SNAPserver Video Servers (IP Transmission) / Video Encoders(8)
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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.
For those of you old enough to remember, video matrix switchers were once the heyday of surveillance camera control. These cumbersome antiques were at the heart of every major video surveillance system (video surveillance at the time) in premier gaming properties, government installations and corporate industrial complexes. They required more physical labor to construct and configure than perhaps the pyramids – maybe not – but you get the picture. And then digital video made its way in to the market and everything changed, transforming the physical demands for camera control and management from a hardware-centric to a software driven process. We’ve come a long way in a few short years, and the borders that once defined IT and security continue to diminish, if not disappear completely There’s no doubt that this migration also presented significant challenges as many security professionals often struggled with all things IT and software programming being one of the industry’s soft spots. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way in a few short years, and the borders that once defined IT and security continue to diminish, if not disappear completely. However, the complexities of today’s VMS functionality can be intimidating for anyone tasked with installing one of these systems given all of the user-defined options available from the simplest camera sequencing and bandwidth allocations to mobile management and enterprise level integration. This is where truly advanced VMS solutions need to shine on both the operations and the design/build sides of the equation. Smart VMS Design There are more solutions products labelled “VMS solutions” out there than ever before. The issue is the fact that many of these “solutions” really don’t fall into the category of a true VMS by today’s standards but offer basic camera and NVR control. No doubt that there is a place for such software programs in the market. However, VMS solutions from the likes of OnSSI and other industry-leading companies offer distinct and superior management and control capabilities for demanding security and business intelligence applications. Perhaps of equal importance, these top-tier VMS solutions incorporate provisions for installers, so they have a clear and easier implementation path. OnSSI offers VMS solutions with smart camera drivers Here are seven attributes that can assist with the design and implementation of an advanced VMS solution: 1) Open Architecture Platform We need the ability to easily integrate with other systems and scale for future developments and physical system growth The ability to easily integrate with other systems and scale for future developments and physical system growth is largely dependent on a systems platform architecture. Here’s where VMS solutions with open architecture provide a distinct advantage. Open-architecture solutions expand functionality by facilitating greater integration between multiple systems and components. This not only makes VMS solutions with open architecture easier to implement, it makes them extremely cost-efficient by eliminating the need for proprietary solutions. Open architecture systems also provide adherence to industry standards such as ONVIF and PSIA, as well as compression formats such as H.265 and MJPEG, and help ensure system integration and support of an extensive range of manufacturers’ cameras and off-the-shelf hardware. Be wary of VMS solutions with limited camera manufacturer support. 2) Simple Licensing Processes And Pricing Camera licenses and pricing is always a touchy subject, as any misunderstanding of a specific VMS solutions’ licensing terms can prove to be costly after the fact. And it often seems that some VMS suppliers have gone to great lengths to complicate the process as to obscure actual Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Perhaps the most direct, simple and straightforward camera licensing and pricing method is to have one license per IP address used by each camera/encoder on multi-channel devices. These should be perpetual licenses with no required annual fees or subscriptions. Additionally, the licensing agreement should be all inclusive without added fees for multiple clients, failover servers, active directory support, I/O devices, redundant management servers, technical support or security patches and updates. 3) Mixing And Matching Camera License Types The ability to mix and match different camera license types within the same system helps facilitate a seamless and simple migration of new and pre-existing systems with minimal downtime or interruption in operation. The ability to mix and match camera licenses not only saves valuable design and installation time, it can provide considerable savings when integrating large, multi-tenant systems. Mix and match capabilities also allow system designers to apply specific feature sets to specific groups of cameras to best leverage functionality and budgets, as well as providing the flexibility to implement an on-site, virtual, or cloud-based VMS solution, without any additional cost. 4) Auto Camera Detection And Configuration Another VMS set-up feature that eases the install process is the ability to forego device registrations or MAC address requirements Another VMS set-up feature that eases the install process is the ability to forego device registrations or MAC address requirements. This functionality allows installers to instantly locate cameras on the network and configure them centrally so they can easily replace older cameras while seamlessly retaining video recorded from them. The auto detection capability should also include the ability to detect and import CSV files, which can then be stored and used to configure camera templates for future camera installation profiles. 