Table Of Contents
Cisco Video Surveillance Monitoring Workstation Performance Baseline Specification, Release 7.0 and Higher
Last Updated: April 12, 2013
This document provides the performance baseline for a video surveillance monitoring workstation. The performance of a workstation on which you display multiple windows of surveillance video depends on many variables, including, CPU, memory, bus speeds, graphics card capabilities, and other applications that are installed on the workstation. Overall quality of experience also can vary depending on the type of system used, the number of video streams being rendered, and the characteristics of those streams.
This document describes the performance baseline for a dedicated surveillance monitoring workstation to ensure the overall quality of the monitoring experience. This document also describes the maximum number of video streams that can run with acceptable quality on a monitoring workstation when using different codecs (MPEG-4 and H.264) The values listed in the standard-definition acceptable load table were verified using NTSC video settings.
Note Make sure that you are using the version of this specification that matches your version of Cisco Video Surveillance Manager (VSM). This specification used VSM 7.0 to validate acceptable loads
Tip Use the Cisco Video Surveillance Workstation Profiler Tool to determine the expected performance of a workstation. See the Using the Cisco Video Surveillance Monitoring Workstation Pofiler Tool for more information.
Table 1 describes configurations for a monitoring workstation that displays video from Cisco Video Surveillance Manager (VSM) 7.0. Workstations with these configurations were used to determine the recommended maximum video loads. This assumes that the workstation is dedicated to video. Running other software, such as firewalls, antivirus applications, CD/DVD burning utilities, and general-purpose applications will reduce the quality of the user experience.
Table 2 shows the maximum number of standard-definition video streams that can run with acceptable quality on the recommended monitoring workstation.
Table 2 Acceptable Load per Client by Codec for Standard Definition (SD)
MPEG-4 H.264 SD Mixed
Bit Rate per stream (CBR)
Table 3 shows the maximum number of high-definition video streams that can run with acceptable quality on the recommended monitoring workstation when using the H.264 codec.
Table 3 Acceptable Load per Client for High Definition (HD) H.264
H.264 HD H.264 HD H.264 HD
Bit Rate per stream (CBR)
Mixing Resolutions and Codecs
You can use several codecs on a monitoring workstation simultaneously. However, the number of streams does not necessarily combine linearly. In addition, a 1080p 12 Mbps streams should be mixed only with a single smaller resolution stream.
Best Practice: Use the Workstation Profiling Tool
It is best practice to validate the performance of any existing system by using the Cisco Video Surveillance Workstation Profiler Tool. This tool enables the user of a workstation to determine the expected performance of the workstation.
See the Using the Cisco Video Surveillance Monitoring Workstation Pofiler Tool for information about installing and operating this tool.
Questions & Answers
Q. Can two video monitors be used, either with two graphics cards or one card with dual connectors?
A. Up to 2 identical graphics cards may be used in a single system with up to a maximum of 4 monitors, two per graphics card. While additional graphics cards and/or additional monitors do not generate additional performance within a system, this configuration may be used to provide greater display flexibility. It must be ensured that the total aggregate video displayed within a single system, regardless of number of displays or graphics card, stays within parameters outlined above.
Q. What is the recommended Windows 7 Configuration when using dual graphics cards?
A. To configure a Windows 7 workstation with dual cards, we recommend the following.
1. Connect the monitors to the of the graphics cards using DVI connections.
2. On the Window 7 workstation select Control Panel > System and Security.
3. Select System and click Advanced System Settings.
4. In the Advanced tab, click the Performance Settings and select Adjust for best Performance.
Figure 1 Adjusting a Workstation for Best Performance
Q. Is the Video Surveillance Multipane Client supported on Windows 7?
A. The 32-bit Video Surveillance Multipane Client is supported on Windows 7, 64-bit using Internet Explorer 8, 32-bit and the 64-bit Video Surveillance Multipane Client is supported on Windows 7, 64-bit using the Cisco Safety and Security Desktop. If you have a question about whether your workstation supports the VSM AXClient, use the workstation Profiler Tool (as described in the "Best Practice: Use the Workstation Profiling Tool" section).
Q. How do PAL video settings affect expected behavior?
A. While the standard-definition acceptable load tables were verified using NTSC video settings, using PAL settings (such as 25 fps) should not degrade the quality of the monitoring experience.
Q. Can I use a workstation that does not meet the recommended baseline specifications?
A. When considering the number of codecs, resolutions, and frame rates supported by VSM, and the number of workstations, graphics cards and processors that are available, it is difficult to determine the optimal workstation for a given user experience, so this document provides recommended maximum loads. Workstations that do not meet the baseline specifications may be able to render some video, but they cannot provide the same quality of monitoring experience. If you have a question about whether your workstation can perform the tasks that you need, follow the best practice of using the workstation Profiler Tool (as described in the "Best Practice: Use the Workstation Profiling Tool" section).
Q. What is the difference between "minimum requirements" and this "baseline specification"?
A. Minimum requirements define what is required to install and run the VSM AXClient to display a single video stream. They do not define acceptable loads for multi-paned use cases or the necessary configuration to ensure a quality monitoring experience.
Refer to the following documentation for additional information about Cisco Video Surveillance, including server installation, system configuration, video monitoring, and other features.
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