Converging Technologies

Rich functionality delivered by IT systems aids adoption of IP-based surveillance

Introducing IT for surveillance: VMware

The addition of VMware technology into the surveillance storage solution provides exactly the IT management features that system administrators need. Managers can run both IT and surveillance systems from a common management console called vCenter and introduce IT features such as failover, site disaster recovery and maintenance modes into surveillance environments as they become necessary. Now, managers can leverage the investment in IT management systems to view, protect and even migrate applications that exist in the surveillance side of the house. This is a much-needed set of capabilities that benefits all security application areas including video management system software, host access control software and PSIM control systems environments.

The combination of VMware technology with an IP SAN is particularly valuable to large-scale surveillance customers working to solve storage needs for transport, government, casino and enterprise projects. IP SANs leverage existing IT standards such as Ethernet, Windows and x86 technology and recently adopted VMware as the latest standard in server virtualization. For the end customer, this addition of VMware to an IP SAN brings instant validation to IT managers looking to understand the unique requirements of security solutions. Other security requirements will continue to appear unique such as 100s of Terabytes of capacity, 100 percent write environments, streaming data workloads and always-on system requirements. But the introduction of IP SAN technology combined with VMware provides a well-understood infrastructure construct that addresses many IT concerns regarding manageability, reliability, performance and support. This is especially important for surveillance customers who do not have the additional manpower to manage the system. As is common in today’s market, more and more users are leveraging the same amount of staff within their surveillance and IT departments, and therefore, solutions need to seamlessly fit into an existing infrastructure and be easy to administer. Also, the surveillance customer is typically not a storage administrator or expert and some may not have IT departments to help manage the system. By offering a complete, user-friendly appliance, the user experience is simplified and more affordable.

In addition to management leverage, VMware systems help ensure that systems are open-systems-compliant. VMware requires that systems pass storage or system tests before being listed as VMware Ready. Newer solutions are listed on both server and storage compatibility lists that are published and available to industry partners. This compatibility testing serves as an independent checkpoint for integrators to confirm the open system model is functioning correctly. Standards certification processes, such as HCL, are a benefit to integrators who are looking to streamline installations and reduce overall deployment costs.

Overall, the combination of these functions allow security end users to get more ‘buy-in’ from internal IT groups when deploying IP SANs with VMware support. The recent introduction of VMware technology into IP SAN solutions should speed up the convergence of IT and physical security technologies while allowing the unique requirement of the security segment to be met. Reducing IT resistance to security-specific solutions will speed new product adoption and drive business for the systems integrator who is on the lookout for new revenue opportunities.

Customer expectations of video quality and storage reliability are rising and driving a huge increase in infrastructure needed to support security operations. The use of newer IP SAN technologies combined with VMware technology will simplify manageability of converged systems and reduce friction from IT staff who are unfamiliar with the unique requirements of video surveillance storage.



Lee Caswell is chief strategy officer at Pivot3. He can be reached at