Data Storage

ISC West 24 Reveals Pain Points of Video Surveillance Retention and How LTO Data Tape with Cozaint’s Marcia is Part of the Solution

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By Rich Gadomski, Head of Tape Evangelism, FUJIFILM Data Storage Solutions

The International Security Conference held its annual west coast trade show in Las Vegas on April 10 -12. ISC West is the premier showcase for the latest innovations and solutions spanning a broad range of security technologies for security professionals, system integrators, manufacturers and consultants. This year’s expo featured some 700 exhibitors and more than 35,000 eager attendees who crowded the aisles and booths and created long lines everywhere. In a nutshell, the show was red-hot with lots of cool stuff to see and learn about.

No Shortage of Innovative Video Surveillance Solutions

ISC West is more than just video surveillance. One might be amazed by things like gunshot detection or anti-drone devices for example. But video surveillance (VS) is a big part of the show. Below are just some of the evolving VS capabilities and innovations:

AI-Powered Analytics: Advanced video surveillance systems are leveraging artificial intelligence for real-time video analytics, object recognition, and behavior analysis. These systems can automatically detect and alert for potential security threats, suspicious activities, or anomalies. One amazing, albeit sad example of “object recognition” is the capability of AI to recognize a firearm, say amid a crowded hall of high school students on lunch break.

High-Resolution Imaging: Surveillance cameras continue to morph in size, shape and capabilities with continued advancements in high-resolution imaging technologies, including data intensive 4K, 8K and even 12K resolution cameras. These increasingly affordable cameras provide clearer and more detailed video footage for enhanced surveillance and forensic analysis. VS cameras even come in “explosion proof” versions, meaning that their electronics are insulated so they can’t spark an explosion in highly flammable environments like oil and chemical refining for example.

360-Degree Cameras: Security pros are increasing adoption of 360-degree cameras and panoramic video surveillance solutions, which offer comprehensive coverage and eliminate blind spots in large areas or challenging environments.

Edge Computing: Surveillance cameras are a classic example of an “edge” device and integration of edge computing capabilities into video surveillance devices, enable on-device processing for faster response times, reduced bandwidth requirements, and improved overall system efficiency.

Integration with IoT and Smart Devices: Also becoming more commonplace now is the integration of video surveillance systems with Internet of Things (IoT) devices and smart sensors for enhanced environment awareness and proactive security measures. This could include integration with access control systems, environmental sensors, and other IoT devices to create a more comprehensive security ecosystem.

Cloud-Based Solutions: Not unlike the IT industry for certain applications, there is a growing adoption of cloud-based video surveillance platforms, offering scalability, remote accessibility, and easier management of surveillance footage across multiple locations. This is especially true for smaller operations before escalating volumes of content favor a hybrid of on-prem and cloud-based solutions.

Cybersecurity Features: No industry is immune from cyber criminals, so it was no surprise to see an increased focus on cybersecurity features and protocols to protect video surveillance systems from hacking, data breaches, and other cyber threats. This includes encryption, multi-factor authentication, regular software updates, and offsite/offline storage.

All the above innovation happening in VS applications sounds terrific and it got a lot of attention at the show. Associated vendors that I spoke to were downright giddy about it.

But as soon as I asked about storage, the mood suddenly changed to one of concern. How to cost effectively retain more and more VS content is becoming a bit of a nightmare. All of the advances with the VS cameras are great, however, it comes at a cost when recording all that high-res content. 360-degree cameras, IoT enabled systems, edge computing all require more and more storage.

The video analytics capabilities have historically acted on live video, and AI/ML is teaching everyone about “large datasets” to learn from. That means storing more video for longer periods of time to be able to run new analytics to create more business intelligence.

Keeping increasing volumes of VS content is simply not sustainable on defacto standard hard disk drive systems from a cost and energy perspective. Cloud offerings have already shifted from ‘cloud storage’ to ‘cloud managed’ because the overall cloud costs have become prohibitive too.

Relief is on the Way Via LTO and Cozaint

Fortunately, pain relief for video storage of surveillance content continues to be developed by Cozaint, a video surveillance expert and innovator. At ISC West, Cozaint CEO, Jay Bartlett debuted his company’s new Marcia™ software platform. Marcia dramatically reduces storage costs via integration of a tier 2 LTO data tape library. It’s really an active archive solution that makes video playback and review operator friendly compared to previous attempts to integrate LTO purely as an archive.

Marcia intelligently stores VS content across multiple storage tiers including HDD, LTO data tape libraries and even cloud if required. Marcia abstracts the backend storage hardware from the front-end video management software (VMS) solution allowing for seamless, fully integrated, and managed storage while allowing for easy video playