Genetec As a VSaaS?

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Apr 30, 2012

For all of the hype surrounding VSaaS, adoption remains sluggish. This is especially true among larger customers with more stringent demands, who have been hesitant to move their video to the public cloud. Capitalizing on this, Genetec has begun to position themselves as an alternative to VSaaS, allowing users to set up their own "cloud", without the potential risks involved in other solutions. In this note, we overview this approach, how it impacts their target customers, and how it compares to other VMS turned VSaaS offerings.

[Update: Genetec has now announced a 'true' VSaaS offering.]

Genetec As Private Cloud

By using Genetec's Trickling features, users may install cameras with on-board storage in remote or multi-site applications, eliminating the server typically needed at each site. This effectively functions as a "private cloud", with the Security Center directory serving as the central server. Central archivers become optional, as video may be left on the camera indefinitely. Optionally, organizations who wish to may move video to a central location, manually or on a schedule.

For more information, users may see an article from Genetec, detailing how they position Security Center's feature set fits into VSaaS.

Genetec's Target Markets

Genetec's core users, typically larger enterprise and multi-site organizations, are hesitant to trust their video on the public cloud. This makes the Security Center private cloud option potentially more appealing. Since servers may be managed in-house, with VPNs between sites, video traffic is not exposed to the same threats users may see when using public clouds. This mitigates or removes some of the largest objections to VSaaS by these larger organizations.

Setting up a private cloud may also be more cost-effective in the longterm. Though initial capital costs will be higher, as a server and licensing must be purchased, given typical VSaaS pricing of $10-20/month or more, camera licenses may be less expensive than ongoing VSaaS charges.

Competitive Options

Despite these advantages, Security Center is likely more complex to deploy, maintain, and operate than typical VSaaS options. These services typically require less routing and network configuration, with many cameras "phoning home" to the cloud. Axis AVHS-based services accomplish this via Axis One-Click Camera Connection, which connects cameras to cloud servers though a dispatch service, eliminating the need to set up routing and VPNs, intending to make the installation plug 'n play. Further, cloud-based services apply patches and upgrades in the background, requiring no input from users.

To date, Milestone and Salient Systems are the most notable VMS providers positioning themselves as VSaaS, both supporting Axis One-Click Camera Connection. Milestone has just begun to make moves in this direction, adding Axis One-Click Camera Connection to XProtect Corporate. Salient's CompleteView also supports One-Click, positioning it as a VSaaS for some time.

While Genetec's "VSaaS" may not fit the common conception of plug n play remote access of typically small users, the use of edge recording (another big trend) provides an alternative architecture to deliver some of VSaaS's benefits without a number of its risks.

What's Next

Genetec says that their "Private Cloud offering is a prelude to their public cloud offering as they've already successfully deployed private cloud scenarios for over a year." When released, it will be interesting to see their implementation.

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