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Video Surveillance takes notice of LTO Tape

Every time I calculate power consumption for tape systems vs. disk systems, tape systems win. The reason for this is that tapes in slots take up no power at all; tape drives use very little power while they’re not doing anything, and you need far fewer tape drives than you need disk drives. You buy the disk system once; you power it all day long every day.

Video surveillance systems are everywhere and create an enormous number of digital video file assets. High definition (HD) and megapixel systems in particular are becoming more commonplace. New security systems employing the latest IP (internet protocol) camera technology have introduced video surveillance capabilities to an even broader marketplace, generating even more assets to store, protect, and retain.

The financial burden of digital storage on overall surveillance spend has increased exponentially over the past 10 years, while at the same time vastly increasing the usefulness of CCTV systems as investigative tools. As a result a number of new appliances have been introduced aimed at reducing the TCO of longer term video asset retention. These new appliances employ a multi-tiered storage approach, combining disk with LTO tape drives to support greater scalability, extended file retention, and reduced costs.

Today’s video storage challenges

Complying with regulations – every organisation must have a method in place for managing video content, regardless of the intent or purpose behind the surveillance camera. Legal policies in many US states and European countries require video surveillance data to be stored for extended periods of time, often up to two years or more.

Complexity – there are a multitude of different systems and media types, each designed for a single purpose and each unable to interchange with other systems. In order to process and store it, the data may need to be migrated from one solution to another. In addition to time and effort, this adds a level of complexity in keeping track of the footage, and importantly being able to find the footage when required.

Difficulty in scaling up to keep pace with data growth – growing amounts of video surveillance equipment, increasing definition and file size, and the need to retain data for longer, all add pressure to video surveillance storage capacities. Organisations may be forced to write over or purge data in order to free up storage, risking non-compliance with regulations.

Video surveillance asset management

Video surveillance asset management (vSAM) is gaining recognition as a way to bring “best practices” to the expanding storage market, supporting data growth while controlling costs. Multi-tier storage management and video retention policies automatically move your video to less expensive storage mediums such as LTO-6 tape which dramatically improve per-gigabyte storage costs and make it affordable to retain rather than overwrite video.

Managing video assets through the lifecycle means that users can take full advantage of megapixel cameras, 30 frames per second recording, high-quality bit rate video images, without resorting to expensive primary storage.

A number of appliances have been introduced that incorporate vSAM; instead of simply overwriting the previous day’s, week’s, or month’s captured video assets on primary storage or storing massive amounts of mostly low-value data, vSAM relocates video data, in its entirety, to an LTO tape.

Five reasons for LTO-6 in vSAM

1. Make the most of expensive primary storage – capture video in the highest quality and at the highest performance, and then migrate files to lower cost LTO tape with high speed streaming to free up the original media. There is no need to lose files by overwriting media.

2. Scale capacity without scaling budget – expand capacity and retention periods by purchasing only additional LTO tapes so that customers can “pay as they grow” by simply purchasing additional offline media as capacity expands. In contrast, the traditional hard disk only solution requires the purchase of additional disk-based storage units as well as the media. As soon as the unit is filled, customers must purchase an entire new disk system if they intend to expand their video retention, resulting in periodic outlay of substantial amounts of money.

3. Deliver long-term retention – LTO tape media is specified with a shelf-life of up to 30 years and can therefore dependably retain assets for compliance purposes.

4. Easily find files again when needed – indexing, thumbnails and low-resolution companion files enable fast location and play back for any videos of interest even when they are offline.

5. Every day savings – LTO-6 media costs about two cents per gigabyte based on current market prices, while enterprise class hard disk systems typically cost 20 cents per gigabyte. Additionally there are significant power and cooling cost savings. Unlike disk, video assets retained on LTO-6 tape are offline, only requiring power when a tape is mounted into a drive and the file retrieved.

LTO-6 Ultrium key benefits

• Outstanding quality and reliability.
• Increased capacity of 6.25 TB compressed, more than 290% greater than LTO-4.
• Ideal for customers with LTO-4 solutions, LTO-6 will transform the performance and footprint of their tape archiving and backup.
• Faster performance – support for 1.4 TB/hr backup performance.
• Compliance with FIPS 140-2 level 1 security standards.

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