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Setup recommendations

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2020 2:38 pm
by yancho
Hi guys

We are currently looking into options to create some security for our church. We need to set up an alarm system and a CCTV system, plus a major overhaul to our IT infrastructure. As you can see from the list of cameras attached, we will be protecting three main buildings, Home and Domus are attached and opposite a very tiny street is the church. We are thinking to implement a set up like so:

Internet edge (modem) is at home – which will be followed by the Edge router to create the VLANS. At home we will have these VLANs:
1) CCTV – home
2) CCTV – domus (store)
3) Home

Home will be connected with church via a wireless bridge (300Mbs link – Ubiquity Loco M5 probably)

At the end of the bridge we will have another managed switch and connect the rest of the CCTV cameras, which will be placed in VLAN: CCTV – church, and 2 Unifi Aps for guests, placed VLAN – guest. We will also host the Zoneminder server.
In total we are looking at 26 IP CAT6-connected POE-injected cameras in the following set up:
  • 15 placed in church:
    • 1 to record during business hours irrespective of movement or not and should sound the alarm if movement is picked during the night
    • 14 to record only if there is motion and should sound the alarm if movement happens during the night. One of these 14 is to sound the alarm if movement happens at any time during the day (this will be zoomed very close to a statue, so that means if someone enters its field of view – there is trouble)
  • 6 placed in/around domus: all to record on motion; 5 to sound an alarm if they pick some movement during the night; and 1 of these 5 to sound the alarm if it picks movement at any time of the day
  • 5 placed in/around the house: all to record only on motion, and 3 of which to sound an alarm if they pick movement during the night.
To address these needs, we have a few requirements:
  • Be economic in resources (power usage and initial outlay)
  • Be as green as possible
To set up the CCTV/alarm we are thinking:
  • AMD Ryzen 3 2200GE (4 cores / 8 threads @ 3.2Ghz) - ... md-ryzen-3 (35w TDP) – includes a Vega 8 GPU
  • 2x8gb (16GB) RAM
  • 1x128gb M2 for the OS – Ubuntu/Debian
  • RAID1 (2 x 4TB 7200rpm Storage disks (1 Seagate, 1 WD))
  • 1x GTX 1050 GPU (75w TDP)  considering the Vega 8, do we need an external GPU?
  • 1x 500w PSU
  • 1x 2kVa UPS
As a siren we plan to use a 3.5mm jack cabled siren which we will attach to the server and put outside the window. Something like this: ... B0796RDN7F - this should work right? If we have a burglary it is very hard to reach to the place where there is the server, and the siren will be whistling in an empty square in a tiny village, less than 100m from a police station, so it will surely go noticed. Our concern is whether the siren can be fired with simple work.

Moreover, we understand that Zoneminder can also email with alerts and SMS too (presumably one needs an SMS trunk for this right?). Is this functionality easy to install?

We do not plan to have a monitor showing the feeds all the time, so essentially it will be a headless system, and only if there is an alarm raised will someone enter its GUI to check what is going wrong.

Considering that the domus is a store, would it be possible that we install an RFID panel reader so that people who have access to the store can enter without firing the alarm. If there is not such an option, what would you suggest we do for this scenario?

Do you have any recommendations on this set up, please? We are trying to convince the committee that it is better buying an open source solution which is scalable rather than tying in with a company and being locked in.

We would appreciate any comments you might have on the set up/solution.

Many thanks

Re: Setup recommendations

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:40 pm
by snake
That is a lot to take in. A few comments:

Make sure you vet the cameras before investing in all of them. Some cameras are less reliable than others. You don't want to invest in a number of cameras to have them drop out occasionally.

CAT5 is enough most of the time. But, run CAT6 if you wish.

ZM has the CCTV covered, but an alarm is slightly outside of the scope of ZM. You would want to have a battery backup for the system that chimes the alarm, so that it can't be put offline. ZM can work as an alarm system, but you are on your own here. Might be more reliable to just use a commercial alarm solution. I see ways it can go right, and ways it can go wrong.

If I were to do an alarm system, I would possibly make it standalone, and use its own magnet reed switch sensors, and a battery backup (UPS). That's a project in and of itself. The difficult part will be running wires for the sensors. You'd want twisted pair, shielded wire or something that doesn't make all the wires antennas...

