Never has video surveillance been more critical to organizations than it is today. There is a growing and constant hunger for data driven by the growth of big data, network-enabled devices, and services associated with the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as emerging artificial intelligence technologies that will help us finally realize the power of video analytics. Even IT technologies are having a significant impact on the security space.
The demand for data propels an increase in video surveillance deployments—primarily from users seeking information that can be transformed into actionable intelligence. The knowledge derived from these sources is exponentially valuable, helping glean new insights into improved operations and stronger, more proactive security planning.
Furthermore, advancements in technologies, such as 360-degree IP cameras and advanced video intelligence solutions, are additional market drivers. Ease of access to more advanced (yet more cost effective) cameras is also a significant factor. Put these trends together and one can easily see why it is estimated that video surveillance systems will produce more than 24ZB (zettabytes) of data in 2018, according to research by Wikibon—more than twice the amount of the next highest application. It's a fact: video is now the ultimate big data application.
The focus is completely on data: How much can you capture? How can this help the business? What data is valuable and what is not? Security leaders have to know how to answer these questions to make better-informed decisions and deliver results to senior executives and management. The key is to understand not only how to analyze video data, but also how to store and protect it.
Video as a Currency
Video surveillance is a critical component of an organization's security infrastructure because of its ability to provide stakeholders with a visual representation of potential anomalies, events, and trends. Additionally, there is a growing benefit to using video surveillance as a security and business optimization tool.
As the value of video data increases and new use cases continue to emerge, organizations need to ensure their investment is protected. System failures—where video or security information becomes inaccessible and data is lost—open the door to risks, vulnerabilities, and operational interruptions. These outcomes are not acceptable in mission-critical environments. The growing demand for video data and converged applications changes the game. Organizations now need infrastructure that can meet the 24/7 requirements of modern data and security operations centers. Converged data adds significant business value to global organizations that seek to boost system performance and drive operational efficiencies that reach far beyond traditional use cases.
But once you capture video, how do you maximize its use and ensure that it's available later when needed? In today's world, this is the most critical question that must be answered. The protection of data is an absolute priority for both physical and IT security professionals.
The Storage Equation
Since data is so relevant, the process of storing it becomes one of the most critical components of a system. There are myriad ways to store video, but many of these solutions are not designed for the complexities of video surveillance deployments or cannot handle the rapid rate in which video is recorded.
One alternative that reduces data center costs and complexity is integrating SAN and server virtualization capabilities into a single software-defined infrastructure deployed on on-the-shelf server hardware. This provides the benefits of enterprise-class IT infrastructure–performance, resiliency, simplicity, and scalability without the high cost and complexity.
The critical infrastructure platforms designed for the needs of the video surveillance market are simple to deploy and scale. Because the storage pool is virtualized, storage is scalable: individual appliances can be added to meet an organization's growing surveillance needs. Adding a camera here or there when a hot spot or interest area is identified or to increase resolution is easily accomplished.
Because video data is variable, unpredictable, and write- intensive, traditional storage systems, such as NVRs and SANs, must often be overprovisioned to plan for the worst-case scenario. But performance suffers during video data spikes and often leads to degraded operations that can cause video loss. No one wants to experience data loss, especially in the wake of a security incident. Modern IT-based storage solutions can be an effective option for video surveillance environments, and they are being embraced by large enterprises, both public and private.
The IT In Video Surveillance
Organizations that rely on video data to strengthen security, operations, performance, and compliance require high-performance storage solutions that are designed for write-intensive environments, such as IP video surveillance and enterprise IT applications. Security and IT leaders know that this type of technology can deliver high levels of performance, resiliency, and scalability that all work in conjunction to protect and ensure availability of critical video surveillance data.
Businesses can benefit from the best practices and solutions proven in the world of IT. The market is changing at a rapid rate and as a security leader, you need to become savvy on what these technologies can deliver to your overall efforts. Organizations cannot leave valuable video data to chance—now is their opportunity to transform surveillance infrastructure by leveraging innovations trusted by their IT departments.
Brandon Reich is general manager, surveillance at Pivot3.