Should I Use A Server With Quad Nics To Directly Connect Multiple Switches?

We always use 2 NIC ports for our jobs. One is for a private network for the cameras and the second typically connects to their corporate network. We are working on a job requiring 4 -24 port switches. So I guess the question is would it be better to plug 3 switches directly into the server and just stack one or plug in one switch to the NIC and and then stack them all?


While you could have 2 or 3 (or more) NICs in a Windows machine that are all part of the same subnet, my experience is that Windows makes this EXTREMELY cumbersome and error-prone. The chances are high that techs sent to service or update the system over time will not understand this configuration and anytime there is a troubleshooting problem you will likely make things significantly more complicated.

My advice: choose 1 NIC to be the camera network, plug a switch into that NIC, and then connect additional switches to that first switch to expand the network to as many ports as needed.

While you could have 2 or 3 (or more) NICs in a Windows machine that are all part of the same subnet...

What if you make them seperate subnets, like 192.168.1.0 and 192.168.2.0, and then label each switch and NIC as such?

That makes one aspect of it much easier, but then you need to enable routing on the Windows machine if you want the cameras to connect to anything beyond the NVR (eg: time servers, ftp server to push image snapshots, etc.).

You would also need to setup your "core" router (using that term loosely in this case) with a static route for 192.168.1.0/24 and 192.168.2.0/24 to point to the IP address of the Windows machine that is on the corporate/non-camera side.

Again, by no means is this impossible, but it is one of those scenarios where if you don't fully understand the network topology you're building you are very likely to turn every troubleshooting job into a huge nightmare. Additionally, I do not think there would be any practical gain to this. Most NIC's these days are 1Gbps, and few (if any) single-server NVRs are going to let you push more than ~500Mbps of data to disk, so your recording subsystem will max out before your network subsystem does.

If OP has a scenario where his ~96 cameras are going to saturate the NIC before the NVR software and HDDs, it makes sense to explore this. Otherwise, I'm not sure it adds enough benefit to outweigh the headaches.

Most NIC's these days are 1Gbps, and few (if any) single-server NVRs are going to let you push more than ~500Mbps of data to disk, so your recording subsystem will max out before your network subsystem does.

I'm not sure I can agree with that since

a) multiple manufacturers make single servers with 500 Mbps and greater incoming bandwidth

b) it seems that, at least in the case of the new Milestone Husky's, the network is the limitation, not the storage:

There is a maximum bitrate on the M500A, however it is not tied to the disk IO, it is tied to the Network IO. In the higher bit rate scenarios, we dual home the HM500A and utilize both NIC’s to give us the 1,250-1,500 Mb/s depending on the quality and configuration of the network equipment. The guarantee and recommendation is currently published at 600Mb/s. (Emphasis added)

You will be able to see live at the show that the disk IO utilization is actually below 20% under this load

Genetec and Milestone 500 Camera Recorders Announced

If the switches you are using have stacking capability I would recommend you use this for redundancy and then you only have to use one subnet and one NIC on the server.

Mike - are you referring to using NIC teaming?

@ Brian I wasn't but you could incorporate if you want to.

I was referring to the stacking option on the back of most higher end switches that allow for redundancy if a single switch fails.

@ Brian I wasn't but you could incorporate if you want to.

I was referring to the stacking option on the back of most higher end switches that allow for redundancy if a single switch fails.

@ Brian I wasn't but you could incorporate if you want to.

I was referring to the stacking option on the back of most higher end switches that allow for redundancy if a single switch fails.

@ Brian I wasn't but you could incorporate if you want to.

I was referring to the stacking option on the back of most higher end switches that allow for redundancy if a single switch fails.

Sorry about the duplicate posts. I received an error message when posting the reply.