Exacq's Cloud Drive Storage Tested

By Sean Patton, Published Feb 04, 2019, 11:27am EST

Less than a year after acquiring cloud video company Smartvue, Exacq has launched its 'cloud drive storage' offering.

We see the VSaaS market expanding with many new competitors and incumbents such as Exacq adding new cloud services.

exacq cloud drive

How well does Exacq's Cloud Drive work? We tested it. Inside this report, we share our findings on:

  • Capabilities and Limitations
  • Cloud Streaming Performance
  • Client Interface Changes
  • Configuration
  • Pricing

*******

** *** ****, ***** Drive ****** ****, **** no ********** ******* ** buffering **** ******** ** uploading *****.

****** **** ***** *********, there ** *** * dedicated *** ****** *** viewing ********, ******* ******** ******** *** ******** *** ******-**-***** *******. Secure ****** ******** ******** a ****** ***** ** VPN ********** ** **** forwarding *** *** ** the ******** ***** *****, mobile ** *** *******.

*** ********** ** ***** Drive ** **** ****** be **** ******** *** extending *********, *.*. ** does *** ******* ******* video ******* *** ** days *** ****** ** cloud ******* *** ******* 60 ****. ** **** example, ** **** ** Cloud ***** ************ ***** be ********. ** ** offering ********* ***** ******* rather **** **** **** archiving.

************* ******** ******** * login, *********** ********* ********* and **** **** ** video ** ******* (****** only, **********, *****/*********). *******, there ** ** ******** or *********** **** *** video ** ***********. ***** text **** **** ****** information *** ** *** Exacq ************ ******.

Cloud ***** ******* ********

***** ** * *-****** video ***** ** **** the ******* ** ******** Cloud ***** *********, ********* and ******* ******** *****, and ******* ** *** details:

Secondary ********* - *** ****** ** *****

***** **** ***** ***** is *** ***** *** primary ****** ********* ************ and **** *** ******* direct-to-cloud *********.

***** ***** ** ******* through *** ********* ******* of *****, ***** ** a ********* **** ** video ******** ** *** primary ********. ** **** supports *.*** ***** *** supported ** ** **** video ****** *******.

************* ****** ******* ** version *.*.*.******, *** ** our *******, ** *** not **** ***** ** upgraded ** *.*.*.****** ** newer (******** */**/****).

Searching *** ***** *****

********* *** ***** ****** in ***** ***** ** no ********* **** ********* for ******* ****** ***** in *** ***** ******. However, ** ** *** indicated ** *** **** if ***** ***** ** locally ****** ***** ** being ******, ****** *** NVR ** ************/*******. **** the *** ** *******, the ****** ******** * short *** ** ******* indicated **** ***** ***** Archives *** ***** ********.

***** *** ** *********** difference ** *** ****** of **** * ***** search ***** **** ********* Cloud ***** ******** ** local **********.

New ****** *** ***** ******

***** ***** ** ****** to ****** *** ********* recorded ***** ****** ******* System *****, ********, ** Cloud ***** *******. ***** is ** ********** ** the ***** ******** ** the ****** ******* ** the ******** ***** ** from *** ***** ****** or ***** ********.

changing-video-search-preference

Basic *************/******* ********** ********

******* ** ***** ***** requires ***** *********** ******* in *** ******* ********, and *********** * ******** to ****** **** ***** is *********** ** ***** Drive. ** ********** ******** or ******* *** ********.

*** ********** ** ***** Drive ** *** **** of ******** *** *********** within *** ***** ****** if * ***** ** successfully ************ ** ***** Drive. * ***** "****** Status" ************ ******* ** the *** ** ********* to ***** ***** ********, but **** *** ******** any ******** ** ****** with ***** ********:

*******

*** ******* ** ********* and *******. ** ** sold ** * ****** subscription, ***** ** ******* amount ** **** * day ** ************ ******** 1 **** ***** ******. The **** ***** ** $15 *** *******. ***** is * ****** ******* part ****** (****-**-***). ***** Drive ** **** ********* for ************ *** ********** licensed ******* *** ** follows ******** ********* ** Exacq ********.

* ******* ****** ************ list ******:

  • ** ***** (**) ***** cameras ***** * ****, with * ***** ** daily ****** ******, *** 30 ****, ******** *** licenses ** $*,*** *** year.
  • ** ***** (**) ***** cameras ***** * **** continuously *** ** **** requires *** ******** ** $9,000 *** ****.

******* ***** ********* **** $30 *** ****** *** month *** ** **** of ******* (********** ** event-based), ********** ********* ********* Cloud ***** ***** **** $75 *** ****** *** month. ************, ***** ************* also ******* ******** ******* and ********, ****** ****** client ******, *** ******-**-***** playback. **** ***** *****, those *** *** ********.

Event/Alarm ****** *****

** * **** ******** offsite ***** ****** *** motion ****** **** ** 8 ***** ** ***** per ***, *** ~$** per ****** *** ***** cost ***** **** *****. However, **** ** * limited ****** ******* ** video ************ *** ** not ****** ** ** a ****** ** *** users ********* ***** **** cloud-first ***** ******* ** other *****-******** *****.

***** ***** **** ***** Cloud ***** ******** ********** recording ******, ** ** priced ** ** **** primarily *** ******** ***** (motion/event/bookmark/alarms) ******.

Documentation *** ******* ********* *******

** ******* ** ************* instructions *** ****** ** the***** ******* ********* ****. ************, ****** * call **** ***** ********* support, *** ***** *** unable ** *** ** the ************* *** ******** us ** *** ***** Cloud ************* *** ************* multiple *****, ***** ** not ******* ** ***** Drive.

Version ******

  • *********** *.*.*.******

Comments (15)

I am confused why they released this as is.

Certainly, it is positive that it works as designed but how it is designed and priced makes it have very limited applicability. I am curious if anyone particularly agrees or disagrees here.

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Maybe they thought they needed to get something on the VSaaS market as soon as possible to keep up with the rest of the industry?

It could be a "placeholder" that they'll improve on to match the others, but that strategy doesn't make them look good in the short term.

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John, Sean 

I do not understand why do you think the primary usage of cloud storage would be to extend the existing storage. It's just cheaper to have local storage instead.

I(personally) believe that the primary usage of cloud storage would be to securely save sensitive data on it. This is what I'm potentially willing to pay for as a customer.

While Exacq might choose to support it in the future(extending local storage), I totally agree, the first priority should be store just sensitive data. 

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I do not understand why do you think the primary usage of cloud storage would be to extend the existing storage. 

What? I do not understand why you think I think that. That's why I said I think what Exacq is doing here has 'very limited applicability'.

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So in your mind, no extension and such pricing => very limited applicability => IPVM does not understand the value of the offering.

I'm just trying to understand your thought process. So you think "extending" is so valuable in comparison with "securely save sensitive data" that it just does not worth offering the second one, while not having the first one?

Can you make a poll on what cloud storage is for? 

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So you think "extending" is so valuable in comparison with "securely save sensitive data" that it just does not worth offering the second one, while not having the first one?

I have no idea what you are saying or why you think I believe that.

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Assuming IPVM team have consolidated position, I was under the impression you believe so because:

quote: IPVM does not understand the value of the offering because Cloud Drive cannot be used strictly for extending retention


It was completed with your personal statement "I am confused why they released this as is". This was your first message in the thread. (you mention design and pricing model).


=========================

Regardless of the fact, I'm I right or wrong about you personally, I have a question to IPVM team:

1) which VMS offer cloud storage as an extension to the primary storage?

2) can you please make a poll about the expectation of what cloud storage is for?

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I changed 

IPVM does not understand the value of the offering

to:

One limitation of Cloud Drive

There's multiple issues here:

(1) Despite Exacq describing this as archiving, it is not tuly archiving, as we say above: "It is offering redundant video storage rather than long term archiving."

(2) Whether it was archiving or redundant video storage, either way, it is a niche feature.

Again, we never said anything like "you think the primary usage of cloud storage would be to extend the existing storage". The point above is that if you are offering something as an 'archiving' solution, you should not need to pay for what is currently stored locally.

So, as for your (1), again we are not endorsing 'extension to primary storage' as a useful feature. You have misunderstood that.

As for your (2) polls are poor ways to get clarity on complex subjects. You are free to start a discussion though.

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Thanks John. 

To clarify: Which issues in the design(aside of pricing model) do you refer in your first message? Is this just inconsistency between feature name and functional design or something else? Thanks. 

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on the high level: IMHO, exacq did a nice thing. However, the way I took IPVM reaction on it - is overall negative. I'm trying to understand what I'm I missing. 

