The City of Maple Grove leverages cost-saving, efficient Pivot3 appliances

The City of Maple Grove leverages cost-saving, efficient Pivot3 appliances

Location: Maple Grove, MN
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The Challenge

Maple Grove serves as the retail, cultural and medical center of the growing northwest region of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area and is one of the state of Minnesota’s fastest growing and dynamic cities. Its close proximity to the Twin City metropolitan center has led to high-quality residential, commercial and industrial growth including one of the area’s largest retail shopping centers. Yet city leaders have successfully balanced this growth with an ongoing emphasis on unique rural flavors including an exceptional parks and recreation program with over 40 developed parks. This balanced growth is a testament to the city’s streamlined management processes and effective leadership team

Maple Grove decided to re-evaluate its existing surveillance program after it secured a grant to upgrade its existing analog camera, DVR-based surveillance system. The city had concrete goals: it wanted to connect surveillance networks from multiple buildings, including the transit station, various city departments, and the park and ride facility. Maple Grove’s IT administration knew that transitioning to an IP-based video system would provide the functionality and cost benefit the city required to make the project a success.

“The city employs a tech-savvy IT staff,” said Tim Ferrian, Manager of Sales and Marketing, Pro-Tec Design.” They are very forward-thinking and thoroughly understand the benefits of leveraging the network to enhance security and speed up the transfer of information to
enhance situational awareness.”

Pro-Tec Design worked alongside the city’s IT department to determine which open system video management system best fit current needs and would scale as the installation expanded. The team chose Milestone’s XProtect video management software to manage IP cameras from Axis Communications and Sony. Milestone Software included important features that the city needed and also is open-system software that runs on standards-based hardware infrastructure, thereby eliminating proprietary lock-in from a single vendor.

Pivot3 was selected for the high-availability infrastructure that would simultaneously meet the city’s needs to store large amounts of high-resolution video, increase retention times, and meet tight budget constraints. Pivot3 develops scale-out storage appliances that combine server and storage functions into a single platform. The innovative approach of hosting servers in an iSCSI SAN eliminates the need for standalone physical servers and therefore reduces cooling, rackspace, and power costs by up to 40 percent.

“The City of Maple Grove is dedicated to using video surveillance to increase the safety of our residents and visitors, and ensure a secure environment for local businesses,” said Edward O’Donnell, Network Administrator, City of Maple Grove. “Since the capture of surveillance data is critical, we require a storage solution that is more efficient and more reliable than traditional servers. Pivot3 enables us to capture the data we need, while providing application failover to prevent loss due to system failure. This provides a high level of security and peace of mind.”

The cost reduction from combining server and storage functionality into a single appliance was a powerful selling point for the city, which envisions expanding its surveillance system to upwards of 200 cameras. The money it saves by not having to purchase additional stand-alone servers convinced the IT staff to move forward the Pivot3 implementation, and re-purpose existing servers from Dell and HP for other IT-focused functions.

The Solution

Today, the city monitors activity at multiple locations with 170 cameras. There are plans to add more devices at its community center and the police station, and increase coverage to a newly developed public works facility and the government center.

“The city needed high quality video to be able to leverage surveillance footage to be aware of security events and speed up response,” Ferrian said. “There were incidents at the detention center where there wasn’t any usable video captured. This new IP system provides better coverage and enables the city to better protect its residents and assets.”

O’Donnell said the combination of Milestone VMS and the “affordable, robust storage system” from Pivot3 enables the city to centralize six independent systems into a single solution. Operators are able access the city’s 170 cameras through a single interface. “We built this system around the police department,” he said. “They have access to all the cameras, which allows them to be proactive in regards to both security and safety.”

The Result

Pivot3 delivered substantial upfront and ongoing cost savings, which enabled the city to expand its surveillance system quicker than if it had chosen a conventional set-up. The self-healing nature of the virtual servers increases system uptime and reduces support costs because the system automatically restarts applications on an available Pivot3 platform in the event of an appliance failure. The return-on-investment is significant; support costs are reduced significantly and valuable video footage is protected.

“Pivot3 delivered on its promise to reduce power, rackspace and cooling costs when compared to conventional server configurations,” O’Donnell said. “The money we have saved since implementing the Pivot3 solution enables us to expand our video surveillance system much sooner than we originally thought possible.”