VMS Server Load Fundamentals Tested

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Feb 11, 2014

How powerful of a server do you need to run VMS software? What drives VMS server load?

There's manufacturer recommendations but, until now, there's has never been an independent test of VMS server load.

In this report, we share our test findings experimenting with 4 VMSes (Exacq, Milestone, Axxon and Network Optix/DW) and an examination of:

  • Camera count impact
  • VMD impact (full stream, substream and key frame only included)
  • Live viewing impact 

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Key ********

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Per ****** ******

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Server **** *** ****

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Comments (31)

This is the first of our server load testing, and most fundamental. We know we've gotten many questions about this topic and many of you are excited about this and more advanced aspects. Let us know what you'd like to see in the comments.

Great start, looking forward for part two

Why don’t you have all four VMSs on the same chart for the CPU utilization - the low end PC and the High end PC? And, the same thing for the local viewing performance?

Why did you use these vms? What drove the selection ?

Josh, these were the VMSs we've had installed for prior tests, and we felt they covered a good part of the spectrum, with various performance, viewing, VMD differences.

Great test and a good start if you are going to do more.

One thing, just to be certain, it sounds like for the high end you used a machine with (2) physcial CPU's, each with quad cores, is that correct?

Also, as to RAM, you might want to list which VMS's use the operating system's file system for database files, which I know Exacq does, and which uses actual database...

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Off the top of my head, I'm going to agree with you. Simply because the CPU/RAM impact of those databases must be accounted for when considering total CPU load. This is why we did not simply record the consumption of specific services, but instead took overall system load, since many of these VMSs required multiple services of their own plus database services in order to operate.

And...

*, *** **** **** ****.

Right on-- any way in the future we can do a bench test on all VMS Client / Server i would like to understand independtly how Genetec, Milestone, Aviglon, Exacq , Lenel etc stack up from a server / client hardware usage and it would be nice to do a review on failover capabilities- how well they work etc.

Good work guys!

Hi Ethan, Your chart for vms load with client running doesn't match your written results right above it. In the paragraph above it you attribute lowest CPU load result to DW Spectrum but in the chart you credit Exacq. Which one was which?

I've clarified that paragraph. DW Spectrum was had the lowest increase in CPU utilization when the client was running. Exacq was lower overall.

That being said, we really are not aiming to make this a shootout, but that chart lends itself to that. I'm editing to show the difference between client open/client closed CPU usage for each individually instead.

Incredible article Ethan, I think this highlights the importance of head end hardware and infrastructure on large systems, obviously, with more cameras and higher resolutions, the problem is compunded.

I didn't realise that you could use motion detection on key frames and separate resolutions, which is quite interesting.

In the past I have used this

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Great article. I am curious for the graph in this section : High End Server Viewing Performance

You mentioned the best is DW spectrum (no processor usage) but your graph shows Exacq is the best. Does your graph show a wrong legend perhaps?

I have been doing independent testing of VMS perfomance on hardware in our lab for a few years now and have amassed quite a bit of data on Server side AND Client side metrics. Our sales staff has access to this data.

For the server side, we have done Milestone Corporate, ONSSi CS, Genetec SC (Omnicast) and a couple of OEMs.

The server side has many peculiarities as you...

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*** ******* **** *** *** ***** *** **** ***** ******* Point.

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********** *** ****** *********** ****** ****** *** *** ****** *** 'housekeeping' ****** *** * ****** ****** ** ******* *** ***** down.

"The server side has many peculiarities as you start to push beyond 100Mbits throughput. What happens is that the CPU bottleneck becomes less important than a bottleneck in another piece of hardware...usually the HDD or NIC paths depending on the VMS."

Mike, good feedback. Thanks. That makes sense. Do you see a big variance on when/how quickly the HDD...

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The way I start my testing does not lend itself to answering a 'rate' type question. I am typically starting at what we 'think' the maximum is and add/delete streams until the system is at it's highest stable point.

Other factors for the HDD are how fragmented a storage array is over time. When it is highly fragmented..the performance drops. Some VMSs more than others. Defragging...

