Intransa vs Dell - Surveillance Storage

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Nov 15, 2011

Recently, an integrator member asked about using Intransa vs Dell for video surveillance storage. This note provides our feedback to the integrator based on my previous experience as an integrator specifying and deploying both product lines. We contrast based on time savings, operational differences, pricing, longevity risk and technical support.

Time Savings

Intransa's first claimed benefit is time savings for users, on multiple counts:

  • Software Preload: First is their "preload" of the user's choice of VMS system. This term is somewhat deceptive. What the preload actually consists of is a USB key with all required VMS software on it, up to current versions. When you boot the Intransa appliance and plug in the USB key, software is loaded. It doesn't skip the step of installing the VMS. However, it does remove the need for integrators to download (and subsequently keep up-to-date) VMS software. For some VMSs, it is quicker than installing all prerequisites, followed by the software. How much time this saves will vary by VMS. Integrators using VMSs requiring SQL or IIS will see more time savings than those using VMSs which do not.
  • Ordering Efficiency: The second point Intransa makes is that there is no quoting process which must be dealt with, such as with Dell e-quotes, for example. Since they have a limited number of models, it is likely simpler for integrators to know which ones fit their common applications, which may speed the design process.
  • Fast Shipping: Intransa has also tried to speed deployment by making a number of models available for fast shipping, which they refer to as "combos". These consists of commonly-ordered configurations, and are intended to be in stock at distributors or available in 1-2 days, instead of 1-2 weeks for built-to-order configurations and most COTS hardware.

Operational Advantages

Intransa provides multiple technologies with their Video Appliances which they claim are operational advantages. Their VDMR [link no longer available] (Video and Data Management and Retention) technology is a suite of tools for installation and management, intended to increase performance and simplify deployment. There are two technologies which they especially highlight as advantages:

  • VSOP, which stands for Video Surveillance Optimization, is intended to remove fragmentation from video streams written to disk, as well as reduce the amount of space required. Fragmentation is pointed to as a cause of video frame loss, which could lead to video not being available when required.
  • VSA Energy Manager is used to spin-down disks when they're not being written to or read from for a settable period of time. When the disk is required again, for instance to retrieve archived video, it's spun up again. Intransa claims this may save energy costs, since obviously a spun-down disk requires no power.

Our issue with these claims is that they sound great on paper. Who would not be alarmed that fragmentation may cause frame loss? What user would not want to save disk space or energy? However, the only testing we have seen, and likely the only testing which exists, was performed by Intransa. We have seen no third-party verification of these claims. We have also never heard complaints from users about frame loss due to fragmentation, and we would be curious as to how exactly VSOP reduces disk space requirements, and by how much.

How does pricing compare?

One concern users have shared with us about Intransa is that it is substantially more expensive than COTS hardware. This may indeed be the case for many users, but it's difficult to say how it will compare for everyone, since it depends on many factors. The size of the server required, amount of storage required, and discounts on COTS and Intransa hardware all would need to be considered.

Integrators who are part of the Dell Premier program, for example, will see Dell pricing as more competitive. Intransa pricing will also vary heavily based on the partner level of each integrator. However, in general, we would imagine integrators paying retail prices for major-name COTS hardware would see much less difference in pricing between Dell and Intransa.

Longevity Risk

Another concern with the non-COTS providers such as Intransa is their longevity. While HP and Dell have a long history, with little concern of the companies failing, Pivot3 and Intransa are relative newcomers, funded by venture capital. There's really no risk of Dell or HP 'going away' but there certainly is one for Pivot3 and Intransa. Factoring in potential support and replacement issues 3 or 4 years from now is often an important factor.

Tech Support

Intransa currently maintains a list of preloads for nearly 30 VMS, access control, and analytic providers. These companies have all been recognized through Intransa's Video Appliance Certified partner program. As such, Intransa's technical support staff must be prepared to provide pre-sales and post-sales support for their products when used with all of these platforms. With different VMS platforms supporting different amounts of cameras per server, based on architecture, it would seem challenging, at least, and impossible, at best, to be able to provide in-depth tech support for all of these. 

