Axis Admits Edge Recording Problems, Offers Solution

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jun 19, 2014

This year, IPVM members have repeatedly identified edge recording problems with Axis cameras / software, first in a discussion, "Axis Edge Storage And Camera Companion Is Unstable", then in Worst VMS Manufacturers 2014 results and, most recently, in On-Board Storage Usage Statistics.

Now, Axis has responded, offering a solution to those edge recording problems, with the company noting that they have "undergone tens of thousands of man-hours extensively testing the system".

In this note, we examine Axis' solution, the issues involved and what this means for edge recording more broadly.

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Comments (29)

Comparatively speaking... comparatively, it was pretty good of them to finally come forward, acknowledge the problem and provide a solution, though it took them long enough. How often do manufacturers do that? Anyone remember Arecont ever coming forward to acknowledge their problems?

However, even before this, I've seen some webinars where Axis was still pushing Camera Companion and edge recording to end users before coming out today on this. So lesson is even if a company does own up to a problem and works to provide a solution, don't expect them to jeopardize sales in the meantime by warning potential buyers of a chronic problem.

"There are limits for how many times you can rewrite an SD-card,"

--what an Axis Tech Support Analyst would say.

"The lifespan of an SanDisk Extreme SD-card is likely to be several years."

--what an Axis (or SanDisk) Sales Rep would say.

I wouldn't be so quick to criticize Axis. There are numerous complaints about the reliability and longevity of SD memory cards in other applications and the larger capacity, the smaller the size and the faster the card, the more the complaints.

Micro SDXC cards have been notable for their unreliability while Micro SDHC cards are not very far behind. And the problems are not limited to SanDisk. It appears that pretty much every manufacturer has their share of problems.

Do an internet search for "memory card error" or "memory card problems" and you will get literally thousands of hits. I ran into one of the issues myself when I tried to put movies and TV shows on a 64GB Micro SDXC card for my Galaxy Note. The first batch wrote fine in my computer's card reader and played fine in my Note. When I tried to add media, even though I followed all proper steps like unmounting the card from the Note and waiting for the light to go off on my computer's reader, the computer said the card was unformatted.

I tried it in the Note and it also claimed the card was unformatted. Then I tried reformatting it in both my computer and my Note - to no avail. Each time I tried, it failed to format. Eventually, I returned it to Amazon in exchange for a new card, which I installed in the Note and left there. I transfer files via USB between my computer and the Note and so far that method, although slower, has worked.

Carl

Our experience has been a mirror image of yours almost to the T.

While we are on the subject of great companies that have flops can we start a post about Ocularis Mobile. I would love to hear from other integrators on that one.

What I find annoying is how tech support always treats you like YOU are the problem. Countless times I had been told that the brand of SD card wasn't up to their standards or it wasn't a class 10. So I switched to Class 10 sandisk and it made no difference. Eventually we just quit recommending Edge recording and had to comp a few angry customers DVRs at our cost. What would impress me more than an apology from Axis would be a software / engineering fix. Like the camera does a read/write test on the SD card and then throttles writing accordingly. The people at Axis are nice enough but they are really slipping in general these days.

I have a couple Axis cameras with exacq edge installed on them and a standard SD card and never had an issue. Sounds to me more like an issue with the Axis software not the SD cards.

Sorry, burn me once shame on you. I have had ZERO success with Axis edge recording using the exact card recommended. I cannot afford to risk my reputation with unproven technology.

When you say the 'exact card recommended', are you referring to SanDisk Extreme? I just want to clarify.

Here's feedback from the first person to complain about Axis edge recording / ACC issues:

Regardless of the troubles with the ACC edge storage instability, Axis remains our favorite camera partner. They still have the best line of cameras and fantastic support.

The fact that they have spent "tens of thousands of hours" sorting out this problem is an indication of their commitment to providing the top quality products on the market. Unfortunately, this report citing the type and quality of the SD cards does not jive with our experience.

We have 2 locations which never had SD cards. The ACC + NAS solution for these 2 locations could not remain functional for more than a coupe of weeks at a time. We replaced ACC with the free version of Milestone and have had no problems since.

At the other location, there are 2- P1346E cameras with SanDisk Class 10 Extreme cards. 4 of these Class 10 cards got fried before we swapped the ACC for Milestone's free version. No problems since the ACC was removed.

So while it is good to know that there is a recognition on the part of SanDisk that a problem with some of their products exists, the question remains for us if Axis Camera Companion is viable.

It is clear that the problems are not caused by the cameras, which are the strongest brand on the market.

We are still looking for the solution that allows edge storage cameras to be viewed and managed as well as if they were attached to a server based VMS.

In my limited experiance, completely free VMS software (no base server fees or anything else) from the camera manufacturer has been poor; like something they were maybe forced into because users wanted software to go with the camera, and is not a substitute for professioanl level VMS software.

Sandisk Extreme SDXC 64GB

Here is the link to Axis "Supported SD Cards"

Updated firmware in camera still no luck

Does anyone know if any of the VMS solutions that work with IP cameras that are set up to record only to the SD card periodically poll the cameras to provide an alert if the SD card recording has a fault?

I have a large project with Milestone that requires edge recording, anybody got alternative edge recording recomendations to Axis that works well(tested) with Milestone?

You should try the OnSSI CNVR (Camera NVR using Axis cameras). There is no need for a recorder in the middle.

Undisclosed OnSSI person, how is OnSSI CNVR different from Milestone's edge recording?