For SMS see
You don't need an SMS trunk, you just send regular email to a email address under the ISPs SMS gateway that corresponds to your phone number.

Re: Setup recommendations

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2020 5:51 pm
by yancho
Thanks snake for your informative reply.

Can you please elaborate on the ways it can go wrong to have an alarm based on Zoneminder please? The whole system will be on a UPS so the sirene will still be powered in case of failure

With regards to hardware, can you please double-check we are sorted spec-wise?

Re: Setup recommendations

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:07 pm
by snake
The hardware specs tentatively look ok, however the performance will depend on what resolution and FPS your cameras are at. In addition, there are things to consider like whether you are using H264 passthrough, or MJPEG recording. If you expect 26 cameras at 720p with maybe 4FPS, I'd say you are ok. If you expect 4K with 10FPS on 26 cameras, then you are going to have issues. Review these posts: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=27537

As for the alarm not working, it would primarily be an issue of system administration. You must be competent with GNU\Linux to engineer such a system. If the system swap overloads, and you don't notice it, you could have a non functioning alarm system. I'm not saying it can't work. It absolutely can work. There's just ways it can go bad as well. It could be a simple as the burglar cutting wires to the magnet reed switches. If you don't take into account these kind of things (which would be managed by a commercial solution) then you could get into trouble. As I said, it's another project. Get yourself a book on commercial/residential alarms, and you might be well off enough to manage.

Re: Setup recommendations

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2020 8:10 am
by yancho
Dear snake

Thanks for your confirmation.

We are aiming at 1080 cameras, so were thinking to record at 1080 7fps. We also plan to have H264 compression, which means more load on the GPU presumably, but less disk intensive.

Do you see any bottlenecks in the hardware list? Thanks!

Re: Setup recommendations

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:28 pm
by snake
GPU is generally not used by ZM (with some caveats in newer versions). Don't focus on GPU.

For the CPU, you listed a 4 core standard motherboard (I see it compared to i5 in reviews). If I had 25-30 cameras at 7-10 FPS, I'd get a server motherboard with 16 cores (although 8 may be enough). I have a 4 core (8 hyperthreaded I think) Xeon with about 17 cameras, but these are lower FPS than 7. That system is close to max. That is a professional workstation type hardware (w/server cpu - xeon). I have an AMD server CPU with 16 cores, and it works well. You can buy last gen servers on auction sites with 3 year warranties for <$1000. When in doubt: more cores, and high end server motherboards / CPUs are the answer.

For HDDs: You can use Raid if you want (I don't), but you will want to look into HDD storage for ZM 1.34. You can designate cameras to specific HDDs. Therefore, if you want longer term storage, you could use more than 1 x 4TB virtual disk.
See ... Hard_Drive

Re: Setup recommendations

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2020 5:18 pm
by yancho
Hi snake

Thanks again for your answer :)

The issue we have with server hardware is the high TDP and expensive running costs, apart from not being green. That's why we were thinking of going desktop hardware.

Re: Setup recommendations

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:59 am
by yancho
Although now that we are looking, it seems that a 2x 6 core L5540 will use the same power as the Ryzen we chose, and that's 24 threads in total as opposed to 8. Is core speed important or the most important is the threads available?

We found some second hand servers which have more than 64GB ram, presumably the more ram the better right?

So we really shouldn't bother about GPU?

Thanks for your patience snake!!

Re: Setup recommendations

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:04 pm
by snake
For cores vs core speed, I can't answer that. How do the CPUs compare? Try one of the online comparison sites. What is the release date of each, and also what tier are each. High end server CPUs will have more features than low end server CPUs, so even older CPUs that are higher end than say a new desktop or low end server CPU will perform better (even though they are older), in my experience.

Yes more RAM is better. You don't have to go wild buying RAM though. You can start small, and scale up as you add cameras.

There is some GPU support, but it's in early stages. I wouldn't advise it for a new user of ZM.

Re: Setup recommendations

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:34 am
by yancho
Snake, once more many thanks for your insights!

RE: CPU we are talking an L5640 - so a 10 year old CPU, while the Ryzen we're speaking 2 yrs ago at most. Needless to say the differences exist. But what features should I look at when comparing? L1/2/3 cache? Core speed?

RE: RAM -would 24GB be a good starting point or for a few extra money aim for 48 and play it safe?

RE: GPU - thanks!