Hi Folks –
In this post, I’m examining how Broadberry (a Windows Storage Server partner) is working with Mirasys—a video surveillance solution provider—to leverage Windows Storage Server 2012 as the storage component of a complete video surveillance solution. This is a great workload for Windows Storage Server because it plays to several of its strengths, including its ease of deployment, ease of management, and cost-effectiveness when it comes to high-capacity, enterprise-class storage.
I recently blogged about Broadberry, which has been selling Windows Storage Server solutions for as long as I can recall. Broadberry is reaching the video surveillance market by partnering with video surveillance solution providers, who package Windows Storage Server 2012 running on Broadberry servers together with cameras, video management software, and other components of a complete video surveillance solution.
Mirasys, a leading provider of video management solutions for IP and analog camera surveillance, is one such Broadberry partner. Mirasys Carbon Video Management System (VMS), the company’s flagship offering, is capable of supporting thousands of video recorders and hundreds of thousands of cameras. Components of a Mirasys Carbon solution often include:
- Mirasys NVR Enterprise, the company’s video recording software
- Mirasys functional plug-ins such as Carbon Video Content Analytics, Carbon ANPR, and Carbon Reporting
- Mirasys XCEED—a line of custom-built video storage appliances that support Windows Storage Server 2012
A Typical Deployment
When a new hotel came to Mirasys for a future-proof, large-scale video management solution, Mirasys turned to Broadberry for the required application servers and storage servers. From a storage sizing perspective, the solution had to support more than five hundred high-resolution video cameras, with all video retained and readily accessible for 90 days—resulting in a required 500+ TB of total storage capacity. While I’m not privy to exactly how this number was calculated, the major variables typically involved in sizing storage for video include: number of cameras, camera resolution, video compression (e.g. H.264), video frame rate, and data retention period. You can find a number of online sizing calculators with a simple web search.
The following diagram illustrates the high-level architecture of the deployment, with detailed specs on each tier of the solution provided below.
Cameras. Surveillance cameras installed at the hotel include approximately 530 high-resolution (720p and 1080p) IP POE (Power over Ethernet) cameras running at 15 frames per second. The cameras encode the video as H.264 (also known as H.264/MPEG-4 AVC) and use Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) to send the video streams directly to the storage servers via 1Gb Ethernet.
Storage (recording) servers. The storage (recording) tier consists of six Broadberry CyberStore 436-WSS servers running Windows Storage Server 2012 Standard. Each server is configured with one Intel Xeon E5-2620 processor, 16 GB RAM, an LSI MegaRAID 9260 RAID controller, two 10Gb Ethernet ports, and 36x 3.5” 3TB SATA drives. Of those drives, 32 are configured as RAID-6 for video storage, two are hot spares, and two are reserved for other data. The operating system resides on an additional two 2.5” 500 GB hot-swap drives that are connected to the motherboard’s RAID controller in a mirrored (RAID-1) configuration.
Application servers. The application tier consists of 12 Broadberry CyberServe XE3-203S servers running Windows Server 2012 Standard, Mirasys NVR Enterprise, Mirasys Carbon Master Server, and Mirasys Carbon ANPR for parking management. The Mirasys software retrieves stored video from the storage servers and uses it to process video surveillance workloads such as license plate recognition, movement recognition, and so on.
Each application server is configured with one Intel Xeon E3-1270 v2 processor, 16 GB RAM, and two 1 TB SATA drives in a RAID-1 configuration. Two Hyper-V VMs run on each server, with the second VM ready to take over processing should a problem occur with the first VM. An additional two similarly configured “hot spare” servers monitor the health of the 12 primary servers and stand ready to take over if one of them fails.
Easily Deployed, Easily Managed, and Cost-Effective Video Storage
As the above example illustrates, there are many moving parts in a comprehensive video surveillance solution, which is why most companies turn to experts such as Mirasys to get it right. By using Windows Storage Server 2012 for video storage in these solutions, Mirasys is streamlining deployment and delivering a solution that customers can administer without a PhD in storage management. Best of all, when looking at a deployment that’s going to require hundreds of terabytes of storage, the cost-effectiveness of Windows Storage Server 2012 running on industry-standard Broadberry servers is hard to beat!
Founded in 1997, privately-owned Mirasys is a leading provider of video management solutions that help organizations manage and utilize information captured by digital video and CCTV cameras. The company’s solutions are used for loss prevention, perimeter protection, building management, and enhancement of operational efficiency by more than 40,000 customers in more than 40 countries, collectively supporting nearly one million cameras. Mirasys is a Microsoft Gold-certified Partner and is based in Helsinki, Finland.
Founded in 1989, Broadberry Data Systems is one of the success stories of the independent IT hardware sector. The company has grown organically since inception, providing state of the art technology products backed up with superb service at both the pre-sales and post sales stages. Broadberry offers Windows Storage Server 2012 across its entire WSS line of storage appliances. Each system from Broadberry is custom-configured and built-to-order, enabling customers to get exactly what they want in reliable, cost-effective storage.
Since this article introduces some video-centric terminology with which people may not be familiar, I’ve provided some common terms, brief definitions, and links to more information here:
- H.264, which is sometimes called MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding), is a video compression standard and a common means of capturing high-definition video.
- PoE, or Power-over-Ethernet, is a means of providing data connectivity and power to devices such as video cameras over standard Ethernet cabling.
- RTSP, or Real-Time Streaming Protocol, is used to establish and control streaming media sessions between endpoints.
- NVR, or Network Video Recorder, is the component of an IP video surveillance system that records video in a digital format. (May also referred to as video storage, CCTV storage, IP storage, NVR storage, or IP storage server.)
Scott M. Johnson
Senior Program Manager
Windows Storage Server