5) Smart Camera Driver Technology VMS solutions with smart camera drivers offer valuable assistance during system implementation, and any time new cameras are added to the network or replace older models. Manufacturer-specific smart camera drivers expand the range of model-specific static drivers. Instead of storing the device’s information (codecs, resolutions, frame rates, etc.) statically, a VMS with smart camera drivers queries devices for their capabilities using the manufacturers’ proprietary protocol. All that is required for configuration is that the camera is available on the network. Smart camera drivers eliminate the need to wait for model-specific drivers or installation of driver packs, allowing for newly released cameras to be used immediately. Network security is an area where leading VMS suppliers like OnSSI have ramped up development efforts to stay ahead of hackers 6) Importance Of Network Security Network Security is perhaps the greatest challenge faced by industry professionals today Network security is perhaps the greatest challenge faced by industry professionals today. This is an area where leading VMS suppliers like OnSSI have ramped up development efforts to stay ahead of hackers. New security developments to look for include TLS 1.2 encryption protocols for camera-to-server communications (SSL 3.0 supported for older cameras), as well as server-to-server communications. Additional safeguards to consider include: randomized video databases with no camera identification information to secure recorded data; support for Active Directory authentication; AES encryption between servers and clients; and AES encrypted exporting. 7) Automatic Updates Regardless of the supplier you select for your VMS solution, they should be consistently providing new updates and security patches on a frequent if not regular basis. Keeping up with these updates can be a burden and are often overlooked leading to system failures and breeches. Advanced VMS solutions now feature automatic update service checks on a system-wide basis, eliminating the need to manually update individual servers and devices. This ensures that your VMS system always has the latest drivers, fixes and updates which assures overall security while reducing TCO. So next time you’re getting a demo of the latest and greatest VMS solution, remember to ask what it offers in terms of design and implementation tools. Half the battle with new technologies is getting them installed and working properly. Without the right tools to accomplish these critical first steps, all the functionality in the world will do you little good.
It amazes me how in a few short years security systems have gone from simple, dumb cameras witnessing events to intelligent eyes, ears, speech and touch solutions that boost situational awareness far beyond human capabilities. It seems the only senses missing from the equation now are smell and taste. And who knows, someone might be working on those in a lab somewhere right now. But what’s really fascinating to me is how the Internet of Things (IoT) has opened a world of possibilities for transforming security technology into something new yet again. With IoT we’re able to push and pull nuggets of intelligence from sources we never considered before: environmental sensors, pressure plates, door lock timers and much more. It’s helped us break through the constraining mindset that security systems are strictly single-purpose. With interconnectivity at the core, we’re starting to imagine myriad ways to apply these tools to challenges outside the realm of security. Here are just a few examples. Flood Management Assistance Network camera adds another dimension and timeliness to flood management by helping responders investigate remotely As recent hurricanes and floods have shown, water damage can be devastating to a community. That’s why some municipalities are using their city surveillance cameras in conjunction with water sensor to proactively address the problem. Water sensors collect data from multiple sources such as rain gutters, sewer systems and pump stations, in order to monitor fluctuations in water levels and water quality. If an alert triggers, having a network camera in proximity to visually verify the situation helps responders determine the best course of action. For instance, if multiple water detection sensors trigger alerts simultaneously or sequentially over a large area it’s probably due to natural runoff from recent rainfall. But without eyes on the scene, how can you be sure? Network camera adds another dimension and timeliness to flood management by helping responders investigate and identify the cause of a trigger remotely. It might be a fire hydrant spewing water, a water main break or even a chemical spill. With video streaming live to the command center, staff can remotely inspect the area, determine the cause of the trigger and decide whether remediation is required, thus avoiding the expense of dispatching an investigative crew to a non-event. Some municipalities are using their city surveillance cameras in conjunction with water sensor to proactively address the problem Environmental Control Assistance Data centers house the lifeblood of a business so it’s no wonder why companies work hard to protect them. We’re all familiar with the integration of network cameras with access control systems to visually verify who is actually using the credentials. Network camera adds another dimension and timeliness to flood management by helping responders investigate and identify the cause of a trigger remotely But there’s another aspect to protecting data centers and that’s environment control. Data centers