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I would assume you could alleviate this by using a RAID configuration, however it would also depend on what drives you're using (but we should be talking Gb/s here and not Mb/s). IE - SATA, SAS or SSD, if you're using a Seagate Surveillance drive (SV), the read/write speed should...

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Tim... in my lab we test with RAID sets on any of our systems that we expect to support 200Mbits and beyond. Our smaller systems are the JBODs. We establish a conservative RAID5 with 4 drives even though a RAID10 with 4 drives is a better performer.... but want to be conservative. Drives are 6G SATA and/or SAS (enterprise class) depending on the VMS support. We do not see a demand for...

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I would like to clarify my own mind. When you speak of VMS, I interpret that as the video management system which encompasses any manager database and local recorders. In the tests above I am presuming its referring to the component that is actually recording the video streams.

Great feedback, thanks Mike.

Where is the encoding being done for these VSMs? Are we getting direct streams to the cameras on live view? Is the decoding done on the client or server side side for live/recorded video?

If all of the decoding is being done on the server side that is typically where you have the lower max camera limits and higher CPU usage. I believe Exacq is 96 or 128, no matter that your server...

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Robert,

This question can only be answered with 'it depends on the VMS'. Some VMSs will not perform any encoding of the streams going out to thick remote clients while others will.

Some VMSs, like Exacq, have the Client built in to the Recording server installation, which promotes using the server as a viewstation. As observed, this...

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Nice report! Just wondering if you have compare the CPU usage between single channel and dual channel memory (or even quad channel)? It should make great difference

In addition, the VMS that supports Intel media SDK should help to decrease the CPU loading whe doing video decoding

I'll add some real world stats to this based on our experience with Avigilon.

The following graph is pull from our N-Central Management System from Three servers at a client. Each Server is the Avigilon Branded OEM Dell R710 Server running windows xp64Bit, or Windows7 Embedded. Each server is running the Dell Perc6i, each with 6 Sata 7200K WD enterprise (black Drives) By default...

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3-Aviligon Servers

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Andrew, thanks! That's very helpful and makes sense. It looks like you are easily managing lots of cameras on these boxes.

Related, you might find this discussion interesting or be able to shed some light on it: 32 NVRs Needed For ~1000 Avigilon...

Ethan,

How did you make sure that different clients display same megapixels per second while doing viweng client load tests comparing the cpu usage?

16 camera Exacq system (4x D1 analogs from an encoder - remainder are 1.3MP and 2MP) running on an Atom D510. It is playing double duty as a Ubiquiti Unifi AP manager as well. CPU load is pretty stable at 5%.

97 camera Exacq system (10x 3MP + 87x 2MP) running on a single Xeon E5-2650. It usually runs between 10 and 20% CPU.

25 camera Exacq System (5x 5MP + 3x 3MP + 17x 2MP)...

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******. ** ****** ***** ** ******** *** **** **** ** with *** *********** *****.

One of the challenges with performance testing is what to use as the definition of a 'load' on the system and how to report the result. Since there is no 'standard', we can all use what we think is best.

As can be seen in this discussion...there are folks who simply use 'camera count', others who refer to the Client running on the server and others who talk about throughput...and...

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Hi guys,

Thanks for the informative testing report.

Just got 2 questions if I am not too late to ask about it, since it is already in June.

1) Having MD configured on camera itself and transferred the video streaming to the VMS would it reduce the CPU consumption on the high end PC compare to MD running and handle by the VMS Server itself ?

2) The resulting...

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****** *****.

You always want to do MD on the camera side. To my understanding CPU consumption on the client side (I assume that is what you mean by PC) is determined by the architecture of the VMS software; is the decoding/encoding done on the server side or client side? I've found that 90% of salesman do not know the answer to this and the manufacturer wont always give a straight answer. If the decoding...

**** ** *** ****** **** *** ****** ***** **** ** higher.

Regarding VMD location, see: Motion Detection: Camera vs. Server-Side

Marcus, as to whom was most efficient, this was not a shootout, so we are refraining from picking a 'most efficient VMS'.

I know this is an older article, but how do you get Milestone to use keyframes only on VMD? I don't see that as an option anywhere. Is this an Enterprise and up only feature?

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