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NetApp and Tech Data Solve Today’s Video Surveillance Storage Challenges

Dan Oister

The world of video surveillance is undergoing a major transformation. The days of black-and-white monitors with poor resolution being viewed by half-awake security people is a thing of the past.

Surveillance Is Getting Smarter

Due to the rapid advances in camera technology, driven by the consumer cell phone market, the resolution of security cameras has dramatically improved. Today, 4K cameras that provide a level of detail equivalent to a big-screen movie presentation are coming into the mainstream. With a wider field of view, and the ability to discern small visual elements at long distances, security teams can avert or alert to keep people and property safe.

The real wizardry happening in the surveillance market is around AI and analytics. The number of analytics companies bringing solutions to market is staggering, and customers are gaining real-time intelligence from machine-learning technology watching over their video streams.

All video management systems today either have embedded analytics for things like license-plate or facial recognition, and/or they support plug-ins for more advanced functionality. Newer systems can lock on to an object and continuously position cameras to track its movement.

Sophisticated analytics are now running in the camera itself. In-camera analytics are advancing at a very rapid pace due to new applications that run on embedded Android operating systems. Today’s cameras can identify about 280 different objects with a high level of certainty. An example of this is a specialized application that helps support wildlife management programs by identifying the type of fish that swim over a dam. Bosch recently created an open source community called SAST (Security And Safety Things) that is an ecosystem of developers leveraging the Android operating system to create specialized implementations.

Video surveillance is evolving past security into intelligent video applications. Why scan badges at the door if you can use video to compare a face to the badge? The trend towards leveraging video applications to improve profits is well underway. Retail stores can identify customer movements through their stores for optimized merchandising and placement. Stadiums can market promotions or concessions. Casinos can identify their top customers before they even walk through the door.

Data Storage Is Struggling to Keep Up

Despite the benefits to security and now marketing teams, these advancements in camera resolution and analytics are very data-intensive and can pose some serious IT challenges on the back end. 4K cameras produce 8 times the data of a 1080p camera, straining the capacity and bandwidth of the storage infrastructure. Beyond streaming video, camera-based analytics creates a large metadata database over time that drives high transactional performance and necessitates bulletproof protection.

Today, the most common approach for controlling viewing operations and storing video assets is the Network Video Recorder, or NVR. NVRs are appliances that take video input from 10 – 100 cameras, run the Video Management Software (VMS), and store video data in a set of internal disk drives. Up until recently, customers would continue to add more NVRs as they added cameras or needed additional storage to extend retention times.

But new high-resolution cameras and more strenuous workloads are proving to be too much for today’s NVRs. Even the newest NVRs that previously could manage 100 cameras can only handle a maximum of 30 cameras with the higher resolutions in use. The fixed storage capacity is forcing shorter retention times and pushing customers to buy three times more NVR appliances than were previously needed.

With the 24/7/365 duty cycle and high-bandwidth, random-write workload, NVRs’ commodity-grade server components and disk drives are wearing out in 6 months or less, further exacerbating the management challenge.

Centralized, Enterprise-Class Storage is the Answer

Today’s video surveillance storage is strenuous and critical enough to warrant a centralized, enterprise-class storage approach. An increasing number of IT professionals are in discussions with their security team or a security integrator about breaking the multi-NVR cycle and adopting a more capable approach to video storage challenges. The current wave of big consolidation projects involves video surveillance data, and in many cases, a secondary application like backup.

NetApp E-Series storage is an ideal target for video assets. As a SAN (block-based storage) device, it offers the VMS and analytics technologies direct, super-fast access to data. With over one million units shipped, it is hardened and resilient to any component failure. And the award-winning management software, SANtricity, simplifies setup and automates management for hands-free operations.

A key differentiator offered by the E-Series storage is the handling of drive failures. Traditional RAID-based systems lose up to 40% of their performance while rebuilding a failed drive. As it takes about 24 hours per terabyte to do the rebuild, larger capacity (12TB) drives can take a couple of weeks to rebuild. To minimize risk, E-Series eliminates any loss in performance through Dynamic Disk Pooling, which helps to avoid dropped frames or losing critical video assets.

With the massive growth in the video surveillance segment and a solid product/market fit, NetApp is investing in additional sales support, marketing, and distribution partnerships. The Video Surveillance Competency Center in Wichita is staffed with 30 engineers to validate connectivity, to certify VMS, analytics, and camera technologies, and to create best practices for our partners to support their customers in modernizing their infrastructure.

NetApp and Tech Data—an industry leader in IT distribution—work together to deliver a best-of-breed, end-to-end video surveillance solution. You can take advantage of the latest advancements in video and security without breaking the bank or increasing management complexity. By partnering with leaders in the IT and security industry, NetApp and Tech Data offers a tested solution that is purpose-built to take on the challenges of modern video surveillance. Please refer to our joint infographic.

Future-Proof Your Video Surveillance Infrastructure

Today’s video surveillance is extremely demanding on the storage infrastructure. Security teams need the help of their IT departments to get control of the data tsunami coming their way and to build the infrastructure that supports and enables unforeseen enhancements in the future.

Visit the Video Surveillance Storage Solution page to learn more about what customers across industries are doing today to future-proof their video surveillance infrastructures.

Dan Oister

Dan Oister is the Channel Sales Development Manager on NetApp’s Video Surveillance Storage team. With significant experience in tactical marketing, sales channels, and data storage, his focus is to help our partners educate and guide customers as they transform and modernize their infrastructure.

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