Intransa's Storage Optimization (VSOP) Examined

Author: John Honovich, Published on Nov 16, 2010

As Intransa has evolved from storage only to NVR appliances, a key question raised is the incremental value of using Intransa's appliances over COTS PCs/Servers. Intransa claims that their appliances provide greater performance and scalability than COTS hardware.

Intransa points to its VSOP (Video Surveillance OPtimization) as the differentiating technology. Intransa says that with VSOP, "not only can more cameras be supported on a given system, but also consistent video quality can be maintained over many retention cycles." They do this by, "improv[ing] write performance at the storage layer by converting incoming (mostly Random) Writes to Sequential writes." Intransa has filed a Patent Application for this technology named, "Method for Achieving Sequential I/O performance from a random workload."

In a VSOP whitepaper, Intransa focused on benefits of reducing latency especially over time as the files are written over. The image below is Intransa's results with COTS hardware:

The following image is Intrana's reported results using their own appliances:

We asked Intransa to quantify the projected benefits. They claim that with a "with a standard IT-grade, 4-disk RAID5 enabled storage configuration" roughly double the amount of cameras can be supported by Intransa. The specific number of cameras depends on the Intransa appliance used (Intransa has many models) and the CODEC/video quality settings.

Intransa supports and runs a variety of VMS and security systems on their appliances. While they noted that storage performance does vary by VMS, they "lessen the performance difference with VSOP." They also noted that I/0 performance tends to be better on Windows 7 over Vista and Server 2008 over 2003.

Intransa publishes specific camera load guidelines in their product matrices (see page 2 of their embedded storage appliances document). Capacity ranges from 12 H.264 SD cameras on their lowest offering (Intel Core 2 Quad, 4 GBs RAM) to 84 H.264 SD cameras on the highest end offering (quad core Xeons, 6-24 GBs of RAM) of their embedded storage line.

Storage capacity advantages are one of the most difficult claims to verify. As they not only depend on many variables (streaming settings, VMS used, hardware components) but also generating high load. Given that, we are skeptical of backing any vendor's claims. This is an aspect of performance we are considering future testing.

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