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I’m the product manager for exacqVision and I want to add some comments to Sean’s review of our Cloud Drive storage service.  First of all, thank you Sean for the time you invested in evaluating our service.  I appreciate the detail IPVM puts into product reviews. 

-Encryption- The review states “Secure remote playback requires a manual setup of VPN connection or port forwarding and use of the standard Exacq thick, mobile or web clients.” I want to clarify that all communication to and from the cloud is entirely encrypted.  This includes video transmitted to the cloud from the NVR and video transmitted from the cloud to the client in the search page.   Video transmitted to the client from the NVR is not currently encrypted, but is planned for one of our 2019 releases.

-The value of the offering- As IPVM pointed out, Cloud Drive storage for exacqVision is not currently designed to extend primary storage.  While extension of local storage is a valid scenario, our goal in this first release was to help customers looking for specific off-site storage needs for important video.  The primary value of an off-site copy of video is to protect against disaster/theft and to provide greater accessibility.  Rather than aging off the oldest video to extend retention, an example of Cloud Drive usage is keeping the most recent day  of video in the cloud to provide insurance against theft/destruction of the NVR, or meet compliance needs.  In other scenarios moving important video off a bandwidth-constrained site to a central repository where others can access it is also desirable.   Overall this first release essentially follows the same usage and value proposition as our archiving feature, and as pointed out, the Cloud Drive configuration and use is integrated into those existing capabilities.

- Limited diagnostic feedback/documentation – As our Cloud Drive storage is not meant to be a standalone Cloud VMS offering at this time, there is no dedicated new user documentation and it has very limited diagnostic capabilities.  We do recognize better in-software diagnostic indicators are a useful enhancement and have plans to provide feedback on the status of cloud activity.  On the search page, however, we made an explicit design choice to not show lots of feedback on where the video is coming from.  From one perspective the operator should not have to think about where to search video and where the results were found.  For example, I don’t care which youtube server provided my search results.  Instead we opted to let the operator state a preference. If they are on the LAN with the NVR, they are likely to prefer pulling from the NVR.  If the operator is over the internet and the cloud is likely to have better bandwidth, they can set the preference to pull video from the cloud.   The search experience will still search and pull all the video and populate the timeline from all locations, but in cases where the video exists in both the cloud and the NVR, the client will adhere to the preference the user stated when the user presses the play button to begin full frame retrieval. 

- Pricing -  I agree that our pricing is more complex than the “typical” example given ($30 for 30 days, motion or continuous).  We decided to trade off some simplicity for greater flexibility to support cameras of various bitrate and motion percentage.   While it is true that at 2Mb/s for 30 days of continuous retention has list pricing is $900 yearly (List), if the motion percentage is 50% or lower, our pricing comes back in line or goes lower than the typical price.  And for greater flexibility, the cloud storage assigned to the NVR is not tied to specific cameras or how they are configured.  You can continue to adjust camera resolution/FPS/quality levels to adjust retention and share the cloud storage allotted to the NVR.   Our hope is that this pricing model gives integrators flexibility and lets them use similar NVR storage estimation processes they follow, however this is a new service and we will listen to feedback on our pricing and packaging.

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Ryan, 

Full disclosure: I work for VMS company, however maybe you can answer some questions: How do you decide to transcode or not transcode? What if Server ha limited resources? How big is you "to send" buffer to could be( in terms of time). So, if sever is stolen how much data can be lost and not be delivered to the cloud storage? 

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Sergey,

Trascoding - Rather than do the transcoding work on the NVR, multiple streams can be set up from the camera to exacqVision.  You can decide independently which stream will record locally and which would stream to the cloud.  The trade-off is efficient VMS operation that avoids transcoding resource considerations for a little more upfront configuration (and cameras that support multiple streams --which almost all do nowadays)

Sending buffer -  Currently the transmission to the cloud is continuous, so the user would not have the option to put video at risk from stolen NVR. 

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So could you set the archive to run daily and set the local retention period to 24hrs?  So everything is only in the cloud or on the server?

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You do have flexibility.  You can set the local disk retention low, say 1 day, and keep more retention in the cloud if desired. But as mentioned in the article, the settings don't allow to "age" off the video from local to cloud.  Ultimately the two storage repositories (local disk and cloud storage) are independently managed, so you can configure each to a specific need.

    

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