How virtualization can change the world of video surveillance storage?

According to IHS research, video surveillance storage market is said to touch $2.2 billion mark by year 2017. The research also confirms that the market is growing at more than 60 percent on an annual note which proves another fact that more cameras are being installed; demand for high resolution cameras is increasing and longer retention times are needed.

Thus, as the amount of video data grows, the viability of traditional DVRs and NVRs with local storage is breaking down. With these systems, a fixed amount of capacity is available for video streams that may vary in needs over time. Determining what capacity to buy is a challenging task since the amount of storage depends on an estimate of resolution, frame rate, compression and motion detection by camera type.

Therefore, the nature of the DVR or NVR infrastructure generally leads resellers to over-provision capacity for each system by up to 50 percent since fixed capacity is not easily expanded and has relatively low reliability.

Advanced compression technologies such as H.265 will also bring storage requirements down when there is minimum motion in the field of view. However, the variable nature of bit rate exacerbates the capacity estimation problem since requirements can be off by as much as 10x if motion is higher than expected. The market will continue to see improvements in compression standards, but the growth in the number of cameras, resolution and retention times will continue to drive the need for scalable and highly reliable storage solutions. This is where a SAN appliance can show its valiance

SAN storage is ideal suited for large scale video surveillance projects such as airports, casinos or prisons where there is plenty of bandwidth on the local area network. On a SAN appliance, video recorders and archivers maintain their own file space, and these appliances talk to the shared SAN storage as if it was a local storage.

And with NAS, there is a file system on a NAS platform as well as on the local archiver. The advantage of the file system on the NAS platform is that it is easier to support a hybrid storage case as some storage occurs locally on self- contained NVRs and DVRs and extended storage is sent to a specific file on the NAS.

Both SAN and NAS offer highly available shared storage, but the performance limitations of the NAS file systems preclude the use for high camera count, high bandwidth installations. As a result, NAS products are typically used in lightly loaded distributed environments or when data is being sent across a WAN connection.

If shared storage is not required, then it is possible to simply add storage to a self-contained DVR/NVR with an external connector, which is normally fiber channel or iSCSI.

The beauty of a SAN and NAS is that these solutions allow the privilege of scaling and sharing the environment as needed. And with 4K and 8K resolution camera usage increasing, this feature turns as a sure necessitate.

As video surveillance demands are growing, the need for innovative solution has also increased. Hence, the result is a Unified Scale Out Server and Storage model, which repurposes server hardware to provide both server and storage resources on a common hardware platform. This approach helps in meeting both the capacity and bandwidth needs of the surveillance market by aggregating the resources of many appliances and presenting the combined resources as highly available capacity that can be shared among many servers.


In addition, the scale out appliances have more processing power than is required for just the storage aggregation. Therefore, it is possible to integrate server virtualization software on each appliance so that archiver software or NAS software can share the CPU and memory resources that are already in place to run the scale-out SAN.

This concept of running embedded virtual servers saves power, cooling and rackspace over the use of physical servers. It also adds high availability since the application can be automatically restarted on another appliance. The technology of virtualization provides application failover without the need for standby servers with additional software licenses. This introduces high reliability with an appliance model which is easy to manage and is cost-effective.

In future, as the need for more cameras with enhanced video quality increases, surveillance users cannot simply add server and storage options as per the demand. They need to depend on the technology of virtualization that shares storage hardware resources to reduce overall power and cooling costs along with the ability to secure high availability and reliability.

Therefore, companies looking to meet budgetary constraints, virtualization can prove as an affective tool in the world of video surveillance as well.

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