Virtualisation in the home

Thought I'd write up what I've been working on the last week or two. I should say this this thread is for geeks... so don't waste your time reading, if computers and networking stuff is not your bag...

The back story here is that we've been having some grief with the neighbours (mostly about their dogs coming on our property and setting our dogs off), and the Sheriff (called by them) maintains the line "neither of you have any evidence". Time to get some then!

So I bought a couple of IP cameras with the intent of using a Raspberry Pi as a network video recorder (NVR). I happen to have large disk drive sat there doing nothing, so just needed the RPi to herd the video streams onto the disk and index them.

Well that somewhat works, but the RPi doesn't have the balls to decode the streams quickly enough, and is dropping frames. In fairness, they're 4K streams (I find grainy, lo-res camera footage annoying, so 4K fixes that). Hmm...need more horsepower. So I decided to forego the energy efficiency of an RPi and get some bigger iron in. Initially I thought about a gaming rig, but they're thousands. Or something like an Intel NUC. Went looking for those, and came across the venerable HP ProLiant. I've had some experience with earlier generations, and decided on that path. They usually have some meaty processors, oodles of RAM and a RAID card.

Most of the decommissioned ones on eBay are Gen8 or earlier, but I managed to find some Gen9 DL360s just coming off lease. The one I found has 2x Intel Xeon E2640v3, which are 2.6Ghz (Turbo to 3.4GHz) 8-core CPUs with 64GB RAM and a P440ar RAID card with 2GB flash cache and 8 drive bays. An absolute beast of a machine. Would have been about $5,000 new. It's 6 years old and was $300. Well not quite. $300 for one. If you bought 2, $275 each. So I did, with the intent of pinching the RAM from one and selling the rest as a bare-bones chassis for maybe $200. No drives in either, but I happened to have a 1TB SSD sat there doing nothing, so bought another one for $80. When the dust settles, I'll have $430 in the one I'm keeping. Which will be 16-core/32 thread, 128GB RAM and 1TB RAID 1 (ie fully mirrored) SSD array. Presently "just" 64GB :) The front ears got damaged in shipping, but I can live with that. Might get a bit of a refund off the seller, I am raising a case, but ultimately not that bothered.

IMG_0771.jpeg


For software, the hypervisor I'm used to is VMWare ESXi, which I have running on another RPi. I tried Linux-based KVM/QEMU, but it's a bit clunky. ESXi is free for a single host, and that's all I need. So I've got an Ubuntu Server VM running with 8 allocated CPU cores and 16GB RAM. That ought to do it..

Untitled.jpg


The cameras are Amcrest from Amazon, and have motion detection built-in, so you can configure them to only stream when they detect motion, otherwise the motion detection is in the NVR. They're pretty nifty in that they permanently stream a lo-res version, which you can use as a monitor to see what's going on, and when they trigger, they output the 4K stream which the NVR dumps onto the SSD and indexes it. The NVR software is called AgentDVR. Here's a still from one of the cameras. Excuse the somewhat-Pikeyness in trailer full of wood that got blown backwards in the recent storm!

Untitled.jpg


Having got the system up and running and recording, I had a play last night and got a Plex media server up too. Next will be PiHole to ad-block and Elastiflow to monitor the network. As I add cameras, I'm a bit concerned the stream traffic will clog the network, which is flat, a single subnet. May have to VLAN it and even possibly physically separate it. The ProLiant has a quad NIC in it, so that's eminently feasible.

So there we have it. Now I just play the waiting game for the neighbor's next move, and catch it on camera. And in the meantime, I'll be adding more cameras. As I write, the CPU usage is less than 400MHz out of an available 41.6GHz, so I've got quite a bit of headroom :)

It's a shame can't use the low power Raspberry Pi, but at the end of the day, there is a defined mission here - to catch the old bag in the act, so I'll tolerate a slightly elevated 'leccy bill for a bit.

@endure @Morticiaskeeper @greenbaggyskin might find this interesting.
 

endure

GCM
If I want to know what's happening in the hood I just ask Vera over the road whose curtains twitch at 10 GHz :lol:
 
How noisy is it?

