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DW Spectrum IPVMS and Virtual Machines

DW Spectrum® IPVMS and Virtual Machines


Affected Roles:  Administrator, Owner

Related Digital Watchdog VMS Apps:  DW Spectrum® IPVMS

Complexity:  High

Last Edit:  September 4, 2020


Virtual Machines

A virtual machine (VM) is when an emulated computer system is created as an isolated duplicate of a computer’s architecture to provide the same functionality of a physical computer.  Despite the possible benefits of using such a setup, Digital Watchdog advises caution when using the DW Spectrum® IPVMS software in a virtual environment.

This article will outline several points of concern when using DW Spectrum® IPVMS on a virtual machine.

Known Implementations

  • VMware Workstation – Windows (7, 8, 10, Server 2008, Server 2012), Ubuntu (14.04, 16.04)
  • VirtualBox – Windows (7, 8, 10, Server 2008, Server 2012), Ubuntu (14.04, 16.04)
  • XenServer – Ubuntu (14.04, 16.04)
    • Note:  Issues may be expected with this option

Running DW Spectrum® Client with Limited GPU

When a virtual machine is configured with the DW Spectrum® Client software, the client application scans the machine for a video card to determine how best to scale the video.  However, in circumstances where a VM is in use, there is no video card for the software to detect.  This may cause the client to run improperly or to not run at all.

To artificially replicate a video card, check out How To Run DW Spectrum Client With GPU Limitations.

Note:  Digital Watchdog Technical Support is not responsible for making this configuration work.  The use of a physical machine for running the DW Spectrum® IPVMS Client is recommended instead.

Recording Licenses & Virtual Machines

When activating a Recording License for DW Spectrum®, the use of a Hardware ID (HWID) is required.  Due to the lack of physical hardware, virtual machines do not have a composite Hardware ID that will remain static, changing whenever variations are made within the virtual environment.  As a result, Recording Licenses will likely experience problems while interacting with the recording server.  For example, if the Hardware ID of the server changes, all Recording Licenses assigned to the server will no longer be usable and must be deactivated then reactivated before video recording can resume.

It is recommended to resolve all GUID and HWID issues before activating Recording Licenses on a virtual server.

Note:  If you are using a virtual machine as your DW Spectrum® Media Server, be sure to have your Recording Licenses and Hardware ID documented in case of an unexpected Hardware ID change.

DW Spectrum® Media Server Process Termination

The DW Spectrum® Media Server is the only portion of the IPVMS that can be successfully run in a virtual environment.  However, in the event that the DW Spectrum® Media Server process terminates as soon as it is started, the operating system (OS) API is likely unable to return a valid Global Unique Identifier (GUID) value from which DW Spectrum® may calculate a Hardware ID.

When checking the DW Spectrum Log, you may find log entries pointing to this issue.

2017-06-09 15:12:06.945 704 ERROR: Can't save guid. Run once as administrator.

Generating a Server GUID

To create a standard GUID that will allow DW Spectrum® IPVMS to calculate an HWID:

  1. Open a web browser and go to
  2. Enable the Braces checkbox and the Hyphen checkbox, then click the Generate some GUIDs! button.
  3. Copy the generated GUID from the Results box.

Applying to DW Spectrum (Windows OS Only)

To use the GUID from the above section (Generating a Server GUID) for a virtual DW Spectrum® server:

  1. Stop the DW Spectrum Media Server if it is running.

  1. Open the Start Menu and search for the Registry Editor application.

Alternatively, use Windows Key + R to open the Run program, then type regedit.

Open the Registry Editor application.

  1. In the Registry Editor application, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\DW Spectrum\DW Spectrum Media Server and locate the attribute serverGuid.

  1. Double-click on serverGuid to edit the value.

Paste the copied GUID that was created in the Generating a Server GUID section above. 

  1. Once it has been pasted, you may close the Registry Editor and Start the DW Spectrum Media Server.

Applying to DW Spectrum (Ubuntu OS Only)

To use the GUID from the above section (Generating a Server GUID) for a virtual DW Spectrum® server:

  1. Open the Terminal application.  Use of CTRL + ALT + T will open the Terminal application.

Note:  All Terminal commands are case-sensitive.  Please follow the command format as it is written.

  1. While in the Terminal application, use the following command to launch the mediaserver config file.  Press the Enter key on your keyboard after entering each command.
  • Sudo nano /opt/digitalwatchdog/mediaserver/etc/mediaserver.conf
  • Password:  <Use your OS Password>

  1. Locate the line in the Terminal for serverGuid=.

Paste the copied GUID that was created in the Generating a Server GUID section above.

  1. Press the CTRL + X keys on your keyboard to exit.  Press the Y key to say “yes” and save the changes.
  1. Enter the following command to the Terminal to restart the DW Spectrum Media Server.

Sudo service digitalwatchdog-mediaserver restart

Network Issues

Another common issue with using a virtual machine for DW Spectrum® is network configuration.  Digital Watchdog Technical Support will only be able to support as far as verifying if the physical Digital Watchdog cameras are functioning properly and are using an unmanaged network and physical computer.  Beyond this, any issues that arise with camera communication or inter-server communication will need to be addressed by the creator of the virtual system.

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  • 05-Sep-2020