IP-Based Storage for Mission-Critical Applications
Editor / Provider: Submitted by Anixter | Updated: 7/26/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner
Network video is the leading driver of the growth in the video surveillance security market. It's not only altering the fundamental infrastructure of security systems, but it is also spurring innovation in tangential area, such as marketing, behavioral analytics and traffic management. Servers, storage and workstation technologies are therefore key components of an IP-based physical security solution. However, many organizations seek to leverage existing assets or idle capacity to meet their video surveillance needs instead of creating a tailored solution to meet the organization's needs. Even though analog video solutions put together over the years in a disparate way might pass for minimally sufficient, the data-intensive nature of network video technologies make this approach problematic. With the prediction that more than 70 percent of all network cameras will have megapixel resolution by 2015, an integrated and holistic approach to building an IP-based video surveillance solution is needed today.
Evidence indicates that the use of manufacturers' minimum specifications as a one-size-fits-all solution is creating systems that struggle to address customers' application requirements for video surveillance and other business functions. Given the forecast that nearly half of all video security systems will run off network cameras by 2014, nonstandard systems will begin to underperform as systems scale.
This White paper pays special attention to the future of network video and servers, storage and client workstations needed to ensure mission-critical video surveillance remains available and high performing.
Trending: Integration and Open
The shift toward integration and open-architecture platforms for IP-based physical security is placing greater importance on facilities, security and IT professionals to collaborate in making key hardware decision. Research shows that an increasing part of physical security will run on the IT network:
- 26.4 percent of cameras were IP-based in 2010. (IMS Research)
- Conservation projections put that figure at 48.9 percent in 2014, which means that nearly half of video security systems will run off of network cameras. (IMS Research)
- More than 70 percent of network cameras shipments will be megapixel resolution by 2015. (IMS Research)
Discussing all the other significant advancement in video technology, the move toward network cameras and high-resolution alone will drive IP-based physical security planner to seek out integrated server, storage and workstation solutions than can handle the immense increase in bandwidth and processing needs. New technologies such as edge storage are inherently integrative, which allows users to fill in the gaps for out-of-network mobile applications or network failures. In some instances, companies are leveraging third-party data centers to host cloud-effective solution for smaller applications today. From the shift to open and redundant architecture hardware, to the emphasis on total cost of ownership and return on investment, market trends all point to a more integrated IP-based physical security vision.
Benefits of Integration
An integrated network video solution is more robust, scalable and cost effective than an analog system. With improved reliability, redundancy and flexibility of an open-architecture solution, which can exceed any appliance or commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution, a truly integrated IP-based physical security solution can also take advantage of today's best technology, such as higher camera counts, resolutions, access control integration, more intuitive and powerful user interfaces and multiple analytics.
A purpose-built IP-based physical security solution can also result in both short-and long-term cost savings. By removing the necessity to maintain separate networks, organizations can experience a reduction in capital, maintenance, manpower and equipment costs. When properly planned and executed, an integrated IP-based physical security solution will result in less downtime, which lowers the total cost of ownership.
Of course, as with any complex technology, there are always significant challenges. Complexity can also be a hindrance to a clear migration path, with maintaining legacy infrastructure, long-term organization strategy and cost which is always top-of-mind. Interoperability limitations also present obstacles, with en users concerned about being too dependent on any single manufacturer, managing the multiple communication protocols and dependence on support, especially for highly sophisticated IP-based physical security solutions.
For those looking for a defined migration strategy to network video, the path is muddled as well. Today there are countless manufacturers that purport to have a clear migration path toward an open architecture platform. However, there is simply no one clear migration path to network video that applies to all applications. Even though organizations such as ONVIF are working toward industry standards, the lack of interoperability in many video system products is a serious concern for planners and integrators, which is especially true when it comes to mission-critical functions. Supporting high-resolution cameras from multiple manufacturers requires significant storage and server capabilities to handle the increased bandwidth.
Best Practices: Purpose-Built, Video-Optimized
When designing or migrating toward a new IP-based physical security solution, the best servers are purpose-built and optimized for video applications. Servers need mission-critical drives with high I/O capabilities and near unconstrained workload capacity. Server configuration is vital and should include memory, storage and processor specifications that ensure optimum scalability for video. Servers should have the capacity to accommodate future growth, including the ability to record higher frame rates without dropping frames, higher resolutions and cost-effectively store video data for longer periods.
Another vital consideration is external storage, typically needed for greater than 30 TB requirements. The storage needs in a typical network video solution can be immense, with potentially hundreds or more high-resolution cameras capturing as many as thirty frames per second, operating 24×7.
The most common mistake made is to look at streaming video as just another form of data. The case for purpose-built video storage over traditional data solutions focuses on five key areas:
- Massive database size need
- I/O-intensive operations
- Intolerances of system latencies
- Constant bit-rate streaming
- Demanding operating environments , such as temperature, vibration, bit-error rate and more
Because of the intrinsic nature of streaming video, each of these five areas requires a purpose-built approach that takes into account unique needs, capabilities and system demands. There are many external storage options available, including direct attached storage (DAS), network attached storage (NAS), iSCSl, Fibre Channel and storage area networks (SAN).
An emerging trend is edge or on-board storage, which stores audio and video recordings within cameras, typically using an SD card. Edge storage is particularly beneficial for mobile security or applications that experience network connection interruptions. Edge storage is an excellent complimentary enhancement to central storage to facilitate comprehensive and seamless video coverage building additional redundancy in the solution.
One often overlooked piece is the client viewing station. Many times an existing workstation or standard PC specification meant for employees is used as the client viewing station, which vary in configuration based on their originally intended purpose. However, the highly demanding needs of video requires a workstation built for continuous 24/7 performance, 365 days a year.
Purpose-built workstations for video feature higher level cooling systems, 450 watt and greater power supplies, dual Ethernet adapters (for management), server-grade processors and expanded display capabilities. Today's high-resolution graphics adapters draw from the power source, increasing impact when installing multiple adapters. The primary demands on client viewing stations are compression and process-intensive decoding in order to properly render video. And, as compression algorithms continue to evolve, the demand on workstation performance will only grow exponentially. Keeping that in mind, video processing workstations should be as future-proof as possible, with the ability to expand and scale up to support future compression algorithms.
At the end of the day the client viewing stations represents the user experience and should not be cut short only to reduce the quality and effectiveness of the entire network video station.
With rapid achievements in network video technology, consultants, integrators and end users are challenged with migrating away from disparate legacy systems to a more integrated, holistic approach. Migrating to a network video solution requires servers, storage and workstations that can scale and support future technologies, meet specific application challenges and allow for the development of a long-term technology continuum. By going beyond single-manufacturer systems and embracing open-architecture solutions, organizations can better meet their application requirements and provide flexibility throughout the network. Given the forecast the nearly half of all video security systems will run off network cameras by 2014, nonstandard systems will begin to underperform as systems scale. Choosing servers, storage and workstations that perform seamlessly with the network will ensure mission-critical video surveillance systems remain available and high performing.