It's not too bad at idle. It's got the full complement of 8x chassis fans and dual PSUs, so its potential for noisiness is immense. When it boots, it spins up the fans to max to calibrate itself - POST takes a solid 3-4 minutes, so I know what I'm in for if I load the thing up. I can put it in the mechanical room of our basement with the boiler, HVAC, well equipment etc, and that should be good enough. If not, then plan B is to put it in the garage. I put in enough Ethernet to do that when we built the house, so noise shouldn't be an issue.

For now it's just on a bench in my workshop and is quite tolerable.
 

anglo

LE
Thought I'd write up what I've been working on the last week or two. I should say this this thread is for geeks... so don't waste your time reading, if computers and networking stuff is not your bag...

The back story here is that we've been having some grief with the neighbours (mostly about their dogs coming on our property and setting our dogs off), and the Sheriff (called by them) maintains the line "neither of you have any evidence". Time to get some then!

So I bought a couple of IP cameras with the intent of using a Raspberry Pi as a network video recorder (NVR). I happen to have large disk drive sat there doing nothing, so just needed the RPi to herd the video streams onto the disk and index them.

Well that somewhat works, but the RPi doesn't have the balls to decode the streams quickly enough, and is dropping frames. In fairness, they're 4K streams (I find grainy, lo-res camera footage annoying, so 4K fixes that). Hmm...need more horsepower. So I decided to forego the energy efficiency of an RPi and get some bigger iron in. Initially I thought about a gaming rig, but they're thousands. Or something like an Intel NUC. Went looking for those, and came across the venerable HP ProLiant. I've had some experience with earlier generations, and decided on that path. They usually have some meaty processors, oodles of RAM and a RAID card.

Most of the decommissioned ones on eBay are Gen8 or earlier, but I managed to find some Gen9 DL360s just coming off lease. The one I found has 2x Intel Xeon E2640v3, which are 2.6Ghz (Turbo to 3.4GHz) 8-core CPUs with 64GB RAM and a P440ar RAID card with 2GB flash cache and 8 drive bays. An absolute beast of a machine. Would have been about $5,000 new. It's 6 years old and was $300. Well not quite. $300 for one. If you bought 2, $275 each. So I did, with the intent of pinching the RAM from one and selling the rest as a bare-bones chassis for maybe $200. No drives in either, but I happened to have a 1TB SSD sat there doing nothing, so bought another one for $80. When the dust settles, I'll have $430 in the one I'm keeping. Which will be 16-core/32 thread, 128GB RAM and 1TB RAID 1 (ie fully mirrored) SSD array. Presently "just" 64GB :) The front ears got damaged in shipping, but I can live with that. Might get a bit of a refund off the seller, I am raising a case, but ultimately not that bothered.

View attachment 645600

For software, the hypervisor I'm used to is VMWare ESXi, which I have running on another RPi. I tried Linux-based KVM/QEMU, but it's a bit clunky. ESXi is free for a single host, and that's all I need. So I've got an Ubuntu Server VM running with 8 allocated CPU cores and 16GB RAM. That ought to do it..

View attachment 645602

The cameras are Amcrest from Amazon, and have motion detection built-in, so you can configure them to only stream when they detect motion, otherwise the motion detection is in the NVR. They're pretty nifty in that they permanently stream a lo-res version, which you can use as a monitor to see what's going on, and when they trigger, they output the 4K stream which the NVR dumps onto the SSD and indexes it. The NVR software is called AgentDVR. Here's a still from one of the cameras. Excuse the somewhat-Pikeyness in trailer full of wood that got blown backwards in the recent storm!

View attachment 645605

Having got the system up and running and recording, I had a play last night and got a Plex media server up too. Next will be PiHole to ad-block and Elastiflow to monitor the network. As I add cameras, I'm a bit concerned the stream traffic will clog the network, which is flat, a single subnet. May have to VLAN it and even possibly physically separate it. The ProLiant has a quad NIC in it, so that's eminently feasible.