Try Mobotix, they been doing edge recording for 15 years.

Mobotix edge storage works with Milestone? Because D is asking about using this with Milestone, specifically?

Milestone lists all of the Mobotix cameras on thier website as compatable. I have never tried it so I do not know if there are any issues or not. But a call to Milestone should clear things up.

Edge recording support is different than camera / video support. Milestone has a short list of cameras they support edge recording on. Last I checked, Mobotix was not on it.

Having come from a data storage background into IP video, I can tell you that SD cards are not designed in any way to be written to continuously. They are more of a once in a while storage solution. Not optimum for continuous video. You need an SSD hard drive if it is a remote solution or a robust storage array for indoor solution. We experienced huge issues with one of our municipal clients with an Axis Q6032-E running a standard SD card. The thing lasted six months and started throwing errors. We put SDXC cards in there and so far the outdoor cams have been running for 9 months with no issues.

On to our feelings about Axis Camera Companion...We have experienced so many problems setting this up for clients. Its a buggy, untested solution as far as we are concerned. My guys are now installing Linux solutions exclusively.

Dave

Tronniks

It's the software, not just the SD cards. We also ran into problems recording to NAS. Tried 4 different NAS boxes.

I agree that the software is the problem. I'm sending a tech out this morning to troublshoot an ACC NAS system that has randomly stopped recording. All hardware is what Axis has listed. More time and money lost to this system.

I'm glad Axis is surfacing this, but let's be clear, this isn't limited to Sandisk. The ENTIRE SD card manufacturing industry is unprepared for the use cases of their products for video surveillance. Even broadcast-grade card manufacturers don't have the 24/7 use cases that we see emerging in Physical Security.

I had a run in with Kingston about their 64 GB cards being used in a camera a few months ago. After two months of wrangling Kingston and their sub-contractor to finally test the product, they FINALLY admitted the product had a defect. But then they immediately went on spin control and told me that they would not admit fault because the product "worked as designed" for its intended market which is Consumer Electronic products. Even though our use case was well within Kingston's product specifications, Kingston would not lift a finger to correct it because that would be admitting fault and they didn't want to threaten their CE business.

We're going to see similar themes reverberate throughout the SD card manufacturing industry for at least the next year or two, exactly as we did with Hard Drive manufacturers back in 2003-2005 when hard-drive-based DVR sales first started to explode. It took Seagate and WD 2 years to admit they needed to create HDDs just for video surveillance, and it'll be the same thing for Sandisk, Kingston and PNY before they finally start making products made for video surveillance applications.

F, good feedback, thanks!

I would believe that Axis cameras and others with edge recording could be setup to send an email if writing to the SD Card becomes compromised, thus alerting operators of the problem and taking action, either rebooting or replacing the SD Card if need be.

One such way would be to write a script that executes every certain time, every minute or five minutes or whatever, that simply writes a small (1K) txt file to the SD Card, should the write fail, the email gets sent.

These txt files can be deleted by another script after x days.

Might be a temp solution, untill the SD Card manufacturers improve their technology and the camera manufacturers inprove their firmware.

Yes/No?

Unfortunately, we used ACC almost exclusively for small 1 to 4 cam standalone solutions in remote properties where there was no internet. Sometimes we didn't know for a month that one had gone down until a customer tried to export video. So email alerts wouldn't have helped us. It's a good idea for sites that have internet.

I'm not buying the, "it's the SD cards fault" answer. Sure there are bad quality cards out there which may cause problems, but its also down to the camera hardware and software.

For example many years back ASUS had issues with SD card readers frying SDHC cards in some of the very first netbooks (Eee PC 701). Some of the customers who had this issue opened up the laptop and got the hardware part number for the SD card reader and found out that it was originally speced only for SD cards, but with a firmware upgrade they could be made to work with SDHC. Those customers who did not have frying issues, did not have that version of the SD card reader. Lesson learned, not all SD card reader hardware is of the same quality and lower quality ones might actully damage the SD card / increase wear and tear, even if the quality of the SD card it self is good.

I've been running an ARM developer board for a little more than 2 years now which records motion from 4 cameras to an SD card and some thumb drives. On average there is around 1000 - 2000 recordings of 10-60 seconds each every day. (Perhaps that's not a lot?) I've used a SanDisk Ultra, the one which says it's for "full HD" camera recording and I've also used a SanDisk micro SDXC, both class 10. For the thumb drives I've used SanDisk blade as well as some giveaway thumbdrives from conferences. I haven't had any issues with this setup during this time.

This shows to me that it's not just a matter of hardware/SD/thumbdrive quality but also about how the recording engine makes use of the storage that affects the durability of the storage medium.

(I'm posting as undisclosed due to the possible implications of reveling my name regarding this subject.)

Hi all

We just tested Axis´s latest firmware ver 5.50.3 on a Q1604 with a 16GB class X, "generic" i.e. no "brand name" SD Card.

This firmware version includes a feature to test the SD Card functionality, not just it´s presence., it´s called Card Disruption.

We pulled the SD Card while it was recording and reinserted it just to see the outcome, after a small delay, recording continued normally.

In another test, we mounted the SD Card in Read Only Mode, the Camera detected the Card but inmediately informed the unavailability i.e. Disruption.

Alerts, including email sending, I/O activation and others can be setup.

We feel it´s a good step in the right direction for Axis in addressing the SD Card issue.

Hope this info is useful to our colleagues.

Update: Harold also shared screen shots to show the new action to alert on SD card disruptions:

Thanks Harold!

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