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Sourcing storage for video

Selecting best-of-breed components is becoming more and more popular when building an IP video management system (VMS). Apart from the video software itself, the cameras, and various other components, integrators also have several options on how and what to offer end users concerning the computer server and associated storage for archived video.

May 4, 2010  By Steve Bocking

One option is to offer the end user the choice of acquiring the server themselves. Although this relinquishes the integrators involvement, it can often be an appealing option for the end-user, especially if the end-user is a large organization that has preferential buying power with an off-the-shelf supplier such as Dell or HP. This option also allows the end user to use the same brand of servers they are used to working with for their other IT applications. And, this often will put a smile on the face of the IT staff.

Some VMSs can even accommodate installation on a virtual server. This means that the IT group runs special software that allows them, for example, to have 10 virtual servers function across three physical servers. In this case, an end user may not even have to buy a new server for their video application as they can just designate one of their virtual servers for CCTV. If limited security budget is a concern, giving the end user the option of acquiring their own server also presents a cost reduction on the integrator quote. The reason is simple. The server costs will then become a part of the IT department’s budget and not the security department.  
However, some end users still would prefer that their security integrators provide them with a turn-key solution, including the server and storage. For this type of scenario, integrators have several options at their disposal.
One option is to supply a standard server from a major supplier such as Dell, HP or any other big brand. The benefit in this case is that those organizations often have websites where an integrator can easily choose different configuration options to suit the needs of the project. Or, if the integrator would like more guidance than a website, they can contact the supplier or deal with a smaller local supplier. However, the integrator needs to ensure that the selected server meets the requirements for the video application, which a general storage supplier may not fully understand. Consulting the VMS supplier for guidance is recommended in this case, as they should have standard computer specifications that will help the integrator and their storage supplier make the right decision.
The second option is dealing with a new group of storage solution providers that focus solely on supplying servers and storage for security applications such as CCTV. They are much better equipped to provide advice for video applications than a large company that sell storage for general purposes. Some of these specialised storage providers even offer the option of pre-loading the VMS from several different manufacturers on a server, reducing installation time for the security integrator.
To conclude, it is apparent that there are lots of options for the server and storage part of a video surveillance application. Being aware of and remaining open-minded to all these options in each VMS project is essential since it will help integrators successfully tackle different storage obstacles and objectives every time.
Steve Bocking is Director of Sales, Canada for Genetec. He can be reached at: sbocking@genetec.com

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