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Limited storage options
Until recently, a handful of nonstorage vendors--Bosch, JVC Americas and Toshiba--dominated the video security market and offered complete solutions with embedded hard drives for storage. Cisco Systems Inc., through the acquisition of SyPixx Networks Inc. (2006) and BroadWare Technologies (2007), appears poised to enter the market.

"Cisco grabbed lots of mindshare, but nobody knows what products they are offering," says Bentley at Connexed Technologies. Adds Frost & Sullivan's Sarangan: "It looks like Cisco is planning to converge of lot of technologies, but it hasn't announced products yet."

The surveillance market would seem ideal for low-cost storage vendors, but that hasn't been the case. "This is a market for cheap iSCSI, but companies like LeftHand Networks and EqualLogic [recently acquired by Dell Inc.] are focused on the SMB [small- to medium-sized] market. NetApp [Network Appliance Inc.] is aiming more at the data center," says Taneja Group's Norall. Products optimized for those markets won't meet surveillance storage requirements.

"EMC, IBM and HP [Hewlett-Packard Co.] are exploring surveillance storage, but haven't done much yet," adds Sarangan.

At this point, only a few iSCSI array vendors are actively targeting surveillance storage: Infortrend Technology Inc., Intransa,

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Pivot3 and Nexsan Technologies Inc. "We were using DVRs, each with about 500GB of storage. Then we went with Intransa," says Derrick Wright, manufacturing security manager at Baxter Healthcare International in Cherry Hill, NJ, which uses approximately 120 cameras for security, workflow supervision, safety and quality control. The company took 8.2TB (11.25TB raw) of Intransa storage to replace 7TB of storage attached to its seven DVRs. It planned to add another 9TB before the end of 2007 and 11.25TB in the first quarter of 2008.

"The [video] information comes into the DVR and is written directly to Intransa," explains Wright. "The DVR is used to search and serve the video. Bypassing DVR storage improved performance." The company had to equip each DVR with a network interface card to connect with the Intransa system via iSCSI.


This was first published in January 2008

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