eRacks Systems Tech Blog

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Worried about your choice of surveillance system for your premises, not sure what system is more suitable to your needs? Confused where to invest your hard-earned money for your security apparatus? We at eRacks got you covered!

Our top of the line products and their tech are briefly described for you because we at eRacks believe a market educated consumer is a happy and long-term customer. Besides, not one shoe fits all, so why should one system be used for all your needs?.

eRacks has always emphasized on its diversity in its products.

A diverse security apparatus is a strong security apparatus
-Joseph Wolff, CTO, eRacks

Hence, we are offering three variants of surveillance systems

  1. eRacks/HVR (Hybrid Video Recorder)
  2. eRacks/NVR (Network Video Recorder)
  3. eRacks/DVR (Digital Video Recorder)

Each of the technology we are offering to our valuable clients are discussed in detail below

 

  1. eRacks/HVR (Hybrid Video Recorder)

eRacks/HVR (Hybrid Video Recorder) is quickly growing in popularity because of its versatility. Hybrid video recorders (eRacks/HVR) are compatible with both standard analog signal and IP network cameras, allowing the users to continue using their current installed analog security system while gradually shifting to the latest network IP technology. It grants the flexibility to upgrade the existing surveillance system to IP equipment according to the user’s budget and specifications.

A hybrid system integrates existing analog cameras into an IP network, providing the user with all the advantages of an IP system excluding the HD resolution of IP cameras. In a hybrid CCTV system, footage is recorded in analogue quality however the IP network features of indexing, bookmarking, and retrieval are made available through the Hybrid eRacks/DVR.

eRacks/HVR (Hybrid Video Recorder) is best suited to record video footage in a digital format to storage array. It accommodates both IP and analog cameras and captures video/images through an Ethernet network via Cat5 / Cat6 cables from IP cameras as well as coaxial cables from analog cameras. It is mostly used for physical security applications. This option is a good choice when planning for future expansion into an IP video surveillance system as the existing analog cameras can be reused and incorporated into the system without any drop in coverage.

eRacks/HVR comes with a variety of channel counts, and storage capacities to ideally suit many applications. It also supports smart features, including event search, event log, and email notification; a free mobile app that allows users to watch live or playback video from their smartphone. Multi-site video management from anywhere in the world can be done using eRacks/HVR as well.

 

 

  1. eRacks/NVR (Network Video Recorder)

eRacks/NVR stands for Network Video Recorder which is a specialized hardware and software solution used in the IP video surveillance systems. This system records and store video footage directly from the network it lives on for the purpose of their storage and subsequent playback. They work with an advanced type of camera, called IP cameras. IP cameras can actually capture and process video and audio data themselves by using either an Ethernet cable or wirelessly via an existing Wi-Fi network. The eRacks/NVR does not contain any special equipment for capturing video because it receives the video streams already encoded by the IP cameras in a digital format. To support the expanded set of features and user-friendliness, the eRacks/NVR uses standard computers with standard operating systems.

eRacks/NVR systems process the video data on the camera rather than on the recorder by using IP cameras which are standalone image capturing devices. IP cameras have a chipset which processes the video data which is then transmitted to a recorder. It is capable of recording and sending audio as well as video. The more powerful hardware on IP cameras also enables improved smart functionality and video analytics, such as facial recognition. eRacks/NVR systems connect the camera to the recorder, but this is done using standard Ethernet cables, such as cat5e and cat6, to transmit data. eRacks/NVR recorders are only used for storing and viewing the footage.

eRacks/NVR systems are inherently more flexible because security cameras don’t necessarily have to be physically connected directly to the recorder. Instead, IP cameras only have to be on the same network. The video quality is also better as eRacks/NVR recorders receive a pure digital signal from the cameras. All cameras with microphones can record audio to the eRacks/NVR because Ethernet cables carry audio. eRacks/NVR systems tend to have better picture quality, as well as easier installation, are reliable, stable, provide increased flexibility, have a user-friendly interface for day-to-day use, and native support for audio on every camera that has a microphone. However, eRacks/NVR systems also tend to be quite a bit more expensive which is a huge constraint for budget conscious people.

 

 

  1. eRacks/DVR (Digital Video Recorder)

eRacks/DVR (Digital Video Recorder) has been updated for a better performance than ever. It is mostly used for physical security applications. These eRacks/DVR solutions are highly scalable and can be tailored according to the client’s needs.  They can also be configured for home to enterprise class support. eRacks/DVR is a little lower priced than other available systems which makes it more attractive.

