Like security organisations in many industries, institutions, and agencies, the EMC Facilities team found itself hampered by the limited functionality and high expansion costs of its aging closed circuit television (CCTV) surveillance system. When first purchased, EMC's analogue video camera and tape-based recording system was state-of-the-art. Over the course of a decade, the company replaced tape recorders with digital video recorders (DVRs) and upgraded its DVR technology three times. Nevertheless, the solution remained difficult to use and costly to maintain. Reviewing recorded video required physically retrieving data from a specific DVR connected to a specific camera. There was no way to know if a DVR had stopped recording due to technical problems or tampering until attempting to view footage. Software upgrades and patches had to be done repetitively at each DVR. Since each DVR could handle a maximum of 16 cameras, large campuses with hundreds of cameras required a significant number of DVRs—at a cost of more than $10,000 each. Installing just one camera in a small, remote field office would require the purchase of a DVR, which was also cost-prohibitive.
Managing video surveillance data like any other information
Given EMC's expertise in storage, security, and information management, Dan Fitzgerald, vice president, Global Real Estate and Facilities, felt EMC could improve its video surveillance system. "We needed a centrally managed, scalable solution—not 50 standalone DVRs spread across a campus," says Fitzgerald. In 2007, with the size of campuses and number of facilities growing worldwide, the problem was becoming exponentially more difficult. "It got to the point where we couldn't do it," says, Fitzgerald. "There was no way we could monitor a hundred facilities around the world with DVRs when we can't see them or maintain them remotely. We couldn't afford it, and we can't have security people at every location." Fitzgerald turned to Anthony Carey, Security systems manager, and Lynne Schoenharl, a consultant in EMC's internal Business Technology Group. "My job is to work with Facilities any time they need an IT solution to help develop the solution and bring together the resources to deliver it," Schoenharl says. She and Carey quickly learned that developers in EMC's Physical Security Solution group were also working a new type of physical security solution for EMC customers. "Large organisations across industries and in the public sector also share a similar mix of large campuses, medium-sized facilities, and large and small field offices," says Carey. Like EMC's, these facilities are already connected by networks that can be leveraged to centralise the management of surveillance data. Also like EMC, these organisations needed a solution that was easier to implement, to manage, and to adapt to changing needs. "We open and close facilities around the world as the markets evolve and change," notes Carey.
"We needed a centrally managed, scalable solution—not 50 standalone DVRs spread across a campus"
Open, extensible architecture
Although the video surveillance systems EMC and its customers were using varied, common themes emerged. Proprietary software, closed hardware platforms, and a lack of manageable archival capabilities were limiting functionality and flexibility. Managed as separate entities, and unable to leverage the resources of corporate IT, the systems added unnecessary redundancies, complexity, and expense. Based on the input of internal and external security users, EMC's Physical Security Solution developers built an open, extensible system on industry-standard Dell servers, Nextiva® IP video management software from Verint® Video Intelligence Solutions™, and the EMC CLARiiON® series of mid-range storage. The solution leverages Verint's bandwidth efficient encoders that convert video from analogue cameras to a digital video stream over TCP/IP. This data is then captured by a Nextiva recorder server application running locally or remotely on a Dell server and written to CLARiiON storage, where EMC information management solutions provide backup, archiving, and tamper-proof evidence authentication for recorded video data. A Nextiva master server application provides an index of the video captured by Nextiva recorders, as well as user authorisation and event management."The master server is the brain," says Schoenharl.
Using these solution components, the EMC Facilities team created standard, scalable configurations to serve the needs of five types of EMC facilities: large and small campuses, large and small field offices, and regional Centers of Excellence (COEs). "The large campus has onsite security officers, a security control center, hundreds of doors and cameras, and lots of visitors," says Carey. "A large field office might be four floors in a multi-tenant building. A small field office might be occupied only occasionally by salespeople who spend most of their time with customers." EMC's most recently opened COE is in India, where a 500,000-square-foot LEED Gold green certified facility in Bangalore houses research and development, customer solution engineering, and customer services.
Verint's Nextiva is flexible enough to work with a wide variety of security cameras
For the small field office with only one or two cameras, EMC streams video over its network directly back to a recording server in the data center, which, in turn is managed by the master server. "They look just like cameras at our headquarters building," says Carey. "The solution enables us to centrally monitor and record video from a small field office for about $900, instead of $10,900 with a DVR-based solution—that's a 10:1 savings." For field offices where the number of surveillance cameras exceeds the available network bandwidth to stream video back to headquarters, EMC installs a Dell-based recording server running the Verint video surveillance software onsite, controlled remotely by the master server in the data center. "The recorder server collects video from the building and stores it, and then the master server goes out to the server and gets it," says Carey. "Again, the savings are considerable—typically we are seeing a savings of about 6:1." "For the largest remote locations with their own security staff we use a master recorder box that combines the master and recorder functions in one server and video data doesn't come back to the data center at all," says Schoenharl.
The EMC Facilities team began implementing the EMC Physical Security Solution by piloting its large campus solution in two buildings at EMC headquarters. After the new system ran successfully in parallel with the old DVR system for a month, the DVR's were removed and the rest of the buildings on two campuses were converted. "Since the network backbone infrastructure was already in place, this essentially meant adding recording servers and configuring additional storage to the CLARiiON," says Schoenharl. During this phase EMC also piloted several small and large field offices as a proof-of-concept for the streaming video and master/recorder box configurations. Now EMC is phasing the new technology into all types of locations worldwide, including regionally centralised solutions for sites outside of the U.S., as part of a multi-year plan. At its corporate headquarters campuses, EMC's return on investment includes cost avoidance of nearly half a million dollars for replacing DVRs that were at end-of-life, and another $32,000 a year for the maintenance and repair of DVRs. The new solution is also considerably greener. "We project $77,000 in energy cost-savings over five years," says Schoenharl.
EMC proven solution
Today, EMC offers the EMC Physical Security Solution as a tested, repeatable EMC Proven™ Solution
Today, EMC offers the EMC Physical Security Solution as a tested, repeatable EMC Proven™ Solution, which combines the expertise of EMC and its partners across assessment, design, implementation, and support to meet specific business, security, and video surveillance needs. With its open, IP-based architecture, the EMC Physical Security Solution supports a wide range of hardware and software, including a mix of analogue and digital IP cameras, access control and intrusion detection devices, visitor management and identity recognition systems, RFID and biometric technologies, and sophisticated analytics. "The relationship between EMC, Dell, and Verint makes installation very simple," says Carey. "These days it's such a standardised solution that we were able to roll it out remotely for the new COE in Bangalore." "The system is also easy to expand and upgrade," adds Schoenharl. "We just upgraded to Verint 6.0 and it went very well."
The ability to access the right video at the right time from anywhere is crucial to physical security and surveillance. With the ability to control video surveillance and analyse security incidents in realtime from any workstation on the EMC network, security personnel can quickly zero in on and analyse video by incident. Video records can also be quickly and easily retrieved from the CLARiiON system for viewing virtually anytime and anywhere. Regionally centralised storage and management that spans the lifecycle of video surveillance data—from capture through monitoring, analysing, protecting, security, archiving, and tamper-proof evidence authentication—helps preserve critical data, while reducing the long-term cost of storage and data management. "Now we can instantly see the video from an alarm and make a decision within seconds," says Fitzgerald. "Equally important, now we have all of that data stored in one place and we can do anything we want with it. We can run it through analytical software to analyse why alarms are going off to proactively bring down false alarms. We can review all video of white cars in support of an investigation. We can apply any analytical tool that the market develops. As a result, using surveillance to help keep a facility secure becomes much more manageable."