Reusing Existing SAN for Surveillance

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Mar 18, 2012

Free Storage? Reusing an organization's existing Storage Area Network (SAN) for video surveillance can eliminate the need for buying a new storage system. However, many details impact this decision. In this note, we identify 8 vital attributes to consider when reusing an existing SAN.

Overview

Many corporations have existing SANs. These systems are often used to store emails, documents, accounting information and general company data. Just like SANs can connect to PCs, they can do so with many modern IP video surveillance systems.

Here are the 8 key factors that impact using the existing SAN for surveillance:

  • Size of the existing SAN
  • Expanding the SAN
  • Connecting to the SAN
  • Relationship with IT
  • Cost Allocation
  • Relative cost of existing SAN to new surveillance SAN
  • Relative performance of existing SAN to new surveillance SAN
  • Maintenance

Size of the existing SAN

Determine if the SAN can handle the significant increase in surveillance storage. For example, if a SAN is sized for 16 - 20 TB, surveillance storage may consume twice that volume for even mid sized systems. While corporate SANs are sized with some additional overhead capacity for growth, the additional volumes that video storage consumes could grow beyond that capacity and disqualify the existing SAN from consideration. Othwise, considering the cost of expansion versus buying new purpose built storage quickly becomes the critical decision.

Expanding the SAN

Beyond just adding hard drives, factors like expanding the disk array chassis, OS liscensing, management utilities, and utilities consumption all contribute cost to expanding existing SANs. Many SANs are designed to be scalable, and bringing in the current provider during this discussion will help to identify the critical points in growing the existing SAN to support video storage.

Connecting to the SAN

Since the SAN may not be directly attached to the video surveillance system, video may travel across the LAN. Congestion should be considered. Some existing networks are not built at gigabit speeds, and the bandwidth consumed by video storage on a network may prove significant. This could result in lost video or choppy playback.

Relationship with IT

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

The relationship with IT is key to successful implementation. If IT is responsible for physical security, than this is simple. However, if IT and Physical Security are not under the same management, their relationship needs to be carefully examined. Many times, these groups do not get along. This is a major issue cited in not reusing existing networks and can have the same effect for SANs.

IT departments must understand that substantial resources will be required for storing video. Data or entire drives may be pulled for evidentiary purposes for extended periods of time. Video Surveillance sharing SAN space means that Security and IT need to jointly agree on issues of allocating cost of maintenance, service, and pulling of evidence.

Cost Allocation

Another issue to address is allocating the cost of storage and maintenance of equipment. Often, SANs are considered to be a general utility, but the space and uptime requirements of security may require additional and distinct cost. If greater uptime and performance is required of Security SAN space, then consider the accounting difficulty of attributing the additional costs.  This problem is simplified when using purpose built surveillance SANs, because maintenance costs can be clearly attributed to specific hardware.

Performance of Existing to New Surveillance SAN

Existing implementations may not be configured to support heavy performance of video storage. A purpose built surveillance SAN may include performance monitoring and load balancing features not present with existing general SANs. Additionally, surveillance SANs often allow running VMS software on their appliances. This can eliminate the cost and need to have separate servers.

Maintenance

If the existing SAN is reused, determining who and how mainteance is performed is important. For instance, the SAN might go offline or the video surveillance system may not be able to access stored video on the SAN. When reusing, this can make troubleshooting and service more complex. Some users see this as a reason not to reuse as it can result in finger pointing and additional service complexity. As such, if the existing SAN is reused, clear policies should be put in place about how quickly and what people are allowed to service the storage system.

Conclusion

After all issues are considered and costs factored, reusing the existing SAN may not be the best option. Our poll results show that more than half of integrators have never done this. However, they also show that a distinct minority do this once in a while or sometimes. It certainly is not 'free' and organizational challenges can arise but it can be the right solution for some organizations.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

IACP 2018 Police Show Final Report on Oct 08, 2018
IPVM went to Orlando to cover the 2018 IACP conference, the country's largest police show (about as big as ASIS), examining the 700+...
AHJ / Authority Having Jurisdiction Tutorial on Sep 27, 2018
One of the most powerful yet often underappreciated characters in all of physical security is the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Often,...
IP Camera Cable Labeling Guide on Sep 14, 2018
Labeling cables can save a lot of money and headaches. While it is easy to overlook, taking time to label runs during installation significantly...
Dell Launches IoT for Surveillance on Sep 05, 2018
Historically, Dell has been a PC and server provider (e.g., "Dude, you're getting a Dell") and widely used for surveillance storage. However, in...
Drain Wire For Access Control Reader Tutorial on Sep 04, 2018
An easy-to-miss cabling specification plays a key role in access control, yet it is commonly ignored. The drain wire offers protection for readers...
Exit Devices For Access Control Tutorial on Aug 28, 2018
Exit Devices, also called 'Panic Bars' or 'Crash Bars' are required by safety codes the world over, and become integral parts of electronic access...
Inputs/Outputs For Video Surveillance Guide on Aug 24, 2018
While many cameras have Input/Output (I/O) ports, few are actually used and most designers do not even consider them. However, a good understanding...
Backup Power for Large Security Systems Tutorial on Aug 24, 2018
Choosing the right backup power system depends on system size. While small and medium systems greatly benefit from using UPS battery backup...
Synology Surveillance Station VMS Tested on Aug 22, 2018
With so many low-cost NVRs and enterprise VMSes, is there any place in the market for NAS-based VMSes? Recently, IPVM bought a Synology NAS for...
2Gig Gun Lock / Motion Detector Tested on Aug 17, 2018
Safer guns for families and an opportunity for security dealers to sell more services? That is the aim of Nortek's 2GIG 'Gun Motion Detector'...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Startup SafePass Profile on Oct 19, 2018
A major problem with visitor management is that the systems mostly require adhesive printed paper labels and paper logs, creating waste and an...
China Is Not A Security Megatrend, Says SIA on Oct 19, 2018
The US Security Industry Association has released its 10 "Security Megatrends" for 2019. SIA declares that these megatrends, such as "Advanced...
Hanwha Dual Imager Dome Camera Tested (PNM-7000VD) on Oct 18, 2018
Hanwha has introduced their first dual-imager model, the PNM-7000VD, a twin 1080p model featuring independently positionable sensors and a snap-in...
Camera Height / Blind Spot Added to IPVM Camera Calculator on Oct 18, 2018
IPVM has added camera height and blind spot estimation to the Camera Calculator. This is especially helpful for those who need to mount cameras up...
Axis Strong US Growth, Flat EMEA - Q3 2018 Financials on Oct 18, 2018
This spring, Axis had its best financials in many years (see Axis Strong Q2 2018 Results). However, over the summer, Axis had many products sold...
Best Alternatives to Banned Dahua and Hikvision on Oct 17, 2018
With the US government ban and a growing number of users banning Dahua and Hikvision, one key question is what to use for low cost? While Dahua and...
Video Quality / Compression Tutorial on Oct 17, 2018
While CODECs, like H.264, H.265, and MJPEG, get a lot of attention, a camera's 'quality' or compression setting has a big impact on overall...
Knightscope Winning Investors, Struggling With Growth on Oct 16, 2018
While Knightscope's new financials show the company only winning 11 new customers in the past 12 months, the company continues to win new...
Integrator Laptop Guide on Oct 16, 2018
This 18-page guide provides guidance and statistics about integrator laptop use. 150 integrators explained to IPVM in detail about their laptops,...
Huawei Admits AI "Bubble" on Oct 16, 2018
A fascinating article from the Chinese government's Global Times: Huawei’s AI ambition to reshape industries. While the Global Times talks about...

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