DataDirect Networks Surveillance Storage Overview

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Nov 01, 2011

The question of how to handle large amounts of video data is key in the surveillance industry. Historically, integrators have stuck to general IT storage providers, such as EMC and Dell, though surveillance-focused products such as Intransa and Pivot3 have gained some traction. Best known in the IT industry for high-capacity, high-performance storage systems, DataDirect Networks is relatively unknown in surveillance. In this update, we will examine their line and see how it compares to the surveillance-focused lines, and when users would likely choose this line.

Product Overview

DDN essentially has three levels of product for surveillance, with feature sets and price tag both increasing as you scale up:

  • S2A6600: The low end of the DDN line, the S2A660 consists of a 60-drive 4RU enclosure which scales up to 120 drives in a second enclosure for a maximum of 360TB. DDN uses 3TB drives as standard today.
  • S2A9900: The S2A9900 is the mid-range of the DDN line, and scales up to 1,200 drives, a max raw capacity of 3600TB, or 3.6 Petabytes. The 9900 is also intended to be fault-tolerant. DDN reports it is capable of losing up to 20% of its drives without loss of performance. 
  • SFA10K: The 10K series is actually comprised of two models, the SFA10K-X and SFA10K-E. These two models are similar in capability to the S2A9900, with some additions. First, instead of being limited to 3.6PB, the SFA scales up to "dozens of PB", according to its specs. This is accomplished by aggregating multiple systems of 3.6PB each. Second, the SFA10K-E is capable of running VMS software on VMs, so no additional servers are needed.

All enclosures are capable of spinning down unused drives when they are not in use, for a claimed energy savings of up to 80%. Compared to the two commonly-cited surveillance storage providers, Pivot3 and Intransa, DDN is also much higher density. Both of these competitors provide only 12 drives in a 2U enclosure, or 24 drives in 4U, less than half the density of DDN's 60-drive enclosures.

xStreamScaler File System

One feature which the entire line shares in common is the ability to use DDN's proprietary xStreamScaler file system. xStreamScaler differs from NTFS (typically used in SANs) in a number of ways, which DDN claims results in the several performance and feature enhancements.

First, it allows for more efficient writing of files by using a variable write size. Where NTFS only writes in 4Kb increments, xStreamScaler can write in larger sizes. Upping writes to 512Kb is a 128x increase in write speed. This increase reportedly allows more cameras to write to a single storage unit without errors. We have not tested these performance gains, so we can make no claims as to their veracity.

Second, xStreamScaler allows for multiple media types and off-site storage to be used based on policy. It allows for a mixture of SATA, SAS, and solid state drives to be used, whereas SANs normally use only one type. Files may be moved by retention policy to different drive types, which allows files of a certain age to be saved to tape or stored off-site.

VMS Partners and Integration

DDN has a short list of VMS partners on their website, including DVTel, Genetec, and Milestone. These are the partners that DDN has been tested with. However, since the line can be run as standard SANs, any VMS should be capable of using it with the NTFS file system. Not every VMS is capable of utilizing their xStreamScaler file system, however. Software platforms which are only capable of writing to local drives, and not shared mount points can only use the DDN line in SAN mode, which leaves them unable to utilize the xStreamScaler file system and potential benefits.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

DDN Competitive Comparison

Pricing ranges from $800 to $1,000 per terabyte presuming a fully populated system, with price per TB decreasing as system size increases. A single-enclosure (60 drives) S2A6600 has an MSRP of about $180,000, or about $1,000/TB. Extending that system to the full 120-drive limit increases the MSRP to about $313,000, or about $870/TB. A 600-drive, 1.8PB SFA10K-E system has an MSRP of approximately $1,475,000, or a cost of about $820/TB.

Based on budget and capacity, systems requiring this amount of storage are uncommon. To require petabytes or even hundreds of terabytes of storage, the deployment would have a very large camera count, likely in the thousands, very long retention periods, or quite possibly both. The most likely candidates would be large municipal or critical infrastructure systems.

Compared to other products in the surveillance industry, DDN is obviously targeting the high end. Where companies such as Pivot3 and Intransa have traditionally offered smaller drive count enclosures, such as 4-, 8-, and 12-bay units, in capacities as small as 4TB, DDN's minimum entry point is a 60-drive enclosure with a capacity of 180TB. On the high capacity end of the spectrum, Pivot3's largest storage unit has a capacity of 288TB of raw storage, which falls in the range of DDN's 6600 model. Intransa has added the VA600st storage appliance which has a maximum capacity of 1.5PB, more in the range of DDN's high-end offerings.

