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Device Profile: AKCP CameraProbe8 data center security monitor

Sep 10, 2004 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 6 views

AKCP has used embedded Linux to build a data center security monitor that can track both physical and network-related events. The CameraProbe8 has an integral low-light pan-and-tilt camera, and supports up to eight environmental sensors. It also runs network service monitoring software. It is manageable via secure SNMP or HTTP.

The CameraProbe8 includes 8 “intelligent autosense” ports supporting any of AKCP's wide variety of environmental sensors

The CameraProbe8 is intended as kind of one-box solution for data center monitoring. It supports attachments to a wide variety of sensors, and can record data about a wide variety of physical events, including:

  • door opens
  • motion is detected
  • water on the floor
  • air-flow is diminished
  • smoke is detected
  • dry contact or alarm panel activates
  • temperature is out of range
  • voltage missing on any device
  • UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is low

CameraProbe8 in typical installation with full array of peripheral sensors
(Click to enlarge)

In addition to physical events, the CameraProbe8 can track software events and service uptimes, using the popular open source network monitor Nagios, a highly configurable network watchdog that can monitor, track, graph, and send alerts about virtually any local or remote network service.

What's under the hood?

The CameraProbe8 is based on a 32-bit ARM processor. It boots from 64MB of Flash memory, and runs in 64MB of SDRAM. It has a single 10/100Mbps Ethernet port, and two serial ports, along with eight “intelligent autosense ports” that can be used to connect AKCP's wide variety of environmental sensors. The sensors “self-configure,” according to AKCP, with a secure web interface enabling further sensor configuration, data collection, and graphing.

The CameraProbe8 includes a low-light capable camera based on a Sony CCD (charge-coupled device) that needs only 0.5 lux (about half the brightness of moonlit night) at f1.2, AKCP says. It has a fixed-focus glass lens. Color JPEG images from the CIF (352 x 288 pixels) camera can be streamed at 15 frames per second to the local LAN, or at 1fps over a WAN connection. The camera supports panning and tilting through a “precision direct-drive stepper motor,” AKCP says.

The CameraProbe8 weighs three pounds, and measures 12.6 x 5.4 x 1.8 inches.

Software side

The CameraProbe8 includes a “full” Linux implementation, according to AKCP. Its user interface is written in PHP, and can be customized or internationalized. Additional open source software includes:

  • Apache web server supporting SSL encryption (HTTPS)
  • bash
  • perl
  • vi
  • telnet
  • email
  • nagios

The device provides “full SNMP functionality,” according to AKCP, which includes a “full featured MIB for all sensors,” along with snmpV1 and snmpV3 encryption, and snmp and email notifications.

The CameraProbe8 also includes an embedded database capable of storing 146 events, along with four pictures per event. Stored events are timestamped, and include readings from the sensor that triggered the event.

The CameraProbe8 is available now, priced at $895.00 for a basic system including a 1-foot external temperature sensor and all software. A wide variety of additional sensors are available separately.

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