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Web servers…..remoting in – taking control

May 12, 2015

A dumb title.  This is a reflective post for my brain.  I have a sense of some things that happened yesterday that are important in my overall support and nurturing of the web security camera system.

the players: a web server running Windows 7, not Windows server.  Genetec software.  Frontrunners systems.

There is a web server running in our network (which is why Dave D says “I cant even access the server on my network”… the server runs Genetec software.  Frontrunner is the network – physical side of things BUT also is trained to work with the Genetec software along with their hardware.  I am merely a dude whose organization is using the Genetec – Frontrunner model.

Frontrunner are the people who come in a physically wire the hardware to the network.  They work with our networking people and set up new switches and configure / assign IP addresses for each item on the network (these items are mainly cameras and a few hand held Intercoms.

Yesterday, I worked with a frontrunner engineer who knew how to support the Genetec software.  He showed me how to assess the health of the web server that is supporting the software.  Derrick – frontrunner engineer also explained and created an account for me to access the web server.  Now I can remote into it and ensure that things are healthy.  etc.  I should share this information with our own engineer Dave D – who did make the comment a while back about not being able to access the server on the network.  The web server has a Genetec software service that needs to be running, like a SQL server or ColdFusion server has a service that runs on a Windows server.   I helped him think though a problem that was occurring in the Genetec software – finding the common denominator – helped us realize the problem was not in our network, but on the server.

In other words – if a camera or a device on the system is non-responsive – then the problem is either

a – in the device (not likely)

b – in the network (ip address Vlan conf) – likely

c – on the server (service did not restart properly after a Windows update) – possible.

the problem is one of those.  my job here is to help determine which it is.

Derrick the frontrunner engineer said “its either the network or the server, im guessing network”.  I helped him see the common denominator in the problem was the server, so he looked there and saw the issue.

I watched the items (entire partition – and then the individual doors – come back on line) after he reset the Genetec Software service, on the server.

There is even a watchdog service on the server that *watches the critical Genetec Server service and if it is not running, starts it.  Wonder if that is working?  The service was running yesterday – only the software relying on the service got a little discombobulated….

There is also a Genetec Security center mobile service that provides web access to the system.  If I ever see a problem with the web client(s) not connecting to the server – then I could remote in and check this service.  Its something, what I call low hanging fruit.  I probably end up contacting the vendor (frontrunner) and they resolve the issue – BUT, its nice and smart to vet out as much low hanging fruit as possible.

While on the server browsing around a bit – I can see two vary large drives (1.81 TB) tarabytes – thats trillons of bytes… This is a video server – in a way, its a web server who has the responsibility to keep 30 days worth of 24 hr recording for about 80 cameras.  That would be a lot of video storage.  One of the two large drives reports only 42 GB available (of 1.8 TB) – this must be where all this video is kept.  There is a recovery drive (10 GB) that is virtually empty.

I am guessing that this is genetec’s server – not ours.  We provided the network to plug the server into, but the server is part of the entire Genetec – frontrunner service.  They put the software on it, set it up etc. They are the main admins.  Derrick from Frontrunner said something like “Its ok for customers to have accounts on the server”.  this is also why Dave D complains and days “I don’t know $#$# about that server”.

Frontrunner Network Systems delivers world class IP Physical Security, Access Control, Data and Voice Systems and Services” – from their website.  Access control systems

Genetec is a partner of Frontrunner systems.  Frontrunner is the big player, will all the infrastructure.  Genetec is one of many software’s that partner with Frontrunner.

Genetec’s engineers had the intuition that the typical analog or digital point-to-point telecom architecture would be short lived. More so, Genetec believed that the direction of the future was the multipoint to multipoint networked architecture. The sophisticated intelligence of software created to manage a complex network offered a major opportunity and would usher in new possibilities to customers worldwide. Thus, Genetec pioneered the first fully IP-based security system. Despite industry scepticism of this new market technology, Genetec’s team developed and perfected the solution.

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