So there we have it. Now I just play the waiting game for the neighbor's next move, and catch it on camera. And in the meantime, I'll be adding more cameras. As I write, the CPU usage is less than 400MHz out of an available 41.6GHz, so I've got quite a bit of headroom :)

It's a shame can't use the low power Raspberry Pi, but at the end of the day, there is a defined mission here - to catch the old bag in the act, so I'll tolerate a slightly elevated 'leccy bill for a bit.

@endure @Morticiaskeeper @greenbaggyskin might find this interesting.
All you need is a few trail cameras, and if you buy the right ones, they can be coupled to the internet,
with Motion Sensors, so you don't have to wade though a load of crap, just see the action.
Example below, just screenshots

vlcsnap-2022-03-08-13h14m43s658.jpg
vlcsnap-2022-03-08-13h14m59s624.jpg
vlcsnap-2022-03-08-13h15m24s545.jpg
 
All you need is a few trail cameras, and if you buy the right ones, they can be coupled to the internet,
with Motion Sensors, so you don't have to wade though a load of crap, just see the action.
Example below, just screenshots

View attachment 645633View attachment 645634View attachment 645635

I'll be getting some of those too, solar/wifi trail cams. We have some woodland, which I can't see from the house. The key thing for me was to record it all to a local server rather than a cloud service, the costs of which seem to add up fairly quickly as you add more cameras.

Our property is a bit of a weird setup. it was originally one 15-acre piece of land. The owner divided it up into two pieces for his two kids, one 5 acre and one 10 acre. The 5 acre piece has nearly all the lake frontage, the 10 acre piece is much bigger, but less lake frontage. Seems fair enough. Through inheritance, two sisters ended up owning the land, and we bought the smaller piece off one of them. The other has the larger piece.

However, to get to our property, we have to drive through hers, and for her to get to a part of her property with a vehicle, she has to drive through ours. That is all enshrined in deeds and covenants, but she's just being difficult and blaming it on us.

I'm not having that.
 
Thought I'd write up what I've been working on the last week or two. I should say this this thread is for geeks... so don't waste your time reading, if computers and networking stuff is not your bag...

The back story here is that we've been having some grief with the neighbours (mostly about their dogs coming on our property and setting our dogs off), and the Sheriff (called by them) maintains the line "neither of you have any evidence". Time to get some then!

So I bought a couple of IP cameras with the intent of using a Raspberry Pi as a network video recorder (NVR). I happen to have large disk drive sat there doing nothing, so just needed the RPi to herd the video streams onto the disk and index them.

Well that somewhat works, but the RPi doesn't have the balls to decode the streams quickly enough, and is dropping frames. In fairness, they're 4K streams (I find grainy, lo-res camera footage annoying, so 4K fixes that). Hmm...need more horsepower. So I decided to forego the energy efficiency of an RPi and get some bigger iron in. Initially I thought about a gaming rig, but they're thousands. Or something like an Intel NUC. Went looking for those, and came across the venerable HP ProLiant. I've had some experience with earlier generations, and decided on that path. They usually have some meaty processors, oodles of RAM and a RAID card.

Most of the decommissioned ones on eBay are Gen8 or earlier, but I managed to find some Gen9 DL360s just coming off lease. The one I found has 2x Intel Xeon E2640v3, which are 2.6Ghz (Turbo to 3.4GHz) 8-core CPUs with 64GB RAM and a P440ar RAID card with 2GB flash cache and 8 drive bays. An absolute beast of a machine. Would have been about $5,000 new. It's 6 years old and was $300. Well not quite. $300 for one. If you bought 2, $275 each. So I did, with the intent of pinching the RAM from one and selling the rest as a bare-bones chassis for maybe $200. No drives in either, but I happened to have a 1TB SSD sat there doing nothing, so bought another one for $80. When the dust settles, I'll have $430 in the one I'm keeping. Which will be 16-core/32 thread, 128GB RAM and 1TB RAID 1 (ie fully mirrored) SSD array. Presently "just" 64GB :) The front ears got damaged in shipping, but I can live with that. Might get a bit of a refund off the seller, I am raising a case, but ultimately not that bothered.

