Home surveillance with ZoneMinder

I am looking for some thoughts on purchasing a used server to run ZoneMinder. My setup, once completed, may have up to 8 cameras at 1440p. I plan on running all or the majority of these cameras in motion detect mode. I would like to keep the cost of the PC, minus storage, under $250.

I currently have one 1440p camera that I cam conducting some testing with. I have Zoneminder installed on my i3 Skylake system with Ubuntu 16.04LTS.

From the reading I have done, it seems that ZoneMinder likes a high core count and a fair bit of RAM. I am thinking that it may be cheaper to purchase a used rack server than to put an i7 in the rig I am currently using. Not only that, I can get a significantly higher core count with the used server. I have no experience with enterprise equipment. Is there anything special that I need to be on the lookout for? What are your thoughts here?

I found this system on eBay, I seems like it might work quite well.

In addition, I will need a POE switch. I am also not above going with a used switch. I plan on connecting a second router, that I already have, to my network and putting the Zoneminder server on a different subnet, so that the server does not have access to any of my other systems on the network. I have looked at used Cisco switches, but I have no experience with configuring them. Is this a huge learning curve?

For storage, I will most likely use WD purples or something similar.

As I do not have a server rack currently, the hardware does not need to be rack mount. Though I would like to rack mount my networking equipment eventually; now may be the time to do this.

Thanks you all for the assistance!

You can’t with a R410, its SAS only.

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Newegg has some 3TB WD SAS drives for 100 bucks. Do you see any issues with using these for a system with this use case?

Cisco switches aren’t too bad too figure out. Little bit of youtube. Little bit of reading documentation. Get into the switch set everything up and forget to save config file. Unit reboots and your screwed. Seriously though not bad just get your hands dirty and if you get stuck holler at me.


Sounds good. Thanks for the help!

Should be good. Found a nice article talking about them.

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Nice article on the hard drives.

Found this as a possible switch.

If I go this route, I would like to replace my existing 8 port dumb switch.

Will this switch provide gigabit to the devices on my network while also providing POE on the ports that need it? I know some consumer grade switches only have POE capability on some ports.

I thought SATA worked fine on SAS controllers?

Certain controllers are SAS only, while some can take both. The R710 is one of these.

I’ve been doing a little more testing. With one camera connected, with the settings I am using, I am running at between 9 and 13% CPU load as show in top. This is with the camera set in motion detect with 2 zones. With these results, I think I will try the i3 for now and see how it goes. It may be enough. I’ll keep you all updated as things progress.


Yeah, even though the X5670’s are pretty old, I think it would be kind of insane if an 8 camera security system needed 12 3Ghz cores… better for your electric bill too.

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I knew a server like that would be overkill. Eventually I would like to combine all of my other hardware into one server. Cameras, FreeNAS and PFsense. If the i3 keeps trucking along like it is, it may be a while.

I do want a Cisco switch though. I need more ports anyways, and having the extra control is an added bonus.

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Almost have my first camera installation complete. Need to hang the box once daylight hits.

I am using a POE injector until I can get a different switch. This will allow me to test ZoneMinder settings with a live camera.

EDIT: changed topic name and location to better reflect the direction this thread is going.

Are you certain? Ive looked at many perc6 cards and all of them have worked with sata.

Edit: checked the manual http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/19/product-support/product/poweredge-r410/manuals

They don’t call out specifically if the card is or is not like that but they do state on pg84 and 90 that SAS and SATA is supported. I don’t know why Dell would have made some perc6 cards backwards compatible and other not. You should be fine with that machine @Cobra92fs

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Maybe its just me, but the r410 I got did not come with a perc card, it uses some other one.

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First camera is up and running. I have some work to do in the zone settings to get the motion detect sensitivity I want. Once I determine what these settings are, I will post them.

So far, the i3 Skylake I have is holding up well. Running at about 10 percent load with one camera in motion detect mode. Once I get more cameras up, we will see how this changes.

The R410 or something similar is still on the table, but less likely now that I have real performance numbers from my current rig. If I need more horsepower, I will probably look at a non-K i7 for my current system.

I appreciate the information on the R410. It will be useful should I go this route.

Out of curiosity what camera’s are you using? I once tried to use zone minder using CCTV cameras with a PCIe card but never could get zoneminder to recognize more than one video stream. Eventually gave up and bought a cheap chinese DVR.

I have one Reolink RLC-410. This is an IP camera. I may switch vendors to amcrest or foscam as both of them have an API available. Reolink does not publish their API.

Ill test more this evening, but I think I got my motion detect settings working. With a little reading of the ZoneMinder Wiki, I know understand the zone settings I am using. It is sensative enough that I am getting a lot of false positive trips. Ill tighten up the settings until these stop.

This is the good and bad thing about ZoneMinder. Everything can be tuned. And must be tuned. It is certainly not plug and play, at least in my case.