Zoneminder Computer


So recently a good friend of mine approached me with a problem. He owns a vacation cabin in a pretty remote area. Recently however, some vandals broke in thought he back and stole some tools. He needs a security camera system, and I offered to help.

I plan on using ZoneMinder with 3 IP Cameras thoughout the building. However, when it comes to hardware I'm not the brightest penny in the fountain.

My plan was to use a Dell Optiplex 780 as the zoneminder server. These PCs can be found for pretty cheap on ebay or the local goodwill, and the core 2 duo and 4 GB of RAM is more than enough for Zoneminder. However, I'm running into a problem with Hard Drives.

For a security camera storage device, should I go with:

  • One, large, 3-4 TB hard drive
  • Invest in a RAID card and go all out with RAID1 3 TB drives

I've seen lots of security camera DVR systems use only one hard drive. We're on a pretty tight budget and I would like to go this route... Is it a bad idea to only go with one? This zoneminder machine has to be able to record for quite a while on its own, as he only visits the cabin on weekends and such. There is also a very limited, hacked-up 3G internet connection, so offsite backups and such is a no go.

I used one drive a 6tb wd purple with my zone minder setup I will have to admit its pretty cpu hungry I put an i7 and it usually runs around 80% in modect. Although I was running 6 1080p ip cameras so that could be the problem. I think you will be fine with one drive just set it to modect so it only records when there is motion and you should be fine for storage.

Thanks for the response!! I forgot about the WD Purple series. Will definately look into that.

Also yeah I think it should be fine, I'm only running 2x 720 P cameras (I have an identical setup at my house)

Thanks again for the response :)

If there's decent enough internet out there you could consider a off site backup every day or so. Depends on how much data will be captured in 24 hours.

Yeah I really do wish I could do the offsite backups. Unfortunately theres no cable companies willing to drop a line, and my only connection at the moment is a 3G connection with a Yagi antenna and a limited data plan.

Hmm doing offsite backupson limited 3g isn't a good idea ;). I personaly think a onsite backup outside of the recording device would be preferable but then again if they take the time to errase the footage on your recording disk then they'll probably find your backup.
You'll have to ask yourself how far you want to go and how far you think the thiefs will go. Often the sight of security camera is enough to make sure the won't break-in.

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Should be fine since your talking about 3 cameras, set to motion detect you won't tax the system too bad but keep in mind that Zoneminder needs a LAMP server so just make sure you hit the minimum spec in that regard.

1 large WD purple or any drive rated for AV work, I've been running 7 cameras for about 9 months using a 3tb WD purple, all cameras set to motion detect w/defined zones within each camera and have used about 50% of the drive space, but I do run filters that remove low frame counts (I forget what ZM calls a false positives) from the system, this can be done automatically or run manually.

Shouldn't be a issue as long as power is constant and you have a reliable computer, in 9 months my system has been rebooted maybe 3 times, and it is more powerful than the Optiplex but it has other things it does besides running the CCTV system, I have more problems with a constant feed display (monitoring) in Firefox of all the cameras then with ZM itself.

Of course you know to use POE cameras so you will need POE injectors for each camera or a POE will make life much simpler and the cameras a lot more secure.

@blanger Thank you for the info!!!

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