View attachment 645600

For software, the hypervisor I'm used to is VMWare ESXi, which I have running on another RPi. I tried Linux-based KVM/QEMU, but it's a bit clunky. ESXi is free for a single host, and that's all I need. So I've got an Ubuntu Server VM running with 8 allocated CPU cores and 16GB RAM. That ought to do it..

View attachment 645602

The cameras are Amcrest from Amazon, and have motion detection built-in, so you can configure them to only stream when they detect motion, otherwise the motion detection is in the NVR. They're pretty nifty in that they permanently stream a lo-res version, which you can use as a monitor to see what's going on, and when they trigger, they output the 4K stream which the NVR dumps onto the SSD and indexes it. The NVR software is called AgentDVR. Here's a still from one of the cameras. Excuse the somewhat-Pikeyness in trailer full of wood that got blown backwards in the recent storm!

View attachment 645605

Having got the system up and running and recording, I had a play last night and got a Plex media server up too. Next will be PiHole to ad-block and Elastiflow to monitor the network. As I add cameras, I'm a bit concerned the stream traffic will clog the network, which is flat, a single subnet. May have to VLAN it and even possibly physically separate it. The ProLiant has a quad NIC in it, so that's eminently feasible.

So there we have it. Now I just play the waiting game for the neighbor's next move, and catch it on camera. And in the meantime, I'll be adding more cameras. As I write, the CPU usage is less than 400MHz out of an available 41.6GHz, so I've got quite a bit of headroom :)

It's a shame can't use the low power Raspberry Pi, but at the end of the day, there is a defined mission here - to catch the old bag in the act, so I'll tolerate a slightly elevated 'leccy bill for a bit.

@endure @Morticiaskeeper @greenbaggyskin might find this interesting.
You must really hate those dogs.

I've had a few dabbles in partial automation and had a few minor successes, but this is a different league. You are effectively building a high-end commercial-level camera surveillance system for your property. It is quite an impressive project. In terms of moving the traffic across the network you may have to add a router (MOre probably a L3 Switch) and QOS tag your device outputs (By device rather than traffic type/protocol) and move away from the idea of constant 4K streams unless you can master Multicast/Simulcast. Time to get the DSCP books out. Your idea about VLANs is sound, but if you keep using streams it won't make much difference as they will all be trying to access the server at the same time anyway. I have a vague idea that you might be able to address different streams to different memory areas in your RAID array, but have no idea how to do that.

From what I can see you will need about 20Mbps BW for each stream, without network overheads, but that shouldn't be a showstopper on a local network.

Of course I may have completely misunderstood what you are trying to do.
 
Thought I'd write up what I've been working on the last week or two. I should say this this thread is for geeks... so don't waste your time reading, if computers and networking stuff is not your bag...

The back story here is that we've been having some grief with the neighbours (mostly about their dogs coming on our property and setting our dogs off), and the Sheriff (called by them) maintains the line "neither of you have any evidence". Time to get some then!

So I bought a couple of IP cameras with the intent of using a Raspberry Pi as a network video recorder (NVR). I happen to have large disk drive sat there doing nothing, so just needed the RPi to herd the video streams onto the disk and index them.

Well that somewhat works, but the RPi doesn't have the balls to decode the streams quickly enough, and is dropping frames. In fairness, they're 4K streams (I find grainy, lo-res camera footage annoying, so 4K fixes that). Hmm...need more horsepower. So I decided to forego the energy efficiency of an RPi and get some bigger iron in. Initially I thought about a gaming rig, but they're thousands. Or something like an Intel NUC. Went looking for those, and came across the venerable HP ProLiant. I've had some experience with earlier generations, and decided on that path. They usually have some meaty processors, oodles of RAM and a RAID card.