Intransa and Pivot3 have also pushed embedding the VMS on the same platform as storage at even the low end. In order to take advantage of this feature, users need to go to DDN's top-tier platform, with a price tag normally over $1M. Users seeking integrated storage and server would likely find a better fit in more common lines, unless the system requires petabytes of storage.

1 report cite this report:

Dell EMC Surveillance Division Profile on Apr 20, 2017
With revenue growth from traditional IT customers slowing, Dell has set a focus on the security industry as a market where the company can offer...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Panasonic 4K Camera Tested (WV-S2570L) on Sep 13, 2019
Panasonic has released their latest generation 4K dome, the WV-S2570L, claiming "Extreme image quality allows evidence to be captured even under...
Genetec Stratocast VSaaS Tested on Sep 05, 2019
The VSaaS market is rapidly expanding in 2019, with Verkada, Meraki, Eagle Eye, Avigilon and numerous startups growing their market share. When we...
Scylla AI Video Analytics Company Profile on Aug 29, 2019
Scylla, an AI analytics startup, says they are targeting 1 Billion dollar valuation in 5 years and it "is not rocket science" to detect weapons and...
Uniview 4K Camera Tested on Aug 29, 2019
In our 8MP / 4K Fixed Lens Camera Shootout, Uniview's low end 8MP was firmly in the middle of the pack. Does their higher end Pro Series 4K camera...
UK Facewatch GDPR Compliance Questioned on Aug 27, 2019
Even as the GDPR strictly regulates biometrics, a UK company called Facewatch is selling anti-shoplifter facial recognition systems to hundreds of...
Warning: Windows 7 Update Crashing NVRs on Aug 26, 2019
Windows 7 updates are causing VMS servers to fail to boot. After running the update, impacted systems do not boot as normal, instead display this...
Anyvision Facial Recognition Tested on Aug 21, 2019
Anyvision is aiming for $1 billion in revenue by 2022, backed by $74 million in funding. But does their performance live up to the hype they have...
Dahua 4K Camera Shootout on Aug 20, 2019
Dahua's new Pro Series 4K N85CL5Z claims to "deliver superior images in all lighting and environmental conditions", but how does this compare to...
Proactive CCTV "Only Affordable Video Archiving Solution" Profile on Aug 12, 2019
Proactive CCTV is claiming to offer "the only affordable video archiving solution on the market", reducing the storage typically required for H.265...
Milestone "GDPR-ready" Certification Claim Critiqued on Aug 12, 2019
Milestone is touting that its latest XProtect VMS is "GDPR-ready" with a 'European Privacy Seal'. However, our investigation raises significant...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Schmode is Back, Aims To Turn Boulder AI Into Giant on Sep 16, 2019
One of the most influential and controversial executives in the past decade is back. Bryan Schmode ascended and drove the hypergrowth of Avigilon...
Manufacturers Unhappy With Weak ASIS GSX 2019 And 2020 Shift on Sep 16, 2019
Manufacturers were generally unhappy with ASIS GSX, both for weak 2019 booth traffic and a scheduling shift for the 2020 show, according to a new...
How Cobalt Robotics May Disrupt Security on Sep 13, 2019
While security robots have largely become a joke over the last few years, one organization, Cobalt Robotics, has raised $50+ million from top US...
Panasonic 4K Camera Tested (WV-S2570L) on Sep 13, 2019
Panasonic has released their latest generation 4K dome, the WV-S2570L, claiming "Extreme image quality allows evidence to be captured even under...
ASIS GSX 2019 Final Show Report on Sep 12, 2019
IPVM went to Chicago for ASIS GSX 2019, with many exhibitors disappointed about traffic and the exhibitor schedule changing next year. However,...
Installation Course - Last Chance - Register Now on Sep 12, 2019
Last Chance - Register Now - September 2019 Video Surveillance Install Course. Thursday, September 12th is your last chance to register for the...
Commend ID5 Intercom Tested on Sep 12, 2019
Commend touts the new ID5 intercom as 'timelessly elegant' and the slim body, glass front touchscreen indeed looks better than common, but ugly,...
US State Department: "Chinese Tech Giants" "Tools of the Chinese Communist Party" on Sep 12, 2019
The US State Department has called out "Chinese tech giants" for being "tools of the Chinese Communist Party" in a blunt new speech that makes...
Uniview OEM Directory on Sep 11, 2019
This directory lists 20+ companies that OEM products from Uniview, with a graphic and links to company websites below. It does not cover all...
Yi Home Camera 3 AI Analytics Tested on Sep 10, 2019
Yi Technology is claiming "new AI features" in its $50 Home Camera 3 "eliminates 'false positives' caused by flying insects, small pets, or light...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact