Magazine Article | May 21, 2012

Q&A: Take The Guesswork Out Of Video Storage

By Mike Monocello, Business Solutions magazine

Integrators new to IP video surveillance should consider these tips concerning the storage of video.

The video surveillance industry is well aware of the significant role integrators like you can play in today’s rapidly changing world of IP-based security technologies. Indeed, setting up and installing today’s cameras is well within the wheelhouse of network-savvy solutions providers like you. Of course, installing a camera is one thing. What about the other end of the solution where the recorder and storage reside? I spoke with two experts from Honeywell Security to gain some insight on the opportunties and challenges integrators might face when implementing video storage solutions.

What challenges will integrators face when implementing video storage solutions?
Mel Gray, senior manager, product marketing, Honeywell Security: The biggest challenge will be education. Today’s integrators need to realize how steep the technology curve is becoming. Years ago, the curve was low and technology shifted every five or six years. Now we’re witnessing the transition from analog to IP at a much more rapid rate. This has left many dealers/ integrators somewhat unprepared for the migration to IP. It’s crucial for integrators to take a more holistic approach and educate themselves on how IT networks and video surveillance co-exist and operate. A lot of manufacturers are making it increasingly easier to implement the solutions, but IP video projects now require a bit more implementation planning than older analog systems. Video storage has to be planned along with the network to make sure adequate bandwidth and storage space is provided to meet customer expectations.

How difficult will it be for network-savvy integrators to become technically capable to sell video storage solutions?
Gray: To their benefit, they already understand the associated complexities and nuances of a network. Their challenge will be to understand how IT and video work together. Their corporation may carry its data from facility to facility, but adding video takes additional consideration. They’ll need to fully understand the application and needs of the customers and learn to speak the language (resolution rates, days of storage, etc.) and transpose IT knowledge into video applications. Integrators looking to learn more should attend manufacturer seminars or webinars put on by organizations such as the Security Industry Association (SIA).

John Smith, senior customer marketing manager, Honeywell Security: Many manufacturers are producing helpful tools such as training guides or bandwidth calculators, which integrators are finding to be very helpful in the planning phase. The absolute last thing you want is for an IT professional to install a full bandwidth system and, in turn, cripple an unprepared network.

If price is a concern for the end customer, what capabilities should integrators point out that can help create ROI?
Smith: Whether they are looking at DVR or NVR (network video recorder) technologies, the primary question integrators need to ask of price-conscious end users is “Are you buying enough of the proper storage?” Rather, the best way to future-proof an end user’s storage requirements is to explore the option of a cloud-based storage system. The cloud, which offers basically limitless off-site storage, provides a good economy of scale in that end users only pay for the storage that they need.

What are some of the most common misperceptions regarding video storage?
Gray: Often, the classes of storage are misunderstood or used in the wrong application. Unlike enterprise-class storage, desktop-class storage isn’t meant for high-use cycles of recording video on a continuous basis. Only enterprise or video class storage can handle constant streaming of high-resolution images. Also significant is the increasing demand for high-resolution IP cameras and the accompanying importance of adequate storage. Storage is becoming more easily attainable, so integrators and dealers can create more positive user experiences by properly estimating storage needs. Another trend is the changing perspective toward the costs and benefits of network-based storage. End users often think that since they use network-based storage for their typical IT data storage requirements that it is less expensive than direct attached storage or onboard storage for DVRs and NVRs. In some cases network- based storage can require upgrades in the network infrastructure due to higher demands for transporting and storing video.