Henk van den Berg
Round table contributions
Customers sometimes look at how old or new a company is when having to decide between different security suppliers. But should they? There are several decision-influencing factors in the security industry. Other than the actual technical specifications of the security systems and solutions, there are several other factors people take into consideration such as customer service, technical support offered, product warranties and interoperability, just to name a few. Some also consider company longevity. Some operate with the reasoning that the more established a company is and the longer it's been running, the more successful and / or reliable it would be. But is that necessarily true? Moreover, should that be a factor to consider when selecting a security supplier? Is it a mistake to put much weighting on this?
With economic ups and downs, the global population finds itself responding and adapting in different ways to these changes. There is no doubt that changes in the economy will lead to changes in buying practices across all industries, and the security industry is by no means an exception to this. In times of economic growth, individuals and organisations will be more inclined to "splash the extra cash" on the best of the best. Whether it be deploying several new surveillance cameras in an existing security system, implementing the latest security technologies in an access control and intrusion detection system, or adding additional layers of security and authentication to a solution which is already in place, there are several "luxury" or "additional features" which can be implemented into an existing security system but might be described as add-ons. They make the system better, but a base system is required, and it can be argued that they wouldn't work without this base system. In times of economic low, people's approaches change. Everyone becomes more concerned and stringent about spending money. Budgets are tighter and often, fewer and smaller-scale purchases are made. Let's see what some of our panellists have to say about security purchasing decisions made in the light of economic climate change.
There's no doubt that the security technology buying decision is a complex one. There are several factors to consider, and no one application will have the same exact needs as another. This is generally where security consultants come in - to help out with the security buying process and help the end-user decide on the best technology to suit their specific needs. But more specifically, what is their exact role in the security technology buying decision? Let's take a look at what our Expert Panel think.
The fundamental value of data is widely apparent in modern society, and its loss may have significant consequences Video data is critical to today’s enterprise. The latest video storage systems must offer dependable operation that doesn’t risk loss of that critical data. DDN - When performance matters “Not only is bandwidth very important, but functionality cannot be lost when a storage system is having a bad day,” says Jeff Adams, director of sales, surveillance solutions, for DDN (DataDirects Network) Storage solutions. That importance is reflected in DDN’s motto: “When performance matters.” “If you pull a drive out of a running DDN system, the system monitoring tools will show you that the video data destined for those particular drives is actually being captured or journaled – not lost forever as with competing storage solutions,” says Adams. “When the drives come back online, the journaled data is written in a partial rebuild state as normal operations continue. This dramatically increases overall system performance, reliability and dependability in comparison to competing storage solutions that need to perform full rebuilds from parity each time a drive fails.” DDN systems are architected to continue delivering maximum performance even in adverse conditions, Adams adds. With DDN, entire drive enclosures can go offline while remaining operational with zero data loss. Importance of data recovery service A critical area that can be overlooked in video storage relates to the reliability and rescue capability of storage drives, according to Seagate Technology. The fundamental value of data is widely apparent in modern society, and its loss may have significant consequences; this is particularly true in an area where the maintenance of data is often strictly regulated. “It is crucial, then, that end-users take steps to ensure that the storage solution in their surveillance system is covered by a data recovery service,” says Henk Van Den Berg, Seagate’s European sales director. To ensure that such opportunities are exploited, the storage industry must work to communicate the available options in a way that clearly demonstrates how they fulfil the vast and specific needs of surveillance storage, he says. The storage industry must work to communicate the available options in a way that clearly demonstrates how they fulfil the vast and specific needs of surveillance storage Intelligent video recorders Dependability relates not only at the system level, but at the internal component level as well, says Jeff Burgess, president and CEO of BCDVideo. The integrator should not only expect, but demand, a scalable, stable solution that can be remotely managed, comes pre-imaged, ready-to-rack, and fully covered, he says – “and a manufacturer who’s got his back.” The technology capabilities of today’s intelligent Video Recorders (IVR) have turned the storage unit from a JBOD (just a Box of Disks) to a complete management and notification centre. In addition to capturing and redirecting the video streams, the system can alert the administrator on system fluctuations based on thresholds set by the administrator. This includes both those within the system – CPU temperature, cooling fans, and memory usage – as well as active peripherals attached to the network, such as network switch ports, camera activity, client viewing stations and video streams. “We relate to all those insurance commercials promising a lower rate within 15 minutes,” says Burgess. “Notice how they never tout the quality of their service, just the fact that they can save you money in 15 minutes. But is that why you buy insurance? Don’t you really want it for if/when something happens? In that regard, what do you do when something catastrophic happens and you need to find that frame sequence, or restore and view the video from a certain date, yet you can’t because the data is corrupt or simply not there? Bet you wish you had those 15 minutes back.”
