SNAPserver Video Servers (IP Transmission) / Video Encoders(8)
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Securing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in the transportation industry is multi-faceted for a multitude of reasons. Pressures build for transit industry players to modernise their security systems, while also mitigating the vulnerabilities, risks, and growth-restrictions associated with proprietary as well as integrated solutions. There are the usual physical security obstacles when it comes to increasingly integrated solutions and retrofitting updated technologies into legacy systems. Starting with edge devices like cameras and intelligent sensors acquiring video, analytics and beyond, these edge devices are now found in almost all public transportation like buses, trains, subways, airplanes, cruise lines, and so much more. You can even find them in the world’s last manually operated cable car systems in San Francisco. The next layer to consider is the infrastructure and networks that support these edge devices and connect them to centralized monitoring stations or a VMS. Without this layer, all efforts at the edge or stations are in vain as you lose the connection between the two. And the final layer to consider when building a comprehensive transit solution is the software, recording devices, or viewing stations themselves that capture and report the video. The challenge of mobility However, the transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility. As other industries become more connected and integrated, they don’t usually have to consider going in and out or bouncing between networks as edge devices physically move. Obviously in the nature of transportation, this is key. Have you ever had a bad experience with your cellular, broadband or Wi-Fi at your home or office? You are not alone. The transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility Can you trust these same environments to record your surveillance video to the Cloud without losing any frames, non-stop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? To add to the complexity – how do you not only provide a reliable and secure solution when it’s mobile, traveling at varying speeds, and can be in/out of coverage using various wireless technologies? Waiting to upload video from a transport vehicle when it comes into port, the station, or any centralized location is a reactive approach that simply will not do any longer. Transit operations require a more proactive approach today and the ability to constantly know what is going on at any given time on their mobile vehicles, and escalate that information to headquarters, authorities, or law enforcement if needed; which can only occur with real-time monitoring. This is the ultimate question when it comes to collecting, analyzing, and sharing data from mobile vehicles – how to get the video from public transportation vehicles alike to headquarters in real time! Managing video data In order to answer this question, let’s get back to basics. The management and nature of video data differs greatly from conventional (IT) data. Not only is video conducted of large frames, but there are specific and important relationships among the frames and the timing between them. This relationship can easily get lost in translation if not handled properly. This is why it’s critical to consider the proper way to transmit large frames while under unstable or variable networks. The Internet and its protocols were designed more than two decades ago and purposed for conventional data. Although the Internet itself has not changed, today’s network environments run a lot faster, expand to further ranges, and support a variety of different types of data. Because the internet is more reliable and affordable than in the past some might think it can handle anything. However, it is good for data, but not for video. This combination makes it the perfect time to convert video recording to the Cloud! Video transmission protocol One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet. ITS are in dire need for reliable transmission of real-time video recording. To address this need a radical, yet proven, video transmission protocol has recently been introduced to the market. It uses AI technology and to adapt to different environments in order to always deliver high quality, complete video frames. This protocol, when equipped with encryption and authentication, enables video to be transmitted reliably and securely over the Internet in a cloud environment. One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet Finally, transportation industry has a video recording Cloud solution that is designed for (massive) video that can handle networks that might be experiencing high error rate. Such a protocol will not only answer the current challenges of the transportation industry, but also make the previously risky Cloud environment safe for even the most reserved environments and entities. With revolutionary transmission protocols, the time is now to consider adopting private Cloud for your transportation operations.
