Don’t Skip the SAN: Protect Your Video Surveillance Investment

Don’t Skip the SAN

 

Of the items listed below, which aspects of your video surveillance system keep you up at night the most?

  • Data security
  • Remote access
  • Expansion needs
  • System failures
  • Rising costs

If you’re like most decision makers in the surveillance world, you’ve probably lost sleep over any and all of the above. And if you’re still relying on DVRs, NVRs or even VCRs to capture and store video, you have reason to be worried. Yesterday’s solutions cannot protect the video of today.

High-resolution video dramatically improves the value of surveillance data and is instrumental in helping enhance security program effectiveness across the globe. However, critical video data is more susceptible to loss than ever before.

The ability to capture video- and get the most out of it – falls on the shoulders of the video storage and server infrastructure — often the costliest component of a surveillance deployment. There is an array of storage solutions to choose from, but many are often unreliable, unscalable and underperforming.

Network Video Recorders (NVRs) are based on a hardware platform called direct attached storage (DAS) and were designed to be replacements for older analog VCRs and DVRs. NVRs may be acceptable for small, static video surveillance applications where data loss and downtime are tolerable and no future growth is planned, but for everything else (mission-critical environments, for example), NVRs introduce single points of failure, extremely inefficient resource utilization and time-consuming, complex administration. Probably the most important thing to note about NVRs: if a box fails, recording stops and recorded video is lost — potentially forever.

IT departments stopped using DAS for these reasons in the 1990s, and moved to virtualized servers and shared storage solutions (SAN).  For some reason — whether it be cost or comfort zone — the security industry continues to rely on NVRs to host increasingly sophisticated and important video surveillance implementations. And, honestly, it is time for a wake-up call— organizations that leverage DAS-based NVRs are putting all their golden eggs into a highly ineffective basket.

Storage area networks (SAN) offer improved resiliency, efficiency, and scalability. SANs ensure that all cameras and servers can access a common pool of shared storage, and can scale from medium-sized solutions to vast multi-petabyte storage systems. But, SAN can also be expensive and complicated, and require teams of dedicated IT people to manage. Furthermore, most SANs were designed for general-purpose IT applications, and as a result do not perform well for write-intensive video surveillance.

We encourage you to avoid becoming a cautionary bedtime tale. The advanced resiliency and efficiency of SAN are available in a simpler and more cost-efficient form factor optimized for video surveillance applications. Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) delivers enterprise-class IT server and SAN storage solutions that are purpose-built for video surveillance environments, large and small, and in many cases at a price point competitive with DAS and NVRs.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll feature a series of blog posts in which we’ll discuss the reasons why the days of the NVR are numbered. We’ll cover the shortfalls of DAS, modern IT solutions well-suited for today’s advanced surveillance environments, and how you can break the cycle of recording with one eye open.