One key misconception is that solid-state drives (SSDs) are going to replace hard disk drives (HDDs) Like many areas of the security market, the field of digital video storage systems has its share of misconceptions and missed opportunities. We called on manufacturers of these systems to set the record straight. Hard disk drives (HDDs) will continue to rule One key misconception is that solid-state drives (SSDs) are going to replace hard disk drives (HDDs), says Henk Van Den Berg, European sales director at Seagate Technology. While it is true that the pricing for SSD is dropping, cost-per-gigabyte for HDD actually goes down as capacity increases – so a 3 terabyte drive is only $30 more expensive than 2 terabyte, for instance, while 2 terabytes costs almost $40 more than 1 terabyte. With SSD, because of the different economics of the device, twice the capacity typically means twice the cost. Due to these economies of scale, HDD will continue to win in the foreseeable future as the technology of choice, says Van Den Berg. “There also persists a widespread misconception that all HDDs are the same, which means that digital storage solutions are often selected based on cost alone rather than suitability – the storage equivalent of putting bicycle wheels on a Ferrari,” says Van Den Berg. “The bottom line is that without the proper drive, even the most sophisticated surveillance system could be rendered ineffective. “As the function of video surveillance evolves, so too must the technological specifications of video surveillance storage solutions,” he adds. An outcome of the one-storage-solution-fits-all misconception is that end users are missing a major opportunity to optimise the efficacy of surveillance systems One-storage-solution-DOES-NOT-fit-all An outcome of the one-storage-solution-fits-all misconception is that end users are missing a major opportunity to optimise the efficacy of surveillance systems, says Van Den Berg. As the uses of surveillance have expanded, the storage solutions available have similarly evolved, tailored to these new functions, he says. “The very first decision [you make] ought to be retention time and storage provider,” says Scott Sereboff, CEO of Veracity USA. “How many specifications are written with little or no thought? The end user needs to be educated on the way one choice impacts another. After all, if you choose 5 megapixel cameras and desire 30 days of retention, this selection may gut your budget. So you can only afford seven days of storage. You may wish you had understood the result of the decision prior to having made it.” Knowing retention times, having an understanding of the effect that camera choice has on it, means that camera selection can be done with the overall goal (i.e., “30 days retention at 7 FPS”) in mind and achievable, he adds. Sereboff adds: “All storage is not created equal, and you don’t have to spend 50 percent of the budget to store your video. Each missed opportunity to educate, to sell with a consultative bent, is a missed opportunity at a wider sale.” Veracity’s COLDSTORE NAS device Veracity’s COLDSTORE is a NAS device, which comes out of the box and into the system as usable storage in 30 minutes to an hour. It uses off-the-shelf hard drives, requires very little power, and even a hard drive failure can be handled with no panic required, says Sereboff. “Storage has followed IT into the complex when it has needed to remain simple,” he says. “The users wants one thing – a reliable storage system that protects data when not needed and produces it when it is needed. As cameras and video management systems become more and more complex, storage needs to be simple, straightforward and something that the end user can point to and say ‘now that I understand.’ This gives the user licence to accept more complexity in other areas, to maximise the use of complex technology, while knowing that the storage systems, the foundation of the whole enterprise, is utterly solid and totally reliable.”It is surprising how many people still think that any network attached storage will work for video, says Jeff Burgess, President and CEO, BCDVideo. “Same with those using traditional IT servers for video,” he adds. “Storage of video is more intensive on the server or storage than traditional IT data. Video servers need to be built in a proper way to manage the bandwidth. Network attached storage needs to be held to the same standard.” "All storage is not created equal, and you don’t have to spend 50 percent of the budget to store your video. Each missed opportunity to educate, to sell with a consultative bent, is a missed opportunity at a wider sale", says Scott Sereboff, CEO of Veracity USA More drives doesn’t mean better performance Just because a storage system can physically expand to much larger capacities, doesn’t mean it can do it well, inexpensively, and with low management overhead, says Jeff Adams, director of sales, surveillance solutions, DDN (DataDirects Network) Storage. “Something we run into a lot is surveillance systems that fail because of scaling issues,” he says. “Anyone can add drives, but adding linear performance, availability and management scaling is something that requires a lot of performance-drive technology behind the scenes.” When video surveillance storage systems fail, Adams says the following reasons are most often cited: Drives kept failing and overall system performance tanked during rebuilds. More/higher resolution cameras are added. Playback requirements increased. Retention times increased. Video analytics are added. Local storage at each site was too expensive to maintain and scale. “All of it can be avoided by going with a consolidated storage platform that delivers full performance, even in outage conditions, and is proven to scale performance and capacity to accommodate increased workloads as well as data growth,” says Adams.