For decades, the nature of global safety has been evolving. From physical security threats like large-scale terrorist attacks and lone actor stabbings to chemical threats such as the Salisbury poisonings and even microbiological threats such as COVID-19, new challenges are constantly arising and the threat landscape we operate in today is constantly changing. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks. With the economic downturn, there is the traditional rise in theft, violence and other crimes. Compound this with unmanned businesses and work-at-home staff, and there is a perfect storm for a rise in security threats. Artificial intelligence (AI) and specifically the branch of AI known as machine learning (ML), was already causing widespread disruption in many industries, including the security industry. AI has been a driving force to replace labor-based business models with integrated data and actionable intelligence that is context-aware. It has become apparent that AI will play a big part in the ongoing fight against both pandemics such as COVID-19, as well as other threats that we may face in the future. With all of this in mind, 2021 is poised to be a big year for AI growth. While AI is going to continue to impact our lives in dozens of ways, from smart sensors to face mask compliance detection, the following reflects a few top trends and challenges that I have my eye on for 2021 as we close out this year. The rise of smart city investments One such example is the increasing development of smart cities and how AI can be leveraged to build safe communities. To date, we’ve seen an increase in the number of smart city programmes around the globe; cities that are beginning to deploy innovative technologies for the management and ease of life services. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks Typical development of a city includes standard infrastructure - roads, schools, power, water, transportation. Now, internet, data and AI capabilities are part of the standard infrastructure requirements for all new developments. AI promises to deliver increased efficiencies with the infrastructure that will accommodate growing populations while reducing our impact on the environment, resources, and communities. Global cities now account for more than half of the world’s population, and the United Nations projects the number to balloon to 68% by mid-century. Owing to both demographic shifts and overall population growth, that means that around 2.5 billion people could be added to urban areas by the middle of the century, predicts the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). With an increase in population has come an increase in global spending on smart city initiatives to drive down the impact of growing urban concentration. Global spending on smart city initiatives is expected to total nearly $124 billion this year, an increase of 18.9% over 2019, according to IDC's Worldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide, while Singapore, Tokyo, London and New York as the big spenders - expected to spend more than $1 billion in 2020. Using AI-driven technology to create safer public and private spaces Today, security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments to protect the population in a more efficient, and accurate manner. As we look ahead to the future of public safety, it’s clear that new AI technology can dramatically improve the effectiveness of today’s physical security space. One such deployment is the use of video object recognition/computer vision software that can be integrated into existing video monitoring security (VMS) systems. These enhanced VMS systems can be deployed both inside and outside of buildings to identify risks and flag threats, such weapons, aggressive behaviours, theft, and safety compliance. This helps to minimize the impact of a breach by an early alert to onsite security in real-time to the location and nature of the potential threat, allowing them to intervene before a loss occurs. These same AI-enabled video solutions can similarly be used to provide advanced business operations in retail, logistics, and manufacturing organizations. Multi-sensor security solutions Also, targeted magnetic and radar sensor technologies, concealed in everyday objects like planter boxes or inside walls, can now scan individuals and bags entering a building for concealed threat objects. Using AI/machine learning, these two sensor solutions combined can identify metal content on the body and bag and match the item to a catalog of threat items, such as guns, rifles, knives and bombs. Security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments Without this advanced multi-sensor solution, it becomes nearly impossible to discover a weapon on a person's body before it appears in an assailant’s hands. This multi-sensor solution allows for touchless, unobtrusive access to a building, but allows for immediate notification to onsite security when a concealed threat is detected. The hidden technology thus empowers security staff to intercept threats before they evolve into a wider scale attack, while also maintaining the privacy and civil liberties of the public, unless, of course, they are carrying a concealed weapon or pose a physical threat. With the advent of sophisticated surveillance and technological innovation, a level of caution must be exerted. Despite the ongoing global debate, there remains little regulation about the use of AI technologies in today’s physical security space. One thing is certain; it must be deployed in the right place, at the right time, with the right privacy and civil liberty protection objectives. People don’t want to be protected by omnipresent, obstructive and overbearing security systems that infringe on their privacy and civil liberties. They want a proper balance between security and their current way of life, one that must be fused together. Technology and tracing COVID-19 Machine learning-based technologies are playing a substantial role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, the key purpose of surveillance systems has been to detect and deter threats, including the detection of visible and hidden weapons and abnormal behavior. While this, of course, remains a primary focus, today we are seeing how surveillance systems defend against new invisible threats, as well as rapidly automate the process of contact-tracing to capture and contain a virus before it spreads. Again, the ability to track and trace through parsing algorithms that can manage through enormous amounts of data provides a highly scalable and rapid response mechanism to control the spread of threats. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact Although the threat may not be visible, it is just as destructive. By incorporating AI into existing technologies, government, healthcare and security professionals can monitor public spaces and environments through the combined use of digital and thermal video surveillance cameras and video management systems); just one of the solutions being explored. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact. By Using AI-powered video analytic software, businesses can monitor face masks, social distancing and large gathering compliance and also detect elevated body temperature. Critically, technology must be capable of both identifying and tracking the virus but also be unobtrusive. An unobtrusive system that is adaptable enough to be deployed across a range of environments where the public gathers in enclosed spaces is necessary to be effective. Security in 2021 Technology has proven itself to be a valuable ally in times of crisis. For smart cities, the use of innovative AI/machine learning technologies will help optimize security solutions in areas that are brimming with potential. As we look ahead to the future of security in a world that is impacted by such a wide range of threats, from physical to chemical to microbiological, it’s clear that new technologies, specifically AI can dramatically improve the effectiveness of security systems and help us to better defend against a wide spectrum of threats. Technology has a huge role to play in making our communities safe in 2021 and beyond, but for security systems to be effective, they must not be oppressive or obstructive. This will ensure they have the full support of the public - the key to success.