need to maintain optimum humidity and temperature for the racks of electronics. When environmental sensors in the facility detect out-of-norm ranges technicians can remotely command a network camera to zoom in on the gauges and help them determine whether remediation might be necessary. Coupling network cameras with other sensors in the data center can provide visual confirmation of other conditions as well. For instance, every time a data rack door-open-close sensor detects an event it can trigger the camera to pan to the location and stream video to security. Some data centers employ weight sensors at the doorway to weigh personnel and equipment as they enter the room and when they exit to ensure no additional hardware is being taken out of the facility or left inside without permission. Any discrepancy would trigger the camera to zoom in for a close-up of the individual’s face and send a visual alert and ID information to security. Roadway Management And Parking Assistance Network cameras have long played a part in city-wide traffic management. Adding video analytics and integration with network sensors, makes those cameras that much smarter and versatile. They can detect cars driving in bike lanes or driving in the wrong direction and capture license plates of offenders. Their ability to detect anomalous traffic flow patterns can be integrated with car counting sensors, networked electronic road signs and traffic light systems to automatically redirect vehicles to alternate routes. They make great, intelligent parking lot attendants, too. Working in conjunction with weight sensors network cameras can count vehicles coming into and leaving a lot or garage and verify when the facility has reached capacity. License plate recognition and video analytics can be used to ascertain that a vehicle entering a reserved parking space doesn’t match the credentials and vehicle attributes in the database. With the addition of noise sensors and audio analytics, network cameras can improve roadway and parking facility safety by detecting and identifying specific sounds – breaking glass, car alarms, gun shots, and aggressive speech – and triggering a visual alert to first responders. Network cameras can improve roadway and parking facility safety by detecting and identifying specific sounds and triggering a visual alert to first responders Shopper Experience Assistance In the early days of online shopping, e-tailers designed their sites to replicate the in-store customer experience. In an ironic turn of events, today brick-and-mortar stores are trying to mirror the online shopping experience. To do so, they’re turning their security systems into adjunct sales assistance. With network video and audio system automation they can recognize and acknowledge loyal customers with personal greetings. Retailers are applying people counting video analytics to checkout activity to create rules-based consistency in customer service With heatmapping analytics they can measure how much time a customer spends in a specific department or observe how they walk through the aisles of the store. They can track shopping behaviors such as items looked at that made it into the cart or didn’t, or whether a customer actually checked out or left the merchandise behind. By capturing these shopping patterns and trends retailers can shape a more positive, more profitable customer shopping experience. For instance, integrating video analytics with point of sale systems and RFID sensors on merchandise tags can result in timely alerts to sales associates to recommend additional merchandise. This is a case of emulating how e-tailers let the customer know that other customers who bought X often also purchased items Y and Z. Or to avoid disappointing customers due to stock outages, retailers are linking weight sensors and video analytics to make sure their shelves are well-stocked and if not, quickly alert associates to what items need to be restocked. Capturing Business Intelligence Retailers are also using video cameras to monitor checkout queues and trigger automated announcements over the public-address system, closed system such as smartphones or other wireless communications devices that checkers are needed rather wait for a person to call for backup. IoT laid the groundwork for network security solutions to seamlessly integrate with other IP-based technologies, sensors and programs They’re applying people counting video analytics to checkout activity to create rules-based consistency in customer service. While retailers will always use their surveillance camera for loss prevention, they’re finding that integrating traditional technology in new ways can yield even bigger returns. Linking network video surveillance, video analytics, network communications system and sensors with point-of-sale systems and customer loyalty databases, retailers are capturing the business intelligence they need to get back in the game and make brick-and-mortar a greater overall experience than online shopping. A Natural Cross-Over Technology This trend towards integration has forever changed how organizations view their investment in security technology. The intelligence and versatility of a tool that can see, verify and analyze what’s happening in real-time is spurring users to tap its cross-over potential for a host of other tasks that could benefit from more astute situational awareness – everything from manufacturing and equipment maintenance to logistics, inventory control and beyond. IoT laid the groundwork for network security solutions to seamlessly integrate with other IP-based technologies, sensors and programs. How we capitalize on that connection is only limited by our imagination.
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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