Most of the decommissioned ones on eBay are Gen8 or earlier, but I managed to find some Gen9 DL360s just coming off lease. The one I found has 2x Intel Xeon E2640v3, which are 2.6Ghz (Turbo to 3.4GHz) 8-core CPUs with 64GB RAM and a P440ar RAID card with 2GB flash cache and 8 drive bays. An absolute beast of a machine. Would have been about $5,000 new. It's 6 years old and was $300. Well not quite. $300 for one. If you bought 2, $275 each. So I did, with the intent of pinching the RAM from one and selling the rest as a bare-bones chassis for maybe $200. No drives in either, but I happened to have a 1TB SSD sat there doing nothing, so bought another one for $80. When the dust settles, I'll have $430 in the one I'm keeping. Which will be 16-core/32 thread, 128GB RAM and 1TB RAID 1 (ie fully mirrored) SSD array. Presently "just" 64GB :) The front ears got damaged in shipping, but I can live with that. Might get a bit of a refund off the seller, I am raising a case, but ultimately not that bothered.

View attachment 645600

For software, the hypervisor I'm used to is VMWare ESXi, which I have running on another RPi. I tried Linux-based KVM/QEMU, but it's a bit clunky. ESXi is free for a single host, and that's all I need. So I've got an Ubuntu Server VM running with 8 allocated CPU cores and 16GB RAM. That ought to do it..

View attachment 645602

The cameras are Amcrest from Amazon, and have motion detection built-in, so you can configure them to only stream when they detect motion, otherwise the motion detection is in the NVR. They're pretty nifty in that they permanently stream a lo-res version, which you can use as a monitor to see what's going on, and when they trigger, they output the 4K stream which the NVR dumps onto the SSD and indexes it. The NVR software is called AgentDVR. Here's a still from one of the cameras. Excuse the somewhat-Pikeyness in trailer full of wood that got blown backwards in the recent storm!

View attachment 645605

Having got the system up and running and recording, I had a play last night and got a Plex media server up too. Next will be PiHole to ad-block and Elastiflow to monitor the network. As I add cameras, I'm a bit concerned the stream traffic will clog the network, which is flat, a single subnet. May have to VLAN it and even possibly physically separate it. The ProLiant has a quad NIC in it, so that's eminently feasible.

So there we have it. Now I just play the waiting game for the neighbor's next move, and catch it on camera. And in the meantime, I'll be adding more cameras. As I write, the CPU usage is less than 400MHz out of an available 41.6GHz, so I've got quite a bit of headroom :)

It's a shame can't use the low power Raspberry Pi, but at the end of the day, there is a defined mission here - to catch the old bag in the act, so I'll tolerate a slightly elevated 'leccy bill for a bit.

@endure @Morticiaskeeper @greenbaggyskin might find this interesting.

Whats your electric bill like after a month of running those servers?

Many times over the years have i wanted to go with 19" sized stuff, servers and storage but every time i've been dissuaded by the noise, heat and power consumption, i just don't have anywhere to hide all of that in my house and i certainly don't have the courage to face the electricity bill either.

I've gone with the soho type stuff in the end, synology, 3 of them and they do come with decent camera software too which just makes it all a lot easier but my hat is off to you with this solution. I wish I had the space for it and a mrs who would not kick off about the fan noise.

I love KVM/QEMU libvirt by the way, it's the easiest and most hassle free hypervisor in my opinion. Works great in tandem with Vagrant for provisioning (but so do most other hypervisors)
 
I'll be getting some of those too, solar/wifi trail cams. We have some woodland, which I can't see from the house. The key thing for me was to record it all to a local server rather than a cloud service, the costs of which seem to add up fairly quickly as you add more cameras.

Our property is a bit of a weird setup. it was originally one 15-acre piece of land. The owner divided it up into two pieces for his two kids, one 5 acre and one 10 acre. The 5 acre piece has nearly all the lake frontage, the 10 acre piece is much bigger, but less lake frontage. Seems fair enough. Through inheritance, two sisters ended up owning the land, and we bought the smaller piece off one of them. The other has the larger piece.

However, to get to our property, we have to drive through hers, and for her to get to a part of her property with a vehicle, she has to drive through ours. That is all enshrined in deeds and covenants, but she's just being difficult and blaming it on us.

I'm not having that.
10 acres of land you say. Lots of room to accidentally lose things there. Small change from your pocket, an old phone, a dead body, blunt instruments, etc.
 
You must really hate those dogs.