Critical infrastructure facilities that must secure large areas with extended outer boundary and numerous entry points, present a particularly difficult challenge when it comes to perimeter protection. As such, true end-to-end perimeter protection calls for the utilization of a sophisticated, multi-layered solution that is capable of defending against anticipated threats. Integrated systems that incorporate thermal imaging, visible cameras, radar and strong command and control software are crucial for covering the various potential areas of attacks. Let’s look at these technologies and the five key functions they enable to achieve an end-to-end solution that provides intrusion detection, assessment and defense for the perimeter. 1. Threat Recognition The first step in effectively defending against a threat is recognizing that it’s there. By combining state-of-the-art intrusion detection technologies, facilities can arm themselves with a head start against possible intruders. An exceptionally important aspect of effective perimeter protection is the ability to conduct 24-hour surveillance, regardless of weather conditions, environmental settings, or time of day. Visible cameras do not perform as well in low light scenarios and inclement weather conditions. However, thermal imaging cameras can provide constant protection against potential intruders, regardless of visual limitations, light source or many environmental factors. In fact, facilities such as power stations located near bodies of water can use thermal cameras to create what is known as a “thermal virtual fence” in areas where they are unable to utilize the protection of a physical fence or wall. Deterring suspicious activity can be achieved through real-time two-way audio, a simple but powerful tool Critical infrastructure applications require not only continuous video surveillance and monitoring, but also a solution that yields highly reliable intrusion detection, with fewer false alarms. This need makes advanced video analytics a must for any adequate surveillance system. Features like dynamic event detection and simplified data presentation are game changing in supporting accurate intrusion analysis and facilitating a proactive response. Advanced analytics will provide multiple automated alarm notification options, including email, edge image storage, digital outputs or video management software (VMS) alarms. Incorporating high quality, unique and adaptive analytics can virtually eliminate false alarms, allowing security personnel to respond more efficiently and effectively, while also lowering overall cost for the end user. While surveillance technologies such as radar, thermal imaging and visible cameras, or video analytics work well on their own, utilizing all of these options together provides an advanced perimeter detection system. For example, ground surveillance radar can detect possible threats beyond the fence line as they approach and send a signal to pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras, triggering them to slew to a specific location. From there, embedded analytics and visible cameras can further identify objects, notify authorized staff, and collect additional evidence through facial recognition or high-quality photos. 2. Automatic Response Systems Once an intrusion attempt is discovered, it is important to act fast. Organizing a response system that can initiate actions based on GPS location data, such as the slewing of PTZ cameras, automated intruder tracking or activated lighting sensors, greatly increases staff’s situational awareness while easing their workload. For instance, thermal imagers deployed in conjunction with video analytics can be used to generate an initial alarm event, which can then trigger a sequence of other security equipment and notifications for personnel to eventually respond to. Having all of this in place essentially lays the entire situation out in a way that allows responders to accurately understand and evaluate a scene. Power stations located near bodies of water can use thermal cameras to create a “thermal virtual fence” in areas where they are unable to utilize the protection of a physical fence or wall 3. Deterring Suspicious Activity After the designated auto-response mechanisms have activated and done their job, it is time for responders to acknowledge and assess the situation. From here, authorized personnel can take the next appropriate step toward defending against and delaying the threat. Deterring suspicious activity can be achieved through real-time two-way audio, a simple but powerful tool. Often, control room operators can diffuse a situation by speaking over an intercom, telling the trespasser that they are being watched and that the authorities have been notified. This tactic, known as ‘talk down’, also allows officers to view the intruder’s reaction to their commands and evaluate what they feel the best next step is. If individuals do not respond in a desired manner, it may be time to take more serious action and dispatch a patrolman to the area. 4. Delay, Defend, Dispatch And Handle The possible danger has been identified, recognized and evaluated. Now it is time to effectively defend against current attacks and slow down both cyber and physical perpetrators’ prospective efforts. Through the use of a well-designed, open platform VMS, security monitors can manage edge devices and other complementary intrusion detection and response technologies, including acoustic sensors, video analytics, access control and radio dispatch. A robust VMS also enables operators to control functions such as video replay, geographical information systems tracking, email alerts and hand-off to law enforcement. With the right combination of technologies, facilities can take monitoring and evidence collection to the next level The primary purpose of the delay facet of the overall perimeter protection strategy is to stall an attempted intrusion long enough for responders to act. Access control systems play a key role in realizing this objective. When a security officer sees a non-compliant, suspicious individual on the camera feed, the officer can lock all possible exits to trap them in one area all through the VMS. 5. Intelligence: Collect