Wherever you go today there is a good chance that someone is watching you – cameras are everywhere! If you haven’t noticed that, it’s probably because you have become so accustomed to seeing them that they just blend right into the scenery, but they have become a part of our landscape.
Video Surveillance Systems (VSS) are implemented for public safety, theft protection, defect detection in manufacturing, and a number of other areas in our daily lives. The point of video surveillance is to be able to put eyes on areas where people can’t be all the time, to “see the unseen.”
These systems are deployed and closely monitored by safety and security professionals – think of situations ranging from traffic cameras to schools and campus environments, or body-cameras worn by law enforcement and even retail stores looking to prevent shoplifting. These cameras broadcast back to a control room for real-time viewing, and ultimately all of the video feeds are recorded and kept for a specific time frame. This video footage consumes a lot of storage capacity depending on the cameras’ resolutions and retention times required of these assets.
As with all areas of technology, innovation is sweeping its way into the video surveillance market. Improved camera technology now allows for very small camera devices to record and capture video footage in high definition, and in some cases ultra high definition (4K). Gone are the days of black and white, fuzzy video cameras that provided very little definition. Camera technology has come a long way, to the point that you can zoom in on a person’s shirt and see the smallest patterns on it. Why is this important for video surveillance? Because the more detail that can be captured, the better the chances are of seeing something that couldn’t have been seen before. The ability for security professionals to go back and review video footage captured by a video surveillance system for training purposes, forensics, defect detection, and personal safety depends upon the data collected by these systems to be clear and usable.
A Window into File Storage
VSS systems implemented even two years ago are considered out of date. Camera technology has improved and continues to evolve rapidly. In order to leverage the benefits that these systems provide, organizations need to assess and frequently update the underlying VSS infrastructure.
Wouldn’t it be beneficial to not only have a window of the world through modern camera technology, but also a window into how efficiently the overall video surveillance system is performing, including the file storage?
Understanding the impact of adding or upgrading cameras, increasing retention times, or upgrading the video management software (VMS) will have on storage, has always been a wait-and-see approach. Administrators often upgrade some cameras and see what happens to the storage, then they will upgrade a few more, and wait and see. The data management of this video footage is more guesswork than anything else, and can ultimately become a problem for the VSS infrastructure, causing breaks in recording or lost frames, which is unacceptable.
The ability to proactively manage the storage of the VSS infrastructure needs to be easier. Decisions made about the cameras, or the retention time of the data, need to be made by considering their impact on storage, and these decisions should be made with real-time insights to back it up. Adding a single higher-resolution camera should be immediately seen by the storage system, and its impact should be able to be compared to the existing cameras, to see what the overall combined consumption on storage will look like.
Seeing the Unseen
Video surveillance is all about seeing what can’t be seen – so why shouldn’t the storage system that supports video surveillance provide you with that type of insight? With Qumulo it now can! Through the use of Qumulo’s built-in, real-time analytics, Qumulo provides administrators with a window into the storage to see exactly how the VSS infrastructure is working.
With Qumulo, the impact of one new camera added to the VSS infrastructure can immediately be seen on the storage system, but that’s not the only thing that Qumulo helps with, we can also help answer questions such as:
- How do I know if I have a good balance of cameras being sent to the recording servers?
- What are my most active areas being monitored?
- Which areas should have higher resolution cameras?
From the Qumulo Throughput Dashboard below, we can see all the throughput related to one recording device and its associated camera feeds. With this level of knowledge we can now see exactly what cameras are recording at any given time and determine if those cameras are providing the security team with a good quality video feed. It also helps us to identify whether we should move some of these cameras from one recording server to another, to better balance the video writes across multiple servers.
Here’s another example of how this works. Motion capture cameras only record when the camera senses motion. By using Qumulo’s capacity trending analytics, administrators can now see the specific cameras that are recording the most footage on a daily basis.
Why is this important? Because for years, security teams have tried to identify the areas with the most need for surveillance and ensure that there are enough cameras monitoring those areas. Qumulo simplifies this by showing administrators which cameras are recording the most footage. With this knowledge in hand you can now make more intelligent decisions about the type of coverage that is needed, resolution on those cameras, or the need for more cameras in high-traffic areas. Through the insights provided by the file storage, organizations can determine if more cameras should be added to this area, more higher resolution cameras should be added, if the area would benefit from audio and video recording devices, etc.
Each hour in the Qumulo Capacity Trends show exactly where the growth is coming from. In a video surveillance system, each hour will show you which cameras are generating the most video footage, helping pinpoint exactly where in your coverage map you need to be focusing your attention. As seen below, each hour slice shows the capacity growth in a defined hour of the day.
Eyes Across All Aspects of the Video Surveillance Infrastructure
Powerful real-time analytics are built into Qumulo’s file system. They provide real, actionable data to enhance the administrator’s window into the video surveillance world they are watching, by providing a window into the storage.
Gone are the days of wasting time guessing what happens when the VSS infrastructure changes and hoping the storage can keep up. Qumulo’s analytics improve overall efficiencies, by giving you insight into the unseen impact of storage in video surveillance.
Click here for more information about Qumulo for video surveillance.
Keith is building highly successful teams that architect and build universal-scale storage systems for media & entertainment, life sciences, oil & gas, high performance computing and general purpose workloads.