Subscriber Discussion

Consider Switching From Pivot3 To Dell

I am currently using Pivot 3 servers (Dell) and am considering switching to an off the shelf Dell instead. Any input would be appreciated.

Jason, how many cameras do have? Are you dealing with modest storage (tens of TBs) or huge storage (PB+)? Is VMS server redundancy important?

If you can elaborate a little, we can provide better recommendations.

Currently we have 98 camera operating on 4 servers (2 Xeon E5620 @ 2.4Ghz and 2 Xeon 3450 @ 2.67Ghz. However, the VMS crashes frequently when motion detection is enabled. The VMS does not support motion detection at the camera (brand specific), so all streams (H.264) are decoded, searched for motion and then archived. The servers we have now cant keep up and we have turned off the motion detection at the server and are now impacting our storage duration. We are down to about 20 days. We have about 60 TB's I believe. As to redundancy, I currently have a fail over server, but plan to put it into production to load balance until I can sort all this out. Thanks for your help!

An average of 25 cameras per server and having such problems, huh?

Have you talked to your VMS tech support? What do they say about the crashing? Are there any known issues between the VMS and Pivot3? I've seen that before.

Also, have you checked if there are ways to adjust motion detection? For instance, some VMSes have options to only do motion detection on key frames which can significantly reduce load.

I am certainly not trying to convince you to stay with Pivot3 but I'd first want to check those issues before going through the expense and time of switching hardware.

The servers with the E5620 processors seem to be able to handle 24 cameras at 62-68% CPU usage and 28 cameras at 72-83% CPU usage. The smaller servers with the X3450 processors can only handle about 14 cameras at 75-80% CPU usage. I have spoken to the VMS engineers and they are certain the crashing is the result of overloaded servers, and as far as I can tell they are correct. When I tested lower camera counts, the service did stabilize. I have not looked into limiting motion detection to Key Frames. I will definitely look into that! To clarify, I do not intend to replace the existing Pivot 3 servers, I simply could not afford to. However, I do want to buy additional servers to load balance now, and to provide for future expansion which is coming very soon. Because I am losing my fail over functionality by pressing my fail over server into production, I am not sure I am benefiting from the Pivot 3 architecture which comes at some additional cost to an off the shell Dell. Again, Thank you for your help, it is of great value!

If you are going to use Pivot3, there are 2 core claimed advantages - redundancy, i.e. failing over to another Pivot3 box, and SAN scalability, using hundreds of TBs of storage.

If you are not going (or can't) to take advantage of that, you'd like pay less and get better support directly from a Dell of HP.

Btw, one other thing to check with your VMS is whether you can do motion detection on a second lower resolution stream. Since motion detection is likely the big issue here, I am trying to think of ways you can solve it with configuration changes.

Thanks John, I will talk to the VMS engineers again to see if that is possible. I think I will start another thread on VMS integration into Software House CCURE 9000.

How Many megapixels are your cameras and what is the frame rate that you are recording at?

We are using the Dell 510 servers for both our Pivot3 storage server and our VMS software. This configuration significantly reduced the cost of hardware. One virtual mach consist of 36T raw space, 24T usable after all software has been installed. Each machine has 6 configured arrays. There are about 45, 5mp cameras running on each server; video analylics runs on a separate server. So far over 90 servers have been deployed without a hitch; Pivot3 stands behind the Dell servers as if they were their own.

Donna, and the hardware savings come from eliminating separate machines for the VMS software? You have 90 with this configuration. How many roughly would it be with a traditional architecture?

Yes, the savings is from elimination of hardware. A traditional configuration would require a server for each software package with a limit of 16 cameras per server. Pivot3 allows for the VMS and storage to share the same managed server; we record locally and pull video to the SOCs. We have deployed over 1000 camera in less than a year and are still growing. By this year end we will also have a PSIM in place.

Servers were reduced by 60% because of the need for analytics at some locations.

This configuration is hot swappable and can be expanded on the fly without powering down. Each server has a redundent power supply.

One question, what is the advantage of pivot3?

We use quite a bit of Pivot3, but the only advantage to that platform is where you use 3 or more CloudBanks or vSTACs to get the RAID level to support an entire appliance failure. Dell builds Pivot3s hardware to their specs. For smaller installs we that do not require that level of redundancy, we use Dell R520 or R 720xd units. We have started using more Iomnis product which is basically Dell hardware optimized for video processing and storage. Great product.

Iomnis is an integrator, right?

Iominis looks to be a valued add reseller of Dell, like BCD is for HP.

Go with Dell. I've been using them for the past couple years and they are fantastic. The support is awesome and worth every penny for Prosupport NBD. Far superior to any of the 3rd party offerings like Pivot3, Intransa, etc.

Dell support to the Enterprise Storage Branch is not recommended. We have been dealing with them for several years. I don't now the rest. But we have "gold service" 7x24x2 and is far for be as good as it should.

I was looking at suggesting Pivot3 vs. a traditional Dell setup with Server/ DAS for a 400 camera setup.All cameras are Axis 1.3 MP or less and the client is looking to store video for 30 days. The existing VMS is from Genetec.

Redudancy and uptime for the system are critical.

Are there any significant advantages of using Pivot3?

Vivek, the two main claimed advantages would be eliminating the need for a separate server to run Genetec, as it can be run on/inside the Pivot3 appliances plus the built in fault tolerance if one of the Pivot3 boxes goes offline.