End users in the video surveillance market are looking for higher quality images and to retain those images for longer periods. Also, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are turning to networked video surveillance in larger numbers. And video is now finding many uses outside the security market, including business intelligence and customer service applications, among others. These familiar trends are directly impacting the choice of video storage solutions being used in the market. Demand for high-resolution cameras “We are seeing requests for longer periods of video data retention,” says Jeff Burgess, President and CEO, BCDVideo. “One of the factors driving this is legal departments within companies and organisations requesting longer periods to prevent evidence from being destroyed after 31 days. We are also seeing instances of the video and the metadata within that video being utilised for business intelligence, similar to traditional IT applications. Every customer has different reasons for the longer retention, but regardless of that reason, the defining factor is capturing full ROI on having that video data.” Burgess also sees projects utilising both more cameras and higher-resolution cameras. Just one or two years ago, most customers were asking for solutions for 720p and 1080p cameras, he says, but today there are many requests for 2-megapixel and 10-megapixel cameras. “They are also looking for scalability should they want to add more cameras, or simply replace existing cameras with those with higher resolutions,” he says. “These higher-resolution cameras do more than drive up the necessary storage; they also have a severe impact on the bandwidth.” “Today’s proper recording solution needs to be able to ingest the video streams, not just be a box of hard drive bays to cover the necessary storage,” says Burgess. Longer retention period "People are looking more and more for ways to store large amounts of video for a long period of time" Another video storage manufacturer, Veracity, also sees a trend toward longer retention times and better camera image quality. “The market continues the inexorable march toward IP cameras as analogue cameras are replaced and not chosen for new work,” says Scott Sereboff, CEO of Veracity USA. “Disk drive capacity is increasing, which is bad for RAID systems as larger disk drives generally mean longer rebuild times.” He says that drive technology, the physical technology, is very similar to what it was 20 years ago in that the drives are still very sensitive to heat and vibration, which is precisely the environment created by a RAID system. “People are looking more and more for ways to store large amounts of video for a long period of time,” Sereboff says. “The cloud is constantly bandied about with no real definition of the term, and there are limited ways to get the bandwidth needed to deliver huge amounts of data.” Sereboff notes trends toward higher megapixel cameras and larger storage systems go hand-in-hand. “An end user chooses 5 megapixel cameras over 2 megapixel because they are affordable and because the user is sold (rightly or wrongly) on the ‘pretty picture’ part of the pitch,” he says. “This means a more robust network, servers capable of handling large numbers of these cameras, and a much larger storage need. In the same manner, providing a low cost way to store massive amounts of data gives the end user license to purchase more cameras or select higher definition cameras than they had previously considered. Server technology, which allows more cameras to run on one box, means that better cameras can be chosen and longer retention times allowed.” Investing in video surveillance Henk Van Den Berg, European sales director at Seagate Technology, sees the growing influx of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) turning to surveillance as the most significant opportunity for the industry. While big business may drive the need for larger, high-performance surveillance products, SMEs often understand the need to invest in CCTV but lack the knowledge or expertise to make the right choices, says Van Den Berg. In a cost-sensitive sector, there is often a need to economise, but decisions based purely on price simply won’t fit the bill. “It’s critical that the surveillance storage industry provide options that are fit for what SMEs need, and on a scale that is useful to them rather than the complex systems needed for larger companies,” says Van Den Berg. “Our storage needs inevitably grow in parallel to the increasing quality of the video footage, compliance regulations and the increasing value of the footage due to analytics,” says Van Den Berg. “The capacity of the drives must continue to increase in order to meet the scale of this need.” "It’s critical that the surveillance storage industry provide options that are fit for what SMEs need, and on a scale that is useful to them rather than the complex systems needed for larger companies" Another opportunity comes with the increased use of video surveillance not only for security, but also as a tool for research and analysis, says Van Den Berg. By