I've had a few dabbles in partial automation and had a few minor successes, but this is a different league. You are effectively building a high-end commercial-level camera surveillance system for your property. It is quite an impressive project. In terms of moving the traffic across the network you may have to add a router (MOre probably a L3 Switch) and QOS tag your device outputs (By device rather than traffic type/protocol) and move away from the idea of constant 4K streams unless you can master Multicast/Simulcast. Time to get the DSCP books out. Your idea about VLANs is sound, but if you keep using streams it won't make much difference as they will all be trying to access the server at the same time anyway. I have a vague idea that you might be able to address different streams to different memory areas in your RAID array, but have no idea how to do that.

From what I can see you will need about 20Mbps BW for each stream, without network overheads, but that shouldn't be a showstopper on a local network.

Of course I may have completely misunderstood what you are trying to do.

It's not the dogs that are the problem, it's the woman. The dogs are just being dogs, as are ours, that is to say - territorial. In Tennessee it's illegal to have a dog that is not restrained by a leash or fenced in, they can't roam free. Which is what both sets of dogs used to do, I was ignorant of the law. After the first of two Sheriff visits, ours are fenced in on our deck, or go on the leash. Hers, not so much. But I had no evidence of them being on our land. Hence the project.

Your description is exactly right, I am building a mini-datacenter. Lucky old me, I'm in the industry, so I'm applying those principles. I specifically bought cameras that have motion detection built in, so they only stream 4K as long as they detect motion (and a configurable few seconds afterward). Or to put it another way, I am distributing the image-processing to the edge. Each camera triggers when the degree of movement it's sensed exceeds the programmed threshold. The ONVIF protocol sends a detection packet to the recorder, which then subscribes to the rtsp URL and writes to disk. The detection packets keep coming as long as it sees movement, and then the recorder stops after a timeout following the last detection packet. The 4K streams are only active during detection events.

The streams are set to 8M CBR, so I reckon I'm good for at least 10 cameras, even if they were all active. Only have two at present, but that's only because I wanted to try these Amcrest ones before scaling up. But with the lo-res 1M always-on streams, and the secondary ONVIF control channel, I can see a case to separate the camera traffic out.

Again, lucky me, my main switch is well featured. 180Gb backplane, 48 port PoE Brocade/Ruckus job. If it did NAT, I could use it as a router, but it doesn't support NAT. It does DSCP, but I don't think I need that with the backplane capacity. Just segment the network. If necessary, I have a couple of older L3 switches that I could use to physically separate the traffic, but they're horrendously loud, proper top-of-rack datacenter switches.

I'll be interested to see what the addition of more cameras does to the server load (and network). The switch also supports sFlow, so I'll use that to assess any congestion.
 
Whats your electric bill like after a month of running those servers?

Many times over the years have i wanted to go with 19" sized stuff, servers and storage but every time i've been dissuaded by the noise, heat and power consumption, i just don't have anywhere to hide all of that in my house and i certainly don't have the courage to face the electricity bill either.

I've gone with the soho type stuff in the end, synology, 3 of them and they do come with decent camera software too which just makes it all a lot easier but my hat is off to you with this solution. I wish I had the space for it and a mrs who would not kick off about the fan noise.

I love KVM/QEMU libvirt by the way, it's the easiest and most hassle free hypervisor in my opinion. Works great in tandem with Vagrant for provisioning (but so do most other hypervisors)

Only had the thing up a few days. It should be pulling about 200W, and the cameras about 12W each, so call it 250W for government work with a couple more cameras. So that's 6kWh a day, about 60 cents. $18/month. I can cope with that. Fan noise can be physically isolated, so not an issue. I was thinking of using spinny disks for storage, they are much cheaper. But about 15W apiece, vs a few watts for SSDs. RoI in my case is about 9 months for buying the more expensive SSDs now and a much lower electric bill. I'd like to scale to 4x SSDs, as that would also give me a performance advantage, but don't want to go bankrupt either. For now, the two SSDs in mirror config give me enough storage, while being resilient to failure.

As for KVM vs ESXi, I'm going to have a play, and virtualize the Linux hypervisor(!) to create a test environment. I have read that the KVM solution is higher performing than the VMWare environment, but I am familiar with VMWare. So perhaps get more comfy with the KVM/QEMU solution, and when I rebuild the array with 2 more SSDs, flop to using KVM/QEMU. Main thing for now is that it is up and running and collecting data/video.
 
