We can do it by taking the two commodity servers that each run a copy of the VMS, and hosting the applications as virtual servers on the shared IP storage platform. This cuts the cost of hardware further, along with less energy, heating, cooling, etc., all over again (see figure 2 above).
Virtualization is now here for security, from a small number of vendors. The best of these approaches can start with as little as 2TB of capacity, yet can scale modularly as needed so application needs can start affordably and small, yet grow when needed. Not only does this save money, but is very simple to deploy without complexity.
Selecting the Best Solution for Your Needs
Speaking of complexity, it is actually pretty easy to determine if you are being offered a video-optimized solution designed for physical security, or just a re-purposed IT platform that will not meet expectations over the long term. Remember, security is not a science project. We protect people and property, and much more — make sure your storage choice is designed with that in mind.
Here are four simple questions that can lead you down the right path of product selection:
1. Does the system require IT expertise to keep in running? If it is expected that IT personnel will maintain the storage solution, it is not designed to meet the needs of physical security workloads and environments, but is just repurposed hardware. Be very suspicious.
2. Can it start small and grow, or must you invest in a large system immediately to get all the benefits? The best solutions can start with as little as 2TB of capacity, and grow modularly as needed without ever halting recording. Otherwise, you are paying for more than you need.
3. Is it certified with multiple physical security applications, and is the vendor engaged with industry associations like ASIS, NRF,USGBC, SIA and ACA? Video workloads and security requirements differ from those of IT dramatically. Only those who have taken the time to test and certify with security applications know the problems, and how to solve and avoid them. Unless the vendor participates with industry associations that matter to security, how can it really know how to meet your needs?
4. Do you need to be an IT expert to setup and install the system? The best systems set up easily in just minutes, and use an interface that talks in physical security and not complex IT terms. If you need IT help to set up even the smallest systems, it was not designed for security users and you will uncover lots of other problems going forward. Pick something else.
Thinking these issues through will enable security users to take advantage of the best on the market, without falling victim to overly expensive or complicated solutions. You will benefit with more reliable, more expandable and easier-to-maintain systems. And you will save money to boot.
Jeff Whitney is vice president of marketing for IP storage vendor Intransa. He offers extensive physical and network security knowledge, combined with IT storage expertise developed over 20 years as an industry practitioner. He is a volunteer on the ASIS Intl. Physical Security Council, and is the primary Intransa representative to the Security Industry Association.