Deploying Linux Open Source IP Video Surveillance with ZoneMinder

September 4, 2008 by Garrett Smith

We’ve recently outgrown our Video Surveillance system at the office. We have a large facility with a combination of IP and traditional analog CCTV surveillance cameras in place to monitor the warehouse and common areas.

In the coming weeks, we will be rolling out a new system, a Linux based, open source platform called ZoneMinder.

ZoneMinder runs on practically any Linux distribution, and supports both traditional analog CCTV cameras as well as IP Network Video cameras from a variety of manufacturers.

Other features of ZoneMinder include:

    • Support Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras, extensible to add new control protocols.
    • Built on standard tools, C++, perl and php.
    • Uses high performance MySQL database.
    • High performance independent video capture and analysis daemons allowing high failure redundancy.
    • Multiple Zones (Regions Of Interest) can be defined per camera. Each can have a different sensitivity or be ignored altogether.
    • Large number of configuration options allowing maximum performance on any hardware.
    • User friendly web interface allowing full control of system or cameras as well as live views and event replays.
    • Supports live video in mpeg video, multi-part jpeg and stills formats.
    • Supports event replay in mpeg video, multi-part jpeg, stills formats, along with statistics detail.
    • User defined filters allowing selection of any number of events by combination of characteristics in any order.
    • Event notification by email or SMS including attached still images or video of specific events by filter.
    • Automatic uploading of matching events to external FTP storage for archiving and data security.
    • Includes bi-directional X.10 (home automation protocol) integration allowing X.10 signals to control when video is captured and for motion detection to trigger X.10 devices.
    • Highly partitioned design allow other hardware interfacing protocols to be added easily for support of alarm panels etc.
    • Multiple users and user access levels
    • Multi-language support with many languages already included
    • Full control script support allowing most tasks to be automated or added to other applications.
    • Support external triggering by 3rd party applications or equipment.
    • xHTML mobile/cellular phone access allowing access to common functions.

For host server hardware, we are using a new product recently launched by Duluth, MN based RochBochs called VideoBochs.

We’ll be taking the core of our current surveillance system offline over the next week or so, and bringing the new VideoBochs/ZoneMinder server online. We intend to deploy a variety of IP cameras in tandem with ZoneMinder, from manufacturers including Toshiba, Axis and Mobotix.

Similar to Asterisk, trixbox, Freeswitch and other OSS based telephony platforms, Zoneminder has a loyal (albeit seemingly much smaller) community surrounding the project. Look for another post in the coming weeks detailing more of our experience rolling out open source IP Video Surveillance.


  • Jim

    How did you get on with this? How is zoneminder holding up? be great to get some feedback as I am thinking of doing the same and going this route cheers Jim

  • NB that “motion” (linux only) is also a good option for surveillance:

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