Only had the thing up a few days. It should be pulling about 200W, and the cameras about 12W each, so call it 250W for government work with a couple more cameras. So that's 6kWh a day, about 60 cents. $18/month. I can cope with that. Fan noise can be physically isolated, so not an issue. I was thinking of using spinny disks for storage, they are much cheaper. But about 15W apiece, vs a few watts for SSDs. RoI in my case is about 9 months for buying the more expensive SSDs now and a much lower electric bill. I'd like to scale to 4x SSDs, as that would also give me a performance advantage, but don't want to go bankrupt either. For now, the two SSDs in mirror config give me enough storage, while being resilient to failure.

As for KVM vs ESXi, I'm going to have a play, and virtualize the Linux hypervisor(!) to create a test environment. I have read that the KVM solution is higher performing than the VMWare environment, but I am familiar with VMWare. So perhaps get more comfy with the KVM/QEMU solution, and when I rebuild the array with 2 more SSDs, flop to using KVM/QEMU. Main thing for now is that it is up and running and collecting data/video.
Libvirt is very lightweight, i use it whenever i can over vmware if i can. Usually at work though i'll have to use vmware but at home it's libvirt all the way.

From memory KVM is the redhat supported version if libvirt? It's been years since i last messed with that, i tend to just install libvirt from the repository nowadays (i use mint or ubunu) and have never really had any trouble with it
 

TamH70

MIA
Thought I'd write up what I've been working on the last week or two. I should say this this thread is for geeks... so don't waste your time reading, if computers and networking stuff is not your bag...

The back story here is that we've been having some grief with the neighbours (mostly about their dogs coming on our property and setting our dogs off), and the Sheriff (called by them) maintains the line "neither of you have any evidence". Time to get some then!

So I bought a couple of IP cameras with the intent of using a Raspberry Pi as a network video recorder (NVR). I happen to have large disk drive sat there doing nothing, so just needed the RPi to herd the video streams onto the disk and index them.

Well that somewhat works, but the RPi doesn't have the balls to decode the streams quickly enough, and is dropping frames. In fairness, they're 4K streams (I find grainy, lo-res camera footage annoying, so 4K fixes that). Hmm...need more horsepower. So I decided to forego the energy efficiency of an RPi and get some bigger iron in. Initially I thought about a gaming rig, but they're thousands. Or something like an Intel NUC. Went looking for those, and came across the venerable HP ProLiant. I've had some experience with earlier generations, and decided on that path. They usually have some meaty processors, oodles of RAM and a RAID card.

Most of the decommissioned ones on eBay are Gen8 or earlier, but I managed to find some Gen9 DL360s just coming off lease. The one I found has 2x Intel Xeon E2640v3, which are 2.6Ghz (Turbo to 3.4GHz) 8-core CPUs with 64GB RAM and a P440ar RAID card with 2GB flash cache and 8 drive bays. An absolute beast of a machine. Would have been about $5,000 new. It's 6 years old and was $300. Well not quite. $300 for one. If you bought 2, $275 each. So I did, with the intent of pinching the RAM from one and selling the rest as a bare-bones chassis for maybe $200. No drives in either, but I happened to have a 1TB SSD sat there doing nothing, so bought another one for $80. When the dust settles, I'll have $430 in the one I'm keeping. Which will be 16-core/32 thread, 128GB RAM and 1TB RAID 1 (ie fully mirrored) SSD array. Presently "just" 64GB :) The front ears got damaged in shipping, but I can live with that. Might get a bit of a refund off the seller, I am raising a case, but ultimately not that bothered.

View attachment 645600

For software, the hypervisor I'm used to is VMWare ESXi, which I have running on another RPi. I tried Linux-based KVM/QEMU, but it's a bit clunky. ESXi is free for a single host, and that's all I need. So I've got an Ubuntu Server VM running with 8 allocated CPU cores and 16GB RAM. That ought to do it..

View attachment 645602

The cameras are Amcrest from Amazon, and have motion detection built-in, so you can configure them to only stream when they detect motion, otherwise the motion detection is in the NVR. They're pretty nifty in that they permanently stream a lo-res version, which you can use as a monitor to see what's going on, and when they trigger, they output the 4K stream which the NVR dumps onto the SSD and indexes it. The NVR software is called AgentDVR. Here's a still from one of the cameras. Excuse the somewhat-Pikeyness in trailer full of wood that got blown backwards in the recent storm!

View attachment 645605

Having got the system up and running and recording, I had a play last night and got a Plex media server up too. Next will be PiHole to ad-block and Elastiflow to monitor the network. As I add cameras, I'm a bit concerned the stream traffic will clog the network, which is flat, a single subnet. May have to VLAN it and even possibly physically separate it. The ProLiant has a quad NIC in it, so that's eminently feasible.

So there we have it. Now I just play the waiting game for the neighbor's next move, and catch it on camera. And in the meantime, I'll be adding more cameras. As I write, the CPU usage is less than 400MHz out of an available 41.6GHz, so I've got quite a bit of headroom :)

It's a shame can't use the low power Raspberry Pi, but at the end of the day, there is a defined mission here - to catch the old bag in the act, so I'll tolerate a slightly elevated 'leccy bill for a bit.

@endure @Morticiaskeeper @greenbaggyskin might find this interesting.

What are the laws on surveillance carried out by Joe Public in your state? Don't you have to let the errant woman know that she may be the subject of said surveillance?

It's not that I don't think that it is a good idea, I just don't want you to run into trouble with that old bat's lawyers.
 
Libvirt is very lightweight, i use it whenever i can over vmware if i can. Usually at work though i'll have to use vmware but at home it's libvirt all the way.

From memory KVM is the redhat supported version if libvirt? It's been years since i last messed with that, i tend to just install libvirt from the repository nowadays (i use mint or ubunu) and have never really had any trouble with it
KVM is the hypervisor, libvirt is the control api that understands KVM and others.
 
What are the laws on surveillance carried out by Joe Public in your state? Don't you have to let the errant woman know that she may be the subject of said surveillance?

It's not that I don't think that it is a good idea, I just don't want you to run into trouble with that old bat's lawyers.

Well that's where it gets interesting...

In essence, to record a conversation, only one participant needs to give consent. So I could for example have a dictaphone in my pocket and surreptitiously record a conversation with her (or anyone else). For fixed surveillance, you can record your own property, except where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. So the camera on my shed facing the house is fine, but if I put one in a bathroom say, that's not. Not that I would do that anyway, obviously.

Now for the trail cams, I will have to be careful with the arcs of the cameras not to impinge on her property, but that's perfectly doable.

The interesting part is that she has an Air B'n'B on her property that the guests access by use of the lane over my land. So to cover myself, I will put signs up either side of the lane on my land making clear that it is private property and under electronic surveillance. I don't think that's strictly necessary, but I don't see how it can hurt. We've had idiots at our front door unloading their bags 'n stuff to go into the Air B'nB. All that shit's gonna be on disk too. Could make for quite an entertaining YouTube channel, like the railway bridge that keeps getting struck by trucks :)
 
I'll be getting some of those too, solar/wifi trail cams. We have some woodland, which I can't see from the house. The key thing for me was to record it all to a local server rather than a cloud service, the costs of which seem to add up fairly quickly as you add more cameras.

Our property is a bit of a weird setup. it was originally one 15-acre piece of land. The owner divided it up into two pieces for his two kids, one 5 acre and one 10 acre. The 5 acre piece has nearly all the lake frontage, the 10 acre piece is much bigger, but less lake frontage. Seems fair enough. Through inheritance, two sisters ended up owning the land, and we bought the smaller piece off one of them. The other has the larger piece.

However, to get to our property, we have to drive through hers, and for her to get to a part of her property with a vehicle, she has to drive through ours. That is all enshrined in deeds and covenants, but she's just being difficult and blaming it on us.

I'm not having that.

Can't you just shoot her? After all, it is the American way.
 

Latest Threads

Top