has been changed. 

To read more, you can read the dedicated article here. 

How to check for this in Viakoo: 

  • You want to check is you Streams Configuration. Go to Server Overview > Streams. The Streams Configuration page has columns with headers ‘Path’ and ‘Archive Path”. If either of these columns contain ‘C:’, then you are either recording or archiving directly to your C: drive.
  • You can also go check your retention data to see if any activity is occurring on your C:/ drive. To see this data, go to your Server Overview, and click on retention in the upper right hand menu. This will bring up the retention data for each of your volumes for that recorder.


4. Improperly allocating SAN volume larger than 8TB

In the event that you need to rebuild a volume, the time it takes to rebuild a storage volume is directly proportional to the size of the volume. If you are concerned with downtime or your organization has policies regarding off-lining servers, this can be an important measure to put in place early on. You don't want your volumes to be bigger than 8TB because otherwise your volume may takes days to rebuild. 

To read more, you can read the dedicated article here.

How to check for this in Viakoo: 

  • Go to the Server context and navigate to the Details tab.
  • Scroll down to the 'Volumes' accordion fold and look at the columns labeled 'Total Size'.
  • If any of the volumes are larger than 8TB, you may want to schedule some downtime and partition them in smaller sizes. 


5. Mutliple Default Gateways on a server

Viakoo runs into this fairly often and 99.5% of the time it is incorrectly configured. Multiple default gateways on a windows server is a very VERY advanced routing feature. Improper configuration of multiple default gateways will cause seemingly random network connectivity issues. Most noticeably camera connectivity issues. 

Microsoft makes it very easy to accidentally activate multiple default gateways. 

If you have more than one NIC port, only one of them should have a default gateway. 

The reason for a default gateway is to reach "The Internet and the rest of the network" You do not usually get Internet access from your camera NIC port. Don't give it a default gateway. 

Most of the time what you are trying to do is add a static or what Microsoft calls a persistent route.  This can only be done from the command prompt.  Here is an article on how to add a persistent route:

Persistent Routes

Microsoft has a nice article on how and why to configure multiple default gateways located here:

Multiple Default Gateways

6. Not installing Viakoo

I'm just trying to be cheeky. But you know it's true. 



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