Video Storage Solutions

A look at different purpose-built technologies on the market today

Servers, storage and workstation technologies are key components of an IP-based physical security solution; however, many organizations are still trying to leverage existing analog-based assets to meet their video surveillance needs. Even though those analog solutions might pass for minimally sufficient, the data-intensive nature of today’s network video technology makes this approach problematic. An integrated and holistic approach to building an IP-based video surveillance solution is what the market needs.

Although well-intended, manufacturers’ minimum specifications as a one-size-fits-all solution seem to create systems that struggle to address customers’ application requirements for both video surveillance and other business security functions. Forecasts suggest that nearly half of all video security systems will run off network cameras by 2015. Non-standard systems will begin to underperform as systems attempt to scale as megapixel cameras are added to the environment.

The migration to IP-based physical security and the shift from VGA resolution to megapixel and high-definition resolutions has placed a burden on network bandwidth and has created several system management challenges. Compared to standard resolution cameras, bandwidth needs from high-resolution cameras can increase tenfold. Consequently, the input/output (I/O) capabilities of IP video servers need to be significantly greater, and in many cases, standard data servers, even powerful enterprise servers, are not built to withstand the rigors and nuances of IP video feeds.

Greater emphasis is now placed on incorporating integrated server, storage and workstation solutions that can handle the immense increase in bandwidth and processing demands.  New technologies such as edge storage are inherently integrative, which fills the gap of out-of-network mobile applications or network failures. In some instances, companies are leveraging third-party data centers to host cloud-based video; however, this is still an emerging technology.


The Benefits of Integration

From the shift to open and redundant architecture hardware, to the emphasis on total cost of ownership and return on investment, market trends all point to a more integrated IP-based physical security vision. A truly integrated IP-based physical security solution can also take advantage of today’s best technology, such as higher camera counts, resolutions, access control integration, more intuitive and powerful user interfaces, and multiple analytics.

Of course, as with any complex technology, there are significant challenges that can be a hindrance to a clear migration path. Interoperability limitations also present obstacles, with end-users concerned about being too dependent on any single manufacturer, managing the multiple communication protocols and dependence on support, especially for highly sophisticated IP-based physical security solutions.

Even though organizations such as ONVIF are working toward industry standards, the lack of interoperability in many video system products is a serious concern for planners and integrators. This is especially true when it comes to mission-critical functions. Supporting high-resolution cameras from multiple manufactures requires significant storage and server capabilities to handle the increased bandwidth.


Handling Storage Issues

When designing or migrating to an IP-based solution, it is imperative to use a server and storage solution that is purpose-built and optimized for video applications. A video server demands mission-critical quality drives with high I/O capabilities and unconstrained workload capacity.

Server configuration is vital and should include memory, storage and processor specifications that ensure optimum scalability for video. Video servers should have the capacity to accommodate future growth, including the ability to record higher frame rates without dropping frames, higher resolutions and cost-effectively store video data for longer periods of time.

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