The eRacks/DVR (Digital Video Recorder) is a specialized computer system that records video in a digital format and stores it in disk drives or other mass storage devices. This updated version provides 432 TB of Surveillance Storage Drives along with optimized Digital Video recording and viewing. It normally uses analog cameras that are also called CCTV cameras, for recording. The cameras and eRacks/DVR are connected using a coaxial cable which are not very costly. Coaxial cables that were previously installed for other security systems can also be used for eRacks/DVR. This combination is more cost-effective and easier to set up; however, the resolution is usually limited to D1 (720×480). Proximity is a limitation as the analog cameras cannot be more than 700-1000 feet away from the eRacks/DVR without visible degradation in video quality.

The eRacks/DVR recorder relies on a chipset that is called AD Encoder for processing the raw data streaming from the camera into legible video recordings. eRacks/DVR systems also have different requirements when it comes to the recorder i.e., the user must connect every camera directly to the recorder. Moreover, the recorder is not responsible for providing power to the cameras. Each camera connection needs a splitter that supplies power which in turn enable cameras to function. eRacks/DVR systems can only use wired security cameras. eRacks/DVR systems also have less flexible mounting solutions because routing coaxial cable can be more difficult in tight situations and a power outlet is required for each camera. Coaxial cables don’t natively transmit an audio signal, and eRacks/DVR recorders usually have a limited number of audio input ports. eRacks/DVR Home surveillance systems are easy to set up and can be accessed through a web browser. The user is notified by email if an alarm is triggered. eRacks/DVR Server offers standard 1year full / 3year limited warranty and come with pre-configured latest Open-Source software based on the user’s specifications.

 

April 16th, 2021

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Debian LogoeRacks Open Source Systems announces the immediate availability of Debian 7.3

Debian 7.3 is now available in the OS Dropdowns on most or all eRacks Systems.

If you don’t see what you want, just ask us – http://eracks.com/contact

Here’s the paraphrased original notice from the Debian Project:

– – –

The Debian project is pleased to announce the third update of its stable distribution Debian 7 (codename wheezy). This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories were already published separately and are referenced where available.

Please note that this update does not constitute a new version of Debian 7 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old wheezyCDs or DVDs but only to update via an up-to-date Debian mirror after an installation, to cause any out of date packages to be updated.

Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won’t have to update many packages and most updates from security.debian.org are included in this update.

New installation media and CD and DVD images containing updated packages will be available soon at the regular locations.

Upgrading to this revision is usually done by using the aptitude (or apt) package tool.

– – –

That’s It!

Dennis
eRacks

December 21st, 2013

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from The Open Source Newsletter – July 2008

Aside from all the usual green advice, what can a conscientious SysAdmin do to save money during this time of rising energy prices and a challenging economic situation?

Here is eRacks’ top-ten list of recession-proofing strategies:

    • 1 – Update the Linux OSes if they are older than kernel 2.6.21, to take advantage of the ACPI tickless idle. Install PowerTOP (on Intel-based desktops & notebooks) or other similar tools that examine power consumption by application.
    • 2 – Basic maintenance: vacuum the vents (from the outside of the chassis, with the computer off). The buildup of dust and dirt prevents airflow. After cleaning, the systems will cool more easily. The vacuum and/or the little bottle of compressed air are your friends. A word of caution though: don’t even think about reversing the vacuum to blow the dust inside the computer case. The household dust inside the vacuum is not a good thing for the computer (or you). In fact, don’t stick the vacuum inside the computer case at all, since vacuums create static electricity which can also damage your system.
    • 3 – Re-think your network diagram. Old systems are often wasteful of energy.
      • Consider consolidating systems; Own your own virtualization system:
        eRacks/SOLO and eRacks/SUITE are capable of running several virtual machines simultaneously.

        eRacks/SOLO Virtualization Server

        Your physical host server can be configured with your choice of a virtualization host, including the freely available version of VMWare or Linux-native KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine), as well as a large number of possible virtual operating systems and applications, including web, DNS, email, proxy and other infrastructure services.You’ll save power, save money, and also allow for more centralized administration and ease of backup. eRacks will even pre-install the targeted configurations of your choice. Just ask.
      • Or take advantage of a hosting solution like Libre Hosting. Get full (root) use of your own virtual server fast. This is a great way to test out a new project, minimizing both your financial investment and configuration effort.
      • Or use newer low power servers like the eRacks/LITE, eRacks/QUIET, and any of our desktop line. eRacks will happily customize a system for low power usage, with your requirements.
    • 4 – Plan for upgrades. Buy systems that use only industry-standard components (like eRacks!) so that you can upgrade without being tied to a manufacturer and higher prices.
    • 5. Plan for efficient scaling. This depends on the most likely way(s) your company/institution would require expansion in the future. An increase in number of users, production, machine power, etc would each create different infrastructure requirements. Planning longer term, could enable growth while minimizing costs. Using hosted virtualized servers could allow for more flexibility in scaling, up and down, – very handy in peak demand time.
    • 6. Rethink security and firewalls. Use preventive measures now, rather than costly fixes later. Read summaries of firewall logs to gauge how busy your firewall system is. Consider options like eRacks’ failover redundant firewall:


eRacks/TWINGUARD Redundant Firewall

  • 7. Update your sysadmin tools. Make a bootable DVD or USB drive with your favorite sysadmin utilities on it. Save time by setting up system monitoring and detect any issues before they become big problems.
  • 8. This one is for the marketing/sales dept: Find clients that are recession-proof. Where are your main profits coming from? Do you have a few clients in markets that are recession-proof? If not how can you attract those clients, now and get on their vendor lists? – Educational institutions like Trilogy Education Services are usually somewhat stable in their purchasing because people tend to return to school in times of a recession.
  • 9. Again to the marketing guys: Globalize your products and presentation. Keep in mind that a weak dollar may increase your international customers.
  • 10. Always wise: Keep notes – keep an internal company wiki. From our experience, this can be a great tool and reference, saving time, effort and money!

Remember, recession isn’t permanent, but can be long. And playing it smart now will help, and quite possibly make all the difference.

August 8th, 2008

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A secure environment is absolutely crucial for a virtualization server connected to the Internet. If the host is compromised, all its virtual machines are at risk and their services will be affected, learn more from these important internet safety tips and advice article.


eRacks virtualization experts have put together a useful list of security considerations for virtualization migration planners. TIP #1. Use an open source virtualizer if possible. Open source software vulnerabilities are documented clearly, are well-known, and fixed quickly.
Proprietary-software bugs usually take longer to get fixed, and are even sold on black markets for illicit hacking. In fact, there are documented cases of closed source software companies purchasing security hole information of their own applications. Open source software vulnerabilities have less value on the black market, because of their shorter shelf-life.
TIP #2. Use open source guests wherever possible. New drivers for open source applications improve security as well as performance. Open source guests are more cooperative with the host, leaving less room for attack. Windows is inherently less secure, since a – it is closed source and updated less frequently. b – widely used and thus a big target. c – statistically has more severe vulnerabilities than open source OSes which take longer to fix.
TIP #3. Minimize the host footprint, making less surface area available for hackers. A small target is harder to hit than a large one. eRacks typically recommends KVM because of its small footprint, simple design, and ease of use.
The virtualization host provides services in the form of ports and packages, which should only include those required by the VMs. An effective security plan should minimize the number of open ports, narrowing the possibilities of illicit entry.
TIP #5. Use an external physical firewall. It is also possible to use a virtualized firewall, running as a guest, but it can only protect the downstream systems, and not the host. A virtualized IP-less bridging firewall is also possible but it is more difficult to implement, and still doesn’t protect the host. The safest solution is an external firewall, such as the eRacks/TWINGUARD, a redundant 1U system, with failover, running a very secure OpenBSD.

You can look for Fortinet if you want to know about the next-generation firewall.

TIP #6. Assess your security level, including regular port scans (Nmap), and OS fingerprinting, keeping track of any changes. A hardened system will not give out versions of running services, otherwise it would be too easy to know exactly where the vulnerabilities lie. eRacks can give you a head start by building, installing, and configuring your system for you. Your physical host server can be configured with your choice of a virtualization host, including the freely available version of VMWare or Linux-native KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine), as well as a large number of possible virtual operating systems and applications, including web, DNS, email, proxy and other infrastructure services.
virtualizer description complexity level of open source
KVM built into the kernel, uses the standard Linux scheduler, memory management and other services simple, non-intrusive, very stable, easy to administrate –
KVM hypervisor about 10-12K lines of code (2007)
released under the GNU GPL
free
Xen external hypervisor, supports both paravirtualization and full virtualization, has its own scheduler, memory manager, timer handling, and machine initialization. specially modified kernel – has 10x more lines of code as KVM => raises the vulnerability level released under the GNU GPL
free
VMware fully virtualizes using software techniques only, very good performance, stability. very large and complex; more than 10x lines of code of Xen proprietary,
player open (teaser-ware),
fees

July 9th, 2008

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