Data centers hit their stride

It's transition time, as change prevails


Infrared cameras can also be useful in the power delivery areas of the data center. These cameras can detect hot spots in electrical distribution equipment and can possibly locate problem areas before a fault occurs. In this case you are not looking at people, but sensing changes in equipment temperature.

Video managed services

The biggest upcoming trend in data centers is video managed services. Video information for a company may not always be stored locally, but rather in a data center offering digital video storage and processing remotely. Imagine video servers and video storage in a third party's data center and these services are provided for a nominal fee. This is a form of virtualization as servers and storage are consolidated for multiple buildings, locations or numerous clients. These remote services are the future of IP video surveillance. The services are referred to as cloud computing or software as a service (SaaS)."

What's the buzz?

The emphasis on storage of video has reached a crescendo and it's not expected to stop there. Here are some of the buzzwords and trends you'll continue to hear about.

Maximizing the cabling life cycle-Cabling manufacturers will continue to put the emphasis on training integrators to select the proper cabling with an extended life cycle or planning for the future first and foremost. Longevity of the deployed solutions is important, especially when considering the costs and impact on the environment of producing new cabling when the old infrastructure has to be ripped out.

Data center cooling issues-The emphasis is on improved pathway airflow and trying to do without adding servers-an important consideration in the move to virtualization as well. Thermal management and power efficiency is also critical, as well as saving space through optimum density techniques.

VIRTUALIZATION 101
Taking the fear out of the equation
By Lee Caswell

It is safe to say the term virtualization is not commonly used in the physical security industry. But that is about to change as this process offers many benefits to the integration community and end users alike.
First, what is virtualization? It can be defined as a method of making a physical entity act as multiple, independent logical entities.

Sound a little scary? Of course, it does. The use of virtualization in video surveillance is new. It conjures up visions of IT applications light years away from the world of video surveillance cameras, DVRs and access control.

But the use of virtualization in the security market shouldn't be met with fear or confusion. Rather than associating it with complexity, let's simply think of it as replacing hardware.

For example, think of your car's anti-lock braking system, a safety system that prevents the wheels on your car from locking up. This computerized all-wheel solution enables braking power to be applied to all four wheels at one time, saving the driver from having to apply braking power to these wheels separately. This approach also reduces the amount of hardware, as separate braking systems do not have to be placed on each wheel, equaling into significant cost reduction. Think of the effort this also saves because there is no need for four brake pedals!

In the surveillance market, virtualization can be used to reduce hardware investment and increase availability in high-capacity environments. In most surveillance projects, video storage and servers account for 50 percent of the acquisition and ongoing maintenance costs of a high-capacity system. Compromises are often made with retention times, video resolution or camera counts in an attempt to meet budget.

When applying virtualization to the world of video storage, virtual servers can reside on storage appliances. With this unique 'serverless computing' approach, customers can eliminate standalone servers and reduce rack space, power, cooling and cost while meeting the reliability, performance and management needs of today's surveillance systems.

So how much is saved with this approach? Approximately 25 percent in cost savings, 40 percent in power and cooling savings, 40 percent in rack space savings and lower support costs. All of this adds up to a substantial reduction in investment, which is certainly nothing to fear. - Lee Caswell is founder and chief marketing officer, Pivot3, Palo Alto, Calif.