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DW Blackjack Server Maintenance and Upkeep

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DW Blackjack® Server Maintenance and Upkeep

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Affected Roles:  Administrator, Owner

Complexity:  Low

Last Edit:  September 2, 2021

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Server Maintenance

DW Blackjack® devices are a reliable and dedicated series of security servers that can last for years of operation, especially when maintained and properly cared for.  While most DW Blackjack Server models are designed for enterprise-level use, system owners and administrators should periodically perform system checks on these products.

This article will outline some of the recommended maintenance and care that can be performed for a DW Blackjack Server.

Supported/Affected Devices:

  • DW Blackjack® Bolt™
  • DW Blackjack® Cube™
  • DW Blackjack® P-Rack™
  • DW Blackjack® E-Rack™
  • DW Blackjack® Rack™
  • DW Blackjack® Mid-Tower™
  • DW Blackjack® Tower™
  • DW Blackjack® MINI™
  • DW Blackjack® NAS™

DW Blackjack® Recommended Care

While not a strict requirement, it is recommended to check the following items for the care and upkeep of a DW Blackjack® product.

Storage/Installation Location

DW Blackjack® Servers are manufactured with the intention that the server will be acting primarily as hardware for the DW Spectrum® system.  As these units are physical devices, the environment that a DW Blackjack unit is installed in will affect the overall condition of the system.

For example, it is recommended to install the DW Blackjack unit(s) in a secure, cool area that has proper airflow to mitigate overheating issues.   Locations such as closets, crawlspaces, cabinets, etc. do not offer proper airflow and can often host particulates in the air, which can lead to a considerable amount of dust to accumulate inside of the DW Blackjack hardware.  In the event that a unit has a buildup of dust, shutdown the unit and use a compressed can of air to clear the fans and vents.  It should not be necessary to open the machine to perform this maintenance.

Programs and Files

DW Blackjack® servers come with preinstalled software and tools for the operation and management of DW Spectrum® systems.  It is recommended to limit any additional software installations to the DW Blackjack unit to necessary programs for the overseeing of a DW Spectrum® setup.  It is easier to determine the cause of system issues that may be occurring from the interference from third-party programs by minimizing the presence of such third-party software.

Use a Dedicated Workstation

DW Spectrum® IPVMS will come preinstalled on each DW Blackjack® Server.  The DW Spectrum Server portion of this software can consume a considerable amount of processing resources to ensure that the security system experiences minimal downtime.  Considering this, Digital Watchdog recommends against regularly using the DW Spectrum® Client on the same machine as the DW Spectrum Server software and to use a different, dedicated workstation instead.

In cases where economy-grade server hardware are experiencing DW Spectrum Server or DW Spectrum Client issues, it is often found that the computer is maxing out the CPU and requesting more processing resources than what is available due to the simultaneous use of the IPVMS software.  While DW Blackjack units are capable of supporting this, it is highly recommended against due to the long-term effects it can have on the machine.

For more information, check out:

Storage Drives (SSD/HDD)

The storage drives (HDDs and SSDs) installed with DW Blackjack® devices normally will not require any direct maintenance other than being mindful of where video archives and other files are being saved or backed up to. 

DW Spectrum IPVMS will manage raw data storage automatically, however it is advised to save and store video footage backup files, database backup files, or other additional data to an external USB storage device when creating periodic backups, instead of storing the files on a DW Blackjack Server. 

This is to mitigate the rare occurrence of a storage drive failure or other event that would otherwise make DW Spectrum files inaccessible.

**NOTE:  Do not leave USB storage devices connected to the DW Blackjack machine for the long-term.  DW Spectrum may automatically identify the connected external storage and attempt to use for video archives and database files, potentially creating recording issues and video corruption.  After transferring backup files to the external storage, disconnect the USB connection with the DW Blackjack unit.

For more information, check out:

Surge and Power Loss Protection

As the DW Blackjack® Server is responsible for managing and archiving video footage, unless there is a failover server set up within a merged system, all system data and video archives are stored in a single location. This is why it is recommended to power the DW Blackjack units through a UPS battery backup or some other form of surge protection.  The occurrence of sudden power loss or power surges to unshielded servers poses a risk of damaging hardware, corrupting files, and degrading server performance.

For more information, check out:

Operating System (OS) Updates

By default, DW Blackjack® Servers will come with the automatic operating system (OS) update setting disabled.  This is done to ensure that the DW Blackjack unit will not unexpectedly change system files and become inoperable, such as the widespread issues with the Windows KB4512506 update.  Despite this, OS updates can still be applied, but should be performed after consideration with you IT department.  It is recommended to track and log these type of updates to document changes made to your security system.

For more information, check out:

Automatic Scheduled Reboot

By default, DW Blackjack® units (using Windows OS) are configured to automatically reboot on the first (1st) day of every month at 12:00 AM.  This is done purposefully to keep the computer running efficiently by using the benefits of a periodically restarting such as flushing the RAM of orphan files, halting memory leaks, and resolving some operating issues. 

For more information, check out:

DW Spectrum IPVMS Updates

While new DW Blackjack® Servers will typically ship with the latest version of DW Spectrum® IPVMS preinstalled, users can easily update DW Spectrum as necessary once the device has been installed if it is necessary. 

In the rare instance that DW Spectrum® IPVMS files that are no longer used by the software are slowing the system down, clean reinstalling can clear sizable resource files that are no longer used by DW Spectrum®.  For example, DW Spectrum® v2.2.1 used a separate enterprise controller that can occupy a several gigabytes of storage, but is no longer utilized by the software.

DW Spectrum Updates do not release on a regular schedule, but will release throughout the year.  These software releases are important for getting new features, fixes, and improvements for DW Spectrum.  A system can work perfectly fine on official releases, such as v3.0, despite the version being outdated.  However, newer features and device support will remain unavailable to the system until the software is updated.

**NOTE:  Some DW Blackjack servers will not support newer versions of DW Spectrum IPVMS due to limited or outdated hardware and OS support.  For example, systems using Ubuntu 14.04 cannot be updated to use DW Spectrum v4.0 without the OS being updated to Ubuntu 16.04.  However, this may still be hindered by the aging or underpowered hardware of older systems.

For more information, check out:

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  • 10-Sep-2021
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