Evidence And Debrief More data and intelligence collected from an event equals more crucial evidence for crime resolution and valuable insight for protecting against future incidents. With the right combination of technologies, facilities can take monitoring and evidence collection to the next level. One innovative resource that has become available is a live streaming application that can be uploaded to smart phones and used for off-site surveillance. This app gives personnel the power to follow intruders with live video anywhere and allows operators to monitor alarm video in real-time. Geographic Information System (GIS) maps are computer systems utilized for capturing, storing, reviewing, and displaying location related data. Capable of displaying various types of data on one map, this system enables users to see, analyze, easily and efficiently. Multi-sensor cameras, possessing both visible and thermal capabilities, provide high-contrast imaging for superb analytic detection (in any light) and High Definition video for evidence such as facial ID or license plate capture. Integrating these two, usually separated, camera types into one helps to fill any gaps that either may normally have. Still, in order to capture and store all of this valuable information and more, a robust, VMS is required. Recorded video, still images and audio clips serve as valuable evidence in the event that a trial must take place to press charges. Control room operators can use data collection tools within their VMS to safely transfer video evidence from the field to the courtroom with just a few clicks of their mouse. More advanced video management systems can go a step further and package this data with other pertinent evidence to create a comprehensive report to help ensure conviction.
Overland Storage and Mobotix have reduced implementation time by 50% with their integrated solutionOverland Storage, Inc., a leading, global specialist in backup, recovery and archive, and Mobotix AG, the technology leader for high resolution network camera systems, today introduced a unified management console that simplifies the deployment of world class video surveillance and archive solutions featuring Mobotix IP network camera systems and Overland's award-winning family of SnapServer network-attached storage (NAS) products. The companies have seamlessly integrated the configuration of IP cameras, video management software and network video storage for extreme ease of management, flexibility and scalability, making the combined solution ideal for hotels, retail shops, parking structures and multi-tenant buildings.Led by Check Your Security, Ltd., a security systems integration company based in Norfolk, United Kingdom, Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust recently implemented Mobotix cameras and Overland Storage SnapServer storage to provide a leading-edge video capture and archive system for around-the-clock security monitoring to protect patients, visitors and hospital staff. "The combined Overland and Mobotix solution was superior," said David Perry, senior estates project manager for Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. "The cameras offered three Megapixel image quality, two-way audio over IP, Power over Ethernet (PoE), sealed external weatherproof housing and the ability to add SnapServer storage capacity with ‘plug and play' simplicity. The embedded MxControlCenter surveillance software was a real bonus that led to measurable cost savings in terms of seamless, simplified operation."With the latest version of Mobotix's MxControlCenter video management software, installers can use a consolidated user interface to set up IP cameras with any local or remote SnapServer storage connected to the video surveillance network. The video management software automatically discovers all available SnapServer devices and provides installation wizards to easily configure the TCP/IP network information. By using the Mobotix control center to manage both the cameras and NAS storage, Overland and Mobotix have reduced the overall implementation process by approximately 50 percent, lowering deployment costs and complexities while minimizing the chance of installation errors. "As technology partners, Overland and Mobotix worked closely to incorporate unique features into both the SnapServer and Mobotix MxControlCenter"As technology partners, Overland and Mobotix worked closely to incorporate unique features into both the SnapServer and Mobotix MxControlCenter to further simplify implementation. To that end, Overland has added a centralised "time" server capability to SnapServer systems to support the synchronisation of timestamps on all videos captured by IP cameras. Recent testing of Overland's SnapServer systems in the Mobotix Camera Lab has proven that SnapServers can handle the data-intensive storage demands for up to 80 simultaneous, high-resolution camera streams."We have continued to see a growing demand for IP-based video surveillance and archive solutions that don't require special networking or storage expertise. Organizations are seeking simple solutions to complex problems and to that end, Overland and Mobotix have accomplished that with a single interface for managing both IP video cameras and storage archives," said Jillian Mansolf, vice president of global sales and marketing. "Together, we're lowering deployment barriers and making it easier for our partners to provide customers with best-of-class IP video cameras and highly scalable storage to meet a wide range of video surveillance requirements.""There is no easier to use or more cost effective solution on the market today," said Peter McKee, global marketing director of Mobotix AG. "As a result, our network-based HiRes video surveillance and archive solutions are gaining momentum worldwide as organizations upgrade from older, analog cameras to the latest and most innovative technologies. We are simultaneously seeing a continuing rise in new installations featuring our high-resolution, digital cameras and embedded video management solution paired with Overland's high-performance storage. We look forward to continuing our strategic alliance with Overland as we collaborate on additional applications."
