Testing DVTel's Latitude 6.0 VMS Software

Author: John Honovich, Published on Feb 06, 2010

One of the key selling points for IP Video software is its greater scalability, flexibility and advanced functionality compared to traditional DVRs.

This test of DVTel's Latitude VMS version 6.0 provides an interesting look at the tradeoffs of this approach. While DVTel clearly has many powerful functionalities (redundancy, failover, scene stitching, case management, etc.), it demands far greater expertise for both admins and users than traditional systems.

We found:

  • DVTel's advanced functionality enabled actions not possible in most DVRs and many VMS software packages
  • DVTel's extensive options and settings enabled customizations not possible in most DVRs and many VMS software packages
  • The complexity of the system to be challenging and likely difficult for traditional security managers and low voltage security technicians
  • Resource consumption to be high and potentially destabilizing to the operation and performance of the system [DVTel responds that by design, ancillary tasks can be negatively impacted but core recording and systems tasks are prioritized - this was disclosed after testing was complete - see response from DVTel in the comments]

We think users should carefully consider these trade-offs and the important advantages and disadvantages of this system. Particularly concerning will be the traditional security professional, the most common users and most likely to find this system difficult.

Finally, DVTel's website is poor at providing documentation (e.g., their documentation page only provides an email address and no documentation at all). Inside, based on a series of discussions with DVTel, we have provided more explanation and analysis than usual (e.g., over 50 minutes of video screencasts and product category breakdowns) to help members who may not be able to get a good background from public documentation.

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Product ********

*****'****************** * **** ***** ** ******** (**** **************). ***** ** * **** ** *** **** ** ******* are **** ******** (*** ****** ** *****):

  • The ****** ** ***** ******* *** ********* **** **** ********. This is in contrast with traditional video surveillance recorders that usually have all-in-one recorders connected to a central management server. With DVTel, the two most important of these services are the (1) directory and (2) archiver. The archiver is similar to a traditional recorder, however, the archiver only records and does not manage users or access. The directory manages users and access to video from archivers. Numerous archivers on various physical servers are managed by the Directory.
  • Failover ********* *** ****** **********: DVTel supports failover for both their archivers and directories. An administrator creates multiple archivers or directories and then associates some or one of those as secondary/backup services.
  • SceneTracker ****** *********: DVTel's ****************** ************** ** ****** ** ***** ******** ******** ******* **** a ******** ****, ********* ********** ** ***** *****.
  • Reporting *****: The system can generate detailed reports for a variety of uses that provide detailed audit logs on an action by action basis.
  • Event / ***** **********: DVTel's client application (ControlCenter) offers integrated management and handling of a variety of user configurable alarms and events.
  • Case **********: DVTel offers a Case Builder service enabling investigators to create case shares and share them.
  • Modular ****** ***********: DVTels' ControlCenter application is completely modular. All of the panes can be removed or combined in unique combinations (e.g., investigations can be done while controlling a PTZ while accessing a case and reviewing alarms - from the same screen). Watch the screencasts as it is better shown than described.
  • Extensive ******* *** ********: DVTel offers numerous options and controls for both administration and operation. Almost every interface offers a dozen of more settings. Watch the screencasts for demonstrations of this.

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Product **********

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  • Classic ********: Classic has a limitation of 70 cameras as well as some restrictions on failure, redundancy, SDK, etc. The 70 cameras, however, may run on multiple servers. For more than 70 cameras, users must upgrade to Elite.
  • Elite ********: Elite has a limitation of 250 cameras as well as broad but not unlimited use of advanced functions. Like Classic, the cameras can run on multiple servers.
  • Enterprise ********: Enterprise offers a license for unlimited cameras and use of advanced functionality.
  • ****: *** ******* *** *********** *** *************. ******** **** *** not ******** *** ******* ******** *************** **** **** ******** ** the ************.

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*********

** *** ********** *****, ** ******* *** ********* ******** *********:

  • 32 *** ** ******* ****: Latitude server and client software do not support 64 bit OS. Since almost all of the computers we use run 64 bit OS (our 8 GB RAM server, most of our 6-9 month old laptops with 4GB - 6GB of RAM, etc.), we did our testing primarily using Virtual Machines (for the server software, we used VMWare Server with 2 cores allocated at 2.5 GH each and 3GB of RAM).
  • Resource *********** / *********: The system easily reached 100% CPU utilization in a variety of configurations and generally stayed at 100%. This occurred when we ran the server and client with 1-2 cameras on a VM. This also occurred when we ran only the server software on the VM and the client software on a native OS as well a VM on our laptops. Equally importantly, logins periodically failed as well as the exporting process. Many functions were sluggish with long delays. When we questioned the errors we saw, DVTel support immediately asked if our CPU was running at 100% indicating that our problem is not unique. We also have been independently contacted by 2 end users in the last 3 months complaining about stability problems. While we do not their hardware and software configuration, we find their issues to be believable based on our experience.
  • Modularity ** *** ************* ******: Unlike most user clients that lock a specific layout, the ControlCenter client can be rearrange into various customized configurations. Our concern is that infrequent or untrained users will find this to be confusing and hard to use.
  • Options ********* **********: On both the Admin and User clients, numerous options are presented. Our concern is that infrequent or untrained user will not understand what these options are. They may either incorrectly select a setting or be overwhelmed about what to choose.

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***************

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