That being said, to our knowledge, neither Dell nor HP have any sort of design assistance or tech support specific to surveillance projects, and surely they do not have knowledge of nearly 30 different platforms. Intransa is likely a step up in this respect. All-in-all, however, integrators would be wise to confirm server requirements with the VMS manufacturer, instead of the hardware vendor.

Comments : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Converged vs Dedicated Networks For Surveillance Tutorial on Feb 12, 2020
Use the existing network or deploy a new one? This is a critical choice in designing video surveillance systems. Though 'convergence' was a big...
VSaaS 101 on Mar 25, 2020
Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) is the common industry term for cloud video. But what does it mean? How does it all work? Inside this...
Avigilon Open Analytics Tested on Apr 16, 2020
After years of effectively closed analytics, Avigilon decided in late 2018 to open up. Now, via ONVIF Profile T, Avigilon analytics are open and...
Use Access Control Logs To Constrain Coronavirus on Apr 09, 2020
Access control users have included capabilities that are not commonly used that can help zero-in and discover potential Coronavirus hotspots in a...
Genetec Presents Security Center for Airports on Apr 28, 2020
Genetec presented its Security Center for Airports at the April 2020 IPVM New Products show. Inside this report: A 30-minute video from...
Uniview Heat-Tracker Temperature Screening Series Examined on Apr 22, 2020
Uniview is marketing #UNVagainstCOVID19 with their Heat-Tracker series, including not only thermal camera screening systems, but options for face...
Surveillance Storage 101 on Mar 23, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals of video surveillance storage. Inside we cover: Surveillance Storage NVR / Recorder Storage Camera /...
Micron Presents 1TB MicroSD For VSaaS on May 08, 2020
Micron presented its 1TB MicroSD for VSaaS at the April 2020 IPVM New Products show. Inside this report: A 30-minute video from Micron...
Access Credential Form Factor Tutorial on Feb 10, 2020
Deciding which access control credential to use and distribute, including form factor, can be a difficult task. Knowing the limitations and...
New: Mobile Access Proxy Releases 'World's Smallest Mobile Reader' on Mar 04, 2020
Mobile access provider Proxy claims its new Nano is 'the world’s smallest mobile reader' that can be installed into nearly all existing access...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Camera Course Summer 2020 - Last Chance on Jul 15, 2020
Thursday, July 16th is your last chance to register for the Summer 2020 Camera Course. This is the only independent surveillance camera course,...
Bias In Facial Recognition Varies By Country, NIST Report Shows on Jul 15, 2020
While many argue that face recognition is inherently racist, results from one of the most extensive studies done on demographic bias in AI, the...
Video Surveillance 101 July Course - Last Chance on Jul 15, 2020
Friday, July 17th is your last chance to sign up for the July 2020 Video Surveillance 101 Course. This 2-day course is designed to help those new...
Brazil Assembly Powers Hikvision Local Expansion on Jul 15, 2020
Hikvision has grown considerably in Brazil ever since the 2017 opening of an assembly operation in a free-trade zone in the middle of the Brazilian...
50+ Security Industry Companies Take $40 Million PPP Funding on Jul 15, 2020
50+ security industry companies have taken more than $40 million in PPP funds, IPVM has confirmed from US government records. Inside this...
Uniview Deep Learning Camera Tested on Jul 14, 2020
Uniview's intrusion analytics have performed poorly in our shootouts. Now, they have released their Prime Series Deep Learning cameras, with an...
Drako's Companies (Brivo, Eagle Eye) Take $4+ Million in PPP Funds on Jul 14, 2020
While centimillionaire Dean Drako is the owner of two of the largest SaaS businesses in the security industry (Brivo and Eagle Eye), Drako's...
Defendry Presents AI Active Shooter Security System on Jul 14, 2020
Defendry presented its Active Shooter security system at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. A 30-minute video from Defendry including IPVM...
Ban Rules Released: Use Dahua or Hikvision, No US Government Contracts on Jul 13, 2020
The US government has released the rules implementing the "Prohibition on Contracting with Entities Using" Dahua, Hikvision, and Huawei based...
JCI Sues Genetec For Patent Infringement on Jul 13, 2020
Surprisingly, security giant JCI has sued their partner, security software developer Genetec, for patent infringement. Inside this note,...