Zodo gains scalable, data archive to support growing video surveillance system with Overland's productsZodo's-Bowling & Beyond is one of the busiest bowling centres on the West Coast, boasting 24 lanes, an arcade, pro shop as well as a full-service, highly popular restaurant and bar. After the Goleta, California-based facility was purchased by Kinko's Inc. founder, chairman and avid bowler Paul Orfalea along with other Kinko's executives, the business was transformed into a 25,000-square foot entertainment centre that appeals to all ages.The multi-million dollar business continues to thrive despite a decline in the bowling industry thanks to its plethora of special programs, such as "Bowl your Brains Out, Win a Vespa," "Lunch ‘n Bowl," and "Glow Bowling," where black lights shed a whole different light on a typical game. On weekends, Zodo's hosts the area's largest laser light show and a live disc jockey to liven up the perennial party atmosphere.According to Cindy Lawrenz, vice president of operations for Zodo's, the company embraces leading-edge technology to run all aspects of the business. "We are very savvy when it comes to technology," she explains. "It starts with our deployment of automated scoring systems, synthetic lanes and AMF pinsetters and extends to sophisticated point-of-sale systems, widespread WiFi access and state-of-the-art intelligent lighting systems." During recent remodels, Zodo's has installed CAT-5 cabling through the facility along with a 48-camera, high-resolution video surveillance system for monitoring activity and supporting insurance liability requirements.The challengeIn 2003, Zodo's extended its technology foundation to accommodate a mix of five Microsoft and Linux file servers connected via a facility-wide network. The company also re-evaluated its storage foundation, especially since computers are used to broadcast music and data-intensive digital videos throughout the building as well as administer elaborate lighting displays. "We realised early on that we would need a solid storage framework to handle both our frontand back-office demands in addition to our burgeoning video surveillance storage needs," adds Lawrenz.To that end, the Zodo's team turned to a former technology expert from Kinko's to optimize its storage solution. "Overland's Snap Server network attached storage (NAS) systems were recommended based on positive experiences in Kinko's environment," recalls Lawrenz. "In particular, Snap Servers worked well since they enabled the direct attachment of a tape drive for reliable near-line storage of data before seamlessly archiving off to tape." "The combination of Snap Server 620 and GOS 5.0 gives Zodo's a future-proof NAS foundation," concludes LawrenzInitially, Zodo's installed a Snap Server 520 with one terabyte of storage, which met the early needs for highly reliable NAS storage with a variety of enterprise-class features. Among the pluses of this first system were remote management of BakBone's NetVault: Backup data protection, which was embedded on the Snap Server platform, as well as the ability to write command-line scripts and automate different operations for reduced administrative overhead. The first Snap Server also kept pace with Zodo's rapidly rising video surveillance solution.As Zodo's grew and expanded, however, more video surveillance cameras were added while upgrades were made to many of its original cameras. Moving to higher-resolution cameras, along with the need to archive video on disk for up to 10 days, strained the capacity on the company's Snap Server 520. "Our daily storage doubled, which meant we had to dump off video to tape daily just to keep up," notes Lawrenz. "Finding the exact video we needed from tape became more of a burden as we amassed a rather large collection of video archives. A step up to more capacity was definitely warranted."The solutionWhen it came time to increase capacity, Zodo's once again turned to Overland's Snap Server to supply the additional storage while also leveraging a host of new features and advanced functionality. The new Snap Server 620 boasts 63 percent higher performance than the 520, thanks to a new