Veracity Coldstore Arcus

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Apr 24, 2013

What if Milestone's new VMS platform, Arcus, could target large scale applications? Not just the 4 or 8 camera deployments typical considered analog 'holdouts' but hundreds of camera deployment that are the historical heart of IP video applications. We are going to find out as Veracity has announced an embedded Arcus version of their Coldstore platform, designed to handle large camera counts. In this note, we look at the details of this appliance, how it compares to other Milestone options, and Arcus partners.

Overview

Milestone Arcus will be preinstalled on Veracity's Coldstore, with claimed throughput handling up to 320 Mb/s and storage capacity up to 60 TB. Assuming an average bitrate of ~3 Mb/s per camera, Coldstore Arcus should be capable of handling just over 100 cameras. Coldstore Arcus will coincide with the release of second generation Coldstore hardware with upgraded processor and memory, and a smaller 3U (instead of 4U) chassis. Readers may see our overview of Coldstore for more detailed information.

Coldstore Arcus is planned to ship in Q2/Q3 2013. Pricing for the base unit is planned to be the same as a standard Coldstore, ~$9,000, without drives. With drives, Arcus licenses are priced at $49.95 USD per channel, including a five-year software upgrade plan. This included SUP is a significant savings compared to buying XProtect support agreements separately, though it is unclear what software improvements there will be for Arcus moving forward.

Competitive Comparison

For a 100 camera system, users could save roughly $10,000+ using Coldstore Arcus compared to traditional VMS software plus server and storage. This is due to these significant structural advantages:

  • Lower license cost: Since Arcus has no base license cost and camera licenses are only $50, total cost is far lower than XProtect versions (Professional, $140 MSRP, through Corporate, $350) capable of handling 100+ cameras. 
  • No server cost: Using Arcus eliminates the need for recording servers, the exact number and cost of which will vary depending on total system throughput, though normally in the range of $3,000-6,000 each.
  • No SAN integration: Finally, Coldstore Arcus eliminates the need for a separate SAN, which adds cost and complexity when using COTS servers. 

However, there are significant disadvantages, as well:

  • No enterprise management: When using multiple Arcus recorders, each must be managed separately. Settings may not be viewed or changed on multiple boxes at a time. For high camera count systems, this may greatly increase management overhead.
  • No advanced features: Arcus lacks more advanced features such as third-party integration, multiple search methods, alarm management, and more, often found in enterprise VMSs used in large camera count systems. 
  • Multi-recorder viewing: Users wishing to view cameras from more than one Coldstore at a time must open a separate web browser instance for each. Milestone plans to add support for Arcus to Interconnect, allowing users to manage Coldstore Arcus cameras from Milestone XProtect Corporate (for an additional fee). Moreover, Veracity plans to add their own support for views with cameras from multiple recorders.

Versus Other Milestone NVRs

Compared to other Milestone NVR options, Coldstore Arcus is much higher capacity. Options such as the Milestone NVR, JVC Enterprise NVR, and Razberi ServerSwitch are typically limited to 24-32 cameras, with 2-4 hard drive bays, versus Coldstore's 100+ camera capacity and up to 60TB of storage. Note that these models run XProtect, however, instead of Arcus, though Razberi has announced an Arcus version, as well.

Milestone's first-announced Arcus partner, LenovoEMC, is targeted at small camera count projects (4-8 cameras, typically), with four drive bays the largest option.

Potential Impact

The real question of how much impact the Coldstore Arcus will have is how common low complexity/high capacity projects are. In many high camera count applications, such as casinos, city surveillance, multi-site corporate, etc., users often demand more complex requirements, with integration, enterprise management, multiple search options, and more. Without features such as these, users will be more likely to continue using COTS servers and Coldstore or other network storage, making Coldstore Arcus a niche product.

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