Page 14 - Security Today, January/February 2021
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“Why have we sacrificed so much in terms of video quality, frame rates and motion-only recordings to keep our storage requirements from ballooning?”
the lowest possible costs (especially operational costs). The M&E industry has learned how to use multiple tiers of storage to better manage their recorded video.
Just like in the video surveillance industry, video is not frequently reused or viewed after initial recording. And just like the video sur- veillance market, this rapid expansion of video assets is a relatively recent change and these newer solutions are now maturing. What existing digital storage technologies are trustworthy enough to store our video assets and ensure they will be there when we need them?
LTO storage has been available since 2000, and has become a de facto standard in computer data tape storage. It is widely used in the Hollywood marketplace. The challenge for many in the video surveillance/security marketplace is that when they see the word “tape” they hear “VHS.” Although tape is indeed a four- letter word, it is not your grandfather’s tape deck.
Around the time of the release of LTO-1, Seagate’s magnetic tape division was spun off, and eventually acquired by Quantum. Today, IBM, HP, Quantum, Spectra Logic, Oracle, along with a number of others manufacture LTO data tape libraries with IBM manufactur- ing the LTO drives. The current shipping generation, LTO-9, deliv- ers 18-Terabyte storage cartridges. LTO-8 is plentiful at 12-terabytes raw capacity with a street price of about $99 per cartridge.
Adoption of LTO is already firmly established in the Holly- wood media production environment. One of the driving forces behind this adoption is a mandate for many feature motion picture productions by insurance companies that content (video) captured on set or on location be archived to LTO tape on a daily basis.
LTO meets the dual needs of the studios and the insurance bonding companies. The bonding companies feel safer and more at ease with digital because the content is archived on LTO, the same tape-based platform that banks use.
LTO is rated at up to 30 years archival shelf life. It provides for 5,000 cartridge loads/unloads and it allows for approximately 260 full file passes (with one full pass equal to writing enough data to fill an entire tape cartridge). With the sequential data struc- ture format of video, LTO data tape becomes an ideal storage medium.
An appropriate surveillance video workflow however must be put into place to properly utilize LTO as a video surveillance stor- age medium. Just like in the Hollywood market, there needs to be a way to reference the original video stored on LTO data tape without any prolonged delays. Just like Hollywood’s video edi- tors, video surveillance operators cannot afford to wait to search and playback recorded video.
ment software provide the ability for the operator to move about the recorded video “timeline” without concern for where the vid- eo is ultimately stored. Surveillance operators need the ability to view any and all recorded video to find the proverbial needle in the ever-growing video storage haystack.
As in almost every video surveillance investigation, there is a fair level of forward or backward “scrubbing” to actually find the video of interest we are looking to review. This is another reason the sur- veillance operator must have the ability, without any extra steps or intervention from the “I.T.” staff to access the needed video.
Then, just like a Hollywood editor, a surveillance video opera- tor can select the snippet of video needed to deliver to HR/Police/ Court/ by directing the system to the specific original, untouched – unaltered, recorded video located on a specific LTO cartridge.
This taking but a few minutes of transfer time to complete. This best-practices approach to multi-tiered video storage also delivers appropriate “chain-of-custody” needed to submit the video as evidence in a court of law.
However, it’s the speed that surveillance video operators will care about most with the ability to quickly find the video they are interested in.
From a cost standpoint, this becomes a superior infrastructure. Compare the acquisition costs of terabytes and petabytes of spin- ning NAS and SAN and then the cost of an appropriate LTO data tape library, complete with robotics. Understand that this is not an either-or proposition. The ideal video surveillance storage infra- structure will have a necessary amount of hard-disk based storage aligned with a second-tier of LTO storage for long-term retention.
The LTO implementation is significantly less expensive. Add- ing in the three- to four-year lifespan of spinning disks compared to the 30-year longevity of LTO incurs another maintenance cost. Now, throw in the ongoing monthly operational costs of electricity for all that spinning disk and the cooling costs to keep those SAN/ NAS units spinning. 24/7. Year ‘round. Those costs add up quickly.
Implementing a sound multi-tiered video storage infrastruc- ture with spinning disk and LTO storing unaltered, original video allows for more video to be stored for much less. How do we cre- ate a disk-and-LTO infrastructure to provide us what we need in video storage, without breaking the bank?
When contemplating a 21st century surveillance video manage- ment solution, we realize that a spinning disk-only approach har- kens us back to pre-Columbus days. There are better ways to reach our destination. We all want to store as much video as we can. We want to record at the highest resolutions. We want to record with the highest frame rates. And we want it as affordable as possible. So why not learn from our colleagues in the Hollywood market?
Embracing the sequential data structure format of video along with the sequential recoding method of LTO tape delivers an ideal storage solution. And done properly the imple-
mentation of LTO multi-tiered storage surveil-
lance video recording is actually the perfect “killer
app” for using LTO storage in video surveillance.
Thanks Hollywood.
Jay Jason Bartlett is CEO of Cozaint Corp. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 | SECURITY TODAY
It is extremely important that the video surveillance manage-

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