studying the flow of customers through a store, for instance, a group of marketers can determine the optimal arrangement of products to drive sales. This changing purpose requires a different type of storage solution that allows users to regularly review data on an ongoing basis, rather than the more traditional use of surveillance storage that requires pulling one set of footage from a particular timeframe, he says. Video storage solutions must fit the purpose of whatever system they support, Van Den Berg emphasises. Features such as Idle-3, in which a surveillance system turns on only when activity triggers it, or rescue capability, can provide surveillance experts with important peace of mind that their data is protected, and their system is using resources as efficiently as possible. Customer-driven solutions The surveillance industry is now looking for more tailored, personalised storage solutions, says Van Den Berg. One-size-fits-all won’t work in today’s complex and exponentially growing marketplace. Just one example of a feature that is specifically tailored for surveillance storage is called “write performance.” A standard PC drive regulatory checks to make sure the data is “writes” is readable; for a surveillance storage system, that could mean missing valuable seconds of footage. “Seagate surveillance drives are engineered to write more consistently with fewer breaks to check the readability of the data, thus ensuring that the footage is fully captured, without interruptions,” he says. “The volume, velocity and variety of surveillance data are growing exponentially,” comments Jeff Adams, director of sales, surveillance solution, DDN (DataDirects Network) Storage. “The volume of data in a single surveillance implementation is moving from terabytes to petabytes, stressing VMS and storage scaling. Data velocity is increasing from megabyte to gigabyte speeds with a need for millions of input/outputs (I/Os) consuming more and more resources. Performance in these types of mixed I/O environments is increasingly a top priority, and many traditional systems do not handle variety – both large and small files, as well as both structured and unstructured data.”
According to a recent MarketsandMarkets report, video surveillance storage solutions and services are experiencing a rapid adoption in the industry, estimated to grow 16.3 percent each year until 2018, eventually reaching a market size of $10.41 billion. In addition to the specific image content of surveillance cameras, there are also huge amounts of data surrounding it – everything from the location to the time of day, the duration of the video, and more. And the amount of data in the image itself is getting larger, as high-definition resolution is becoming more and more common. Almost half of all the Big Data in the world is generated through video surveillance. There are huge amounts of data in the image content of surveillance cameras. The surveillance storage market is evolving, with an exciting growth of opportunities for the industry. Suppliers of video storage systems are expanding their offerings to meet more sophisticated requirements and a growing demand. Here is a sampling. BCDVideo enterprise storage solutions BCDVideo provides enterprise storage to the video surveillance industry, offering products designed around three architectures for storing video: Distributed technology records the video either within the server or to a direct attached storage (DAS) device, preferably over an end-to-end 6G SAS backplane to maximise performance. Distributed technology records the video either within the server or to a direct attached storage (DAS) device Centralised storage records the video to a centralised storage array over the network. Hybrid storage is a configuration in which the video stays on premises for 60 to 90 days in a distributed technology environment, and then moves to either a Cloud or Near Line Storage device for long-term archival. BCDVideo designs solutions around each customer’s project needs and using an architecture that is the proper fit and most cost-effective solution for the project. Each architecture has its benefits and also limitations; therefore, proper assessment of the customers’ needs is essential to a successful project.Veracity COLDSTORE Veracity developed COLDSTORE for video data recorded by surveillance systems. It stores data in a sequential manner, and using technologies specifically designed to eliminate disk drive failures. COLDSTORE can also take advantage of commercial-grade hard drives and provides a greater level of data security than a RAID-based storage system. The latest-generation COLDSTORE products feature extremely low power consumption, under 70 watts per 3U chassis. Ability to use the largest commercially available hard drives (currently 8 terabytes) provides 120 terabytes in a 3U chassis. Increased throughput totals approximately 450 Mb/s. There are never any rebuilds of any kind. Per-terabyte price points are from 30 to 70 percent less than comparable RAID storage systems, according to Veracity. Seagate Technology portfolio of drives Seagate Technology offers