Increasingly, those involved with the creation of advanced security solutions are looking towards the virtualisation of video storage as a way to leverage existing investments without compromising on security performance and reliability. Pivot 3’s VSC offers a way to pull all the elements together.
As around-the-clock surveillance data is used increasingly for an ever wider range of tasks, so many specifying and designing higher end solutions are realising that adopting the storage principles from the IT sector might not be the most robust and resilient approach for security-based systems.
Virtualisation is nothing new in the IT world, but its hasn’t been as widely adopted in the surveillance sector. Effectively, dedicated servers tend to run a single operating system, and in many cases this leads to a number of machines, all of which are under-utilised. This not only pushes up the cost of hardware and resources, but also results in a situation where systems can become unnecessarily complex, requiring a higher level of support and servicing.
Virtualisation works by creating what is, in effect, a virtual machine (VM), but on a software level. VMs are best described as discrete software-defined ‘containers’, all of which are capable to running an independent operating system and application software. It is because they are isolated from each other and independent that numerous VMs can be created and run from one physical server.
During use, software – the hypervisor – allocated system resources to each of the VMs so they can operate as required.
Virtualisation of storage can also be performed. This allows the drives within a physical machine to be RAID configured to enhance the reliability of the storage options. However, the drives can also be mirrored across a number of nodes on the network, thereby eliminating any single point of failure.
A virtualised option
Pivot3 convergence software and appliances to allow the creation of what it claims are less complex and more cost-effective surveillance solutions. It offers what it refers to as ‘hyper-converged infrastructure solutions’, using patented vSTAC operating system software.
The vSTAC OS manages virtual servers, storage and networking, and each node is a virtual storage appliance. The software virtualises all of the physical storage across a cluster of nodes into a common pool of RAID protected storage.
The company has now added a Virtual Security Console (VSC), designed to allow users to deliver secure operating capabilities in any location.
The VSC is designed to deliver flexible and secure centralised video management capabilities, without the typical need for the deployment of numerous – and often costly – graphics-enabled PCs.
This approach permits the administration and operation of a video management system to be handled either on-site or remotely, and results in significant cost savings as it allows the use of existing PCs or thin clients for security monitoring purposes, according to the manufacturer.
The infrastructure enhances flexibility with regard to remote control and connectivity as it permits access to the video management systems through any web-enabled device, including mobile phones and tablets. The solution is scalable, and is thus designed to meet the demanding needs of users for whom secure viewing is a priority.
The virtual security console appliances can be used within a Pivot 3 system, or with other third party solutions. The software is designed to easily integrate with an existing vSTAC Watch array, but can also be deployed outside of such arrays or alongside competitive solutions.
The appliances are optimised to deliver enhanced viewing through hardware graphics acceleration using Teradici APEX cards for CPU offload and NVDIA GRID K1 cards for GPU offload. The Teradici APEX reduces CPU overheads by offloading the most active 100 virtual displays to ensure its capabilities are used where most needed.
NVIDIA GRID technology delivers the ability to offload graphics processing from the CPU to the GPU in virtualised environments, allowing users to achieve graphics-rich performance whilst eliminating the typical restrictions that such set-ups impose.
The manufacturer claims that end users who deploy advanced surveillance solutions are continually searching for better ways to centrally manage operations of systems, whilst ensuring that the IT-centric environment remains robust and resilient. The virtual security console reduces the need for additional hardware investments while increasing data security and enabling more remote and flexible operations.
The release of the console appliance follows a recent upgrade of the operating system. The vSTAC OS defines virtualises all physical storage – including SSD and hard drives – across an array into a common pool. It features a non-disruptive, fully integrated maintenance capabilities, enabling system operators to dynamically upgrade and manage appliances while maintaining virtual server and storage availability.
Virtual machines are allocated to other appliances within the array to ensure continued performance and flexibility. This approach is taken to further enhance data and video protection.