dual-core AMD Opteron processor. Additionally, the new NAS platform can be configured with four enterprise-class SATA II drives for an initial capacity of one, two, three or four terabytes as well as optional scalability to 88 TBs to suite a variety of storage demands and budgets.In seeking a more scalable NAS solution, Zodo's sought the advice of its long-time technology consultant, Rick Heise, who was impressed with the enhancements now included in Snap Server's embedded GuardianOS (GOS) 5.0. For instance, he felt that expanded GOS functionality was ideally suited for Zodo's environment, including best-in-class Microsoft access control lists (ACLs) support, remote backup job monitoring and NTP Server support for time-stamp synchronisation across all computers and video cameras. "Security has always been a big concern, especially since we have PCI Compliance data among other highly sensitive files on our systems," he says. "We wanted the ability to lock-down certain data and keep mission-critical and sensitive information secure from unwanted access."The new Snap Server 620 boasts 63 percent higher performance than the 520, thanks to a new dual-core AMD Opteron processorAdditionally, GOS 5.0 features a Linux 2.6 kernel for improved stability, robustness and performance while the availability of RAID 6 and 10 support delivers an extra measure of data protection. Overland also has broadened its NAS replication functionality with the latest release of Snap Enterprise Data Replicator (EDR) 7.2, which can be embedded in GOS optionally to bolster the ability to distribute, synchronize and protect data residing in remote offices. Finally, integration with BakBone's NetVault: Backup 8.1 extends open systems data protection."We really liked that Overland provided a total, turnkey solution with the Snap Server 620," adds Heise. "All the new bells and whistles offered a lot of potential for taking our data protection to the next level."The benefitsIn September 2008, Zodo's upgraded to Overland's Snap Server 620 with two terabytes and GOS 5.0, doubling its storage capacity while taking advantage of new GOS functionality. In particular, the company leverages dynamic home directories to give each network user private space and settings as well as the ability to preserve Windows ACLs on all files and folders. "Now, our executives and the managers for the restaurant, bar, security, finance and other facets of the operation can have secure information areas for their sensitive files without any concerns," explains Heise. "This is a huge benefit as we can store and backup all our data on the Snap Server, including vital POS systems containing critical PCI compliance data."Zodo's also noticed an immediate performance boost on the new Snap Server platform. "We instantly saw the performance improvement," Heise adds. "Moving files around and performing backups is much faster on the Snap Server 620. Equally important is the use of enterprise-class SATA II drives, which gives us greater reliability and tolerance for errors."Overland has further streamlined ease of use with broader support for command-line scripting, which gives Zodo's additional flexibility in moving, managing and protecting data. The significant capacity increase also gives the company an opportunity to store up to 10 days of video on disk for easier, more efficient retrieval. "Previously, we had to dump video off to tape daily as we simply ran out of room," recalls Lawrenz. "Now, we can store more than a week's worth of video on disk and find what we're looking for quickly. Before, it took up to 10 times longer to locate, upload, restore and review videos from backup tapes."Zodo's also leverages tight integration with BakBone's NetVault: Backup for simplified backup and recovery while planning to evaluate EDR to protect files stored at a remote site as part of an overarching business continuity strategy. "The combination of Snap Server 620 and GOS 5.0 gives Zodo's a future-proof NAS foundation," concludes Lawrenz. "This product scales easily while enabling us to integrate advanced functionality, like replication, to address evolving disaster recovery needs."
