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Security camera server madness

February 23, 2016

I support the security camera system where I work.  We have cameras in multiple locations running from a single server in one of the locations.  Last week, the cameras came off line twice.  This means something on the server was problematic.  A windows restart is often the culprit.  Windows automatically pushes updates to the server, installs and then restarts the server.  Sometimes, like when sectors on the hard drive where Windows installed go bad, problems occur.  Our network technician was dispatched to the site and restarted  the server.  The problems were resolved, but in a reactionary way.  He reported to me last week that the hard drive was reporting lots of sector errors.   I shared the info with the manager of his department and a flurry of questions and processes were put in place to take the system off line and replace the hard drive.  Lots of people notified, since the system would be off line, meaning not accessible, while this drive replacement and re-installation of software took place.  Our vendor who installs the Genetec software that runs the cameras said he would need about an hr to rebuild or re-install the software.  Not sure if that would include re-defining all the camera names and repointing them to each ip address for each camera.  1 hr seemed quick.  BUT, once all the parties were notified and our technician Dave was able to run Checkdisk on the hard drive, the OS took care of the issue.  Bad sectors were corrected, either by flagging as non – usable or actually fixing it i am not sure, but the system was reporting no hard drive issues after this.

No bad sector reporting means no hard drive replacing and no re-installing software and connecting to cameras.

In hindsight, it seems we should have simply ran the checkdisk utility and minimized all the rest of the communication.  Hindsight is always well, hindsight.

Moral of the story?  Systems hiccup, people react, processes are put in place and overkill often wins the day.

Moral 2.  Communication is key, letting people know when systems will be off line is also key.  A good manager, like George S, can communicate key things to key people, quickly, even if not necessary.

Moral 3.  Windows can correct or isolate bad sectors on a drive, that should prevent it, the server, from hiccuping again the next time it reboots due to an auto update.

Email info – could be useful.

from tech.

The server at WTCC locked up it may have been Windows updates but there is also a hard drive about to fail it seems to have more bad sectors than good ones and I don’t know if that is covered under the contract

from manager

Hi everyone:

This security camera system “server” at WTCC is in fact a high end HP workstation Z420 that belongs to BOCES.  We have the tag number.

Eric (Help Desk) has created a maintenance ticket for Synergy to troubleshoot and replace the drive.

We have not placed the call yet because:

  • We need to coordinate with Synergy when we will need to take the server down.
  • Before doing this we will have to notify administration in advance when we can take the camera system down.
  • Note: the cameras at WTCC, the Warehouse and door cameras on this campus will be down for the repair. The cameras at FLTCC will continue to record.
  • In addition we will need to coordinate with FrontRunner (Sean – 585) and James (315-) as they support the application that controls the cameras.
  • Dave (585-) will also be available to assist with the repair as necessary

The server and cameras are up and running now but based on the bad hard drive sectors, It does need to be replaced as soon as possible.

On Monday, I will be asking our Help Desk Manager Scott (585) to coordinate these activities with the vendors and to work with Donna (315-) to let her know in advance when the cameras will be down.  We will ask Donna to communicate the repair timeframe to the other admins who use the system. The manual door override system will still work.

Thank you,


from tech.

To: all

I ran Check disk last night and it found and repaired the problems I rebooted the camera server this morning and it came up clean I do not think we need to do anything more at this point in time. Thank you all for your help.



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