A growing array of storage choices means a flexible and specific solution can be created for every security user. However, the task of understanding what is out there, what should be purchased and what to watch out for could be daunting for many. A&S takes another look at the latest storage developments, with cloud backup options in mind.
As an integral part of surveillance, storage plays an important role of managing and storing all video streaming — crucial or mundane data — on a 24/7 basis. Various storage options have appeared on the market, from local storage devices such as D/ NVRs and hybrid video recorders (HVRs) to extended storage spaces found in NAS, SAN and cloud storage, which allows security users to pick and choose according to individual needs. To use every piece of equipment to its full potential, it is important to consider the application capabilities of both existing and new technologies.
“The primary innovation in storage is the development of newer scale-out systems versus traditional scale-up systems,” explained Lee Caswell, CMO of Pivot3. “Scale-out systems add capacity and performance using appliances or nodes that are connected with networks ranging from Ethernet to fiber channel to InfiniBand. The appliance model simplifies the configuration and deployment of large-scale systems that would otherwise require intensive up-front review. It also allows users and integrators to easily reconfigure systems on the fly to adapt to market demands. Traditional scale-up companies are acquiring scale-out companies to deliver this value proposition to their customers, as evidenced by Dell's purchase of EqualLogic for US$1.4 billion and EMC's purchase of Isilon Systems for $2.25 billion.”
Good Ol' Video Recorders
Device malfunction, even for a few seconds, could allow opportunities for gathering confidential business intelligence, exposing the enterprise's IT system to external threats. When targeting enterprise installations, video recorders should have high availability features such as dual power supplies, hot-swappable hard drives, failover and RAID configurations, said Matthew Clark, Marketing Director at Instek Digital.
Scalability is paramount for video recorders. “Customers nowadays can choose freely between just a bunch of disks (JBOD) and RAID storage, depending on preference and reliability requirements,” said Olaf Kreutz, PM of DVRs, Pelco (a Schneider Electric company). “RAID is used for redundancy, and is able to reconstruct data in the case of a failed drive, while JBOD designs continue to function if a drive fails, but the data on the drive is usually lost.” Depending on the nature of data stored and how critical it is to save the data, redundancy can be tailored according to needs.
Hot-swappable disk groups (DG) offer additional redundancy. “DG can be used as a portable media, with default offload functions without any software or special driver support,” said April Chou, VP at MaxTronic. “With an easy command, a predesigned DG would be able to hot-swap while the system is still on, to move and install to an off-site storage system under special request from the law enforcement or government user. This tailored function allows historical data playback upon request by off-site users, without interrupting surveillance activity.”
For local storage equipment, HVRs have gained popularity among users migrating from analog to network video systems. HVRs are mainly used by enterprise installations for two reasons. “First, small- and medium-size businesses do not require a dual system. If simple recording and monitoring for protection and lower-level business intelligence are required, the customer can choose a pure analog system, which continues to be the lower-cost option to IP system, or a pure IP solution for cloud recording and management for more advanced features,” Clark said. “Second, when the installation has a low number of deployed cameras, the cost to implement the base requirements for both analog and IP systems is much higher than deploying a unified system. HVRs continue to be used to retain ROI when legacy systems are in place, while giving the option to deploy the advanced features of network cameras.”