OMNI Data purchased two Snap Server 520 storage systems to reduce costs and maximize productivityOMNI Data, which is based in Woodbridge, CT, is a systems integration and IT fonsulting firm with a proven track record for delivering the most efficient, comprehensive and cost-effective solutions to their clients. The firm designs, builds, and supports IT networks to help their clients maximize productivity, while minimizing IT infrastructure.OMNI Data is comprised of IT certified engineers and consultants from an array of technical disciplines. The company works with the client to determine their needs, then builds the solution that best addresses those needs. OMNI Data then works with hardware and software vendors to procure the right equipment to build an integrated solution.The challengeLike many successful companies, OMNI Data has experienced tremendous growth in their data center. Between their own data and that which the company hosts for its clients, their data center had ballooned to 16 racks containing 65 servers, plus storage units. The data center was housed in a 48x24 room, which was completely full. "Our data center was pushing capacity", explains Scott Sebastian, Director of Sales for OMNI Data. "We were at the point where we had to seriously consider moving to a larger facility so we would have enough space to house our data center."In addition to their physical space crisis, OMNI Data wanted to build a more efficient system that would be less expensive to operate and maintain, while increasing overall uptime and reliability. They were also interested in building a system with inherent flexibility, to easily scale to meet their future needs.The company determined that the only way to achieve all of these seemingly contrasting goals was to virtualise their data center. OMNI Data had long been known for recommending and implementing advanced technological solutions for their customers. Now it was time for them to implement such a solution for their own business. "We wanted to do it partly to reap some financial savings with power and cooling, but also make our own servers more manageable and flexible, explains Sebastian. "If we were going to start recommending this technology to our clients, we wanted to implement it on ourselves, first. This would not only solve our problems, but also become a model for us to show to our customers.The virtualisation solution Once all the needs had been assessed, the choice became remarkably clear. OMNI Data looked to Virtual Iron, the premier provider of enterprise-class software for creating and managing virtual infrastructure. Virtual Iron leverages industry standards, open source, and processors with built-in hardware assisted virtualisation to deliver open and economically attractive virtualisation alternative OMNI Data had long been known for implementing advanced technological solutions for their customerss to existing, proprietary solutions.Using Virtual Iron as the "brain" of their network infrastructure, OMNI Data partitioned five physical servers to produce 20 virtual servers as well as a virtual tape library. Each physical piece of hardware now behaved in every way as if it was multiple units. Windows 2003 was installed on some virtual servers, while Linux was installed on others.The storage solutionOMNI Data realised that the hardware selection was a critical component to making the new system work. After all, if the physical server failed, four virtual servers would go down, thereby quadrupling the problem. With this in mind, OMNI Data set out to select and purchase the most reliable hardware they could find, in a price range that would not negate the cost savings promised by the virtualisation effort.After careful consideration that included all the major storage providers, OMNI Data selected Overland's Snap Server. "It was a relatively easy decision", remembers Sebastian. "Snap Servers are known for their reliability and their sales and field engineers were uncommonly helpful. The moment we even hinted that we might need a bit of support, they got right on the phone to help."OMNI Data purchased two Snap Server 520 storage systems. One Snap Server 520 was placed in the production environment, physically housed in the Data Center at OMNI Data headquarters. Using Virtual Iron software, the Snap Server 520 was then utilised for five physical servers and 20 virtual servers and attached to a virtual tape library.The second Snap Server 520 was housed in an offsite OMNI Data facility containing a redundant Satellite/T1 Internet connection, physical servers (virtualised), and virtual desktops. Using Snap Enterprise Data Replicator™ (Snap EDR) software, all critical data would now be replicated between the two sites for complete redundancy, thereby providing business continuity in the case of a catastrophic event.One Snap Server 520 was placed in the production environment, physically housed in the Data Center at OMNI Data headquartersResultsOMNI Data determined that the savings from the power and cooling alone were worth the migration. The migration enabled them to remove 2 racks containing 15 servers from their data center, saving the company valuable physical space, as well as operational costs. "Our engineers determined that the power and cooling, alone, saved us $20,000 per year", said Sebastian. "Additionally, the decrease in physical space requirements saved us from having to move our data center to a larger location, which would have come with significant immediate and recurring costs. As a side benefit, we were able to use our extra space to build a training center. In addition to serving our own training needs, we actually rent the space to others for an extra revenue stream."With full redundancy with their servers and their SAN, OMNI Data also gained the ability to set up a new server in minutes instead of hours. The benefit of this configuration was further proven when their quote system went down, due to a power supply failure. "We transferred the system to another server, which allowed it to be up and running again in five minutes", remembers Sebastian. "In the past, this critical business system would have been down for a day or two."Always looking to help their customers get the most out of their systems, OMNI Data uses their new system infrastructure as a working model to demonstrate the benefits of consolidation and proper data protection. "We've proven that it works, so we want our customers to reap the benefits of our experience", adds Sebastian.
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