a portfolio of drives designed specifically for surveillance video and HD video analytics. They are designed to improve surveillance system reliability and drive lifespan, reduce security system costs and support video analytics. Last September, Seagate launched a dedicated surveillance hard disk drive featuring Seagate Rescue services. Engineered for surveillance and video analytics applications, the Seagate Surveillance HDD employs data recovery services designed to restore lost data due to malice or accidental failure. “With over 50 percent of our users having experienced data loss, we see this as a necessary offering to the industry,” says Henk Van Den Berg, European sales director at Seagate Technology. “With over 50 percent of our users having experienced data loss, we see this as a necessary offering to the industry” Seagate’s seventh-generation Surveillance HDD is also designed to ensure cost-effective and reliable performance. This includes “idle 3” support to reduce power consumption when the drive is monitoring an idle scene, useful for a scene where nothing might happen for the majority of the time. When movement is detected, cameras will send a signal to the HDD to immediately upscale performance, working fast to record data. Using less power reduces costs, while losing nothing in terms of value or service. Another Seagate addition is an RV sensor, which prevents rotational vibration (RV) generating heat and movement from the stacked drives, thus prolonging the life of the drive and ensuring reliable performance. DataDirects Network storage solutions DDN (DataDirects Network) Storage solutions deliver high performance, even during outage and drive rebuild conditions, and can scale to support hundreds to thousands of cameras. DDN’s SFA7700 starts under 100 terabytes and scales to petabytes with up to 12Gb/s throughput, making it suitable for mid-range video surveillance projects. It expands on demand, and is capable of handling VMS instances with hundreds to thousands of HD quality camera streams. It delivers enterprise-level video storage performance and reliability at mid-range pricing, according to DDN. DDN’s SFA7700 starts under 100 terabytes and scales to petabytes with up to 12Gb/s throughput, making it suitable for mid-range video surveillance projects DDN’s high-end storage array, the SFA12KX, delivers performance, scalability and reliability. On-demand expansion starts at hundreds of terabytes and non-disruptively scales to tens of petabytes whenever needed. SFA12KX is well suited for very large video surveillance projects requiring dozens of VMS instances and thousands of cameras, especially organisations demanding maximum returns from their high-performance, large-scale video storage solution. DDN platforms deliver high performance, even during outage and rebuild conditions. Traditional storage systems lose performance during drive rebuilds, data integrity checks and error events, further diminishing system reliability and overall performance. The SFA architecture includes advanced features like DirectProtect Real-Time Error Detection and Correction, automatic reboots of non-responsive drives, ReACT Intelligent Cache Management to ensure mixed I/O workloads perform, and intelligent journaling for partial drive rebuilds. The result is up to 80 percent fewer rebuilds and faster rebuilds when they do occur – protecting both system availability and performance.
The 4TB Seagate Surveillance HDD has been designed specifically to address the need for high-resolution cameras What: Seagate Technology plc, a world leader in storage solutions, will be exhibiting at IFSEC International 2014 between the 17th and 19th June on stand G510. Stand visitors will be able to see the recently launched 7th Generation Surveillance HDD in action, with demonstration solutions from QNAP, Samsung, Synology, and Hikvision. The 4TB Seagate Surveillance HDD has been designed specifically to address the need for high-resolution cameras and camera counts, and ensures cost-effective performance and durability in always-on surveillance systems. Visitors can also discover how Seagate’s surveillance solutions can support their operations by meeting with the company’s engineers and product specialists. There will also be the opportunity to get instant sales support from distributors Avnet and Hammer as well as the chance to enter a prize draw to win a QNAP VS-2108 Pro+ Network Video Recorder with two 4TB surveillance HDDs. Why: As complexity in the surveillance market increases and the ability to analyse this data develops, companies are increasingly investigating ways to manage their deposits of data better. At IFSEC International 2014 Seagate will be demonstrating how the recently announced 7th Generation Surveillance HDD can help organisations get the most out of their data. When: 17th - 19th June, 2014 Where: IFSEC International 2014, Stand G510, ExCel, London. Who: Henk van den Berg, Director for Sales North and Central Europe and Andy Palmer, Sales Manager, UK and Ireland will be available to discuss surveillance requirements and the Seagate solutions available with attendees.