A Security Integrator’s Guide to IT Functionality in Video Surveillance

Hyper-converged infrastructure is a critical opportunity for integrators to deliver a better solution than IT organizations, and at a lower cost.

Just as security manufacturers and service providers seek to differentiate themselves in a flooded market, security integrators dedicated to specifying and selling video surveillance solutions must become knowledgeable of modern IT trends and solutions. Terms such as “software-defined storage,” “server virtualization” and “hyper-convergence” should become part of integrators’ common vocabulary to fulfill customer demands. Improving IT capabilities also helps security integrators modernize business while staying relevant in an increasingly IT-centric industry.

Technology is changing faster than ever, and enterprise IT decision makers with data intensive environments — such as video surveillance — are demanding more infrastructure that is cost-effective, simple to manage and scales efficiently. IHS estimates that the IP surveillance systems will generate approximately 1,500 petabytes of data per day in 2017, tripling that of 2014. This means that IT departments will face an intensifying challenge of capturing, storing and protecting large amounts of video data. Additionally, it is not uncommon to see a variety of solutions deployed on shared infrastructure, which adds increased data vulnerabilities by creating many locations of data exchange, further enticing hackers to attack.

Combining a single, software-defined solution with compute, storage and virtualization capabilities creates a stable and secure hyper-converged infrastructure for video surveillance environments.

Historical Background

At its basic level, a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) consists of virtualized servers and software-defined SAN storage deployed together on industry-standard server hardware. Storing the huge amounts of data produced by video cameras presents unique challenges to traditional IT infrastructure, particularly related to storage capacity and ingest rates (throughput). Hyper-converged offerings enable organizations to consolidate infrastructure and scale to petabyte sizes without the cost and complexity associated with traditional server and SAN solutions. HCI is driving significant disruption in enterprise data center server and storage, and this trend is poised to greatly benefit physical security and video surveillance solutions in the very near future.

When organizations deploy fully integrated compute and shared storage on one common infrastructure platform, greater value, efficiency and cost effectiveness is delivered to the entire integrated security suite. More workloads can operate on fewer servers, and system uptime and data protection is maximized to prevent loss of critical security information. The hassle of disparate tool sets and hardware, learning vendor-specific management utilities and difficult setup processes is eliminated because a single, hyper-converged platform handles provisioning, monitoring and healing during hardware failures, without any user intervention.

For security integrators, hyper-converged infrastructure provides an opportunity to deliver end users higher levels of performance, resiliency and scalability than can be provided by their internal IT organizations, and at a lower cost.

Expand Market Options

Hyper-converged solutions built with enterprise IT functionality are not only for large video surveillance systems. In fact, hyper-converged SAN storage solutions are well-suited for mid-sized and remotely distributed surveillance applications. These platforms are built with IT functionality in mind and deliver enterprise-class IT capabilities to enable smaller users to realize the benefits of highly efficient shared storage and advanced fault tolerance without the complexity or cost typically associated with infrastructure based on separate servers and SAN storage.

This type of high-performance storage and server infrastructure can support up to 200 video surveillance cameras at a price point competitive with direct attached storage (DAS) typically deployed in mid-sized NVR applications. With built-in server failover, video management and recording functionality is protected during hardware failures, a feature typically only found in large, complex enterprise surveillance implementations. Additionally, all previously recorded video remains fully accessible to ensure critical data is protected and available when needed for security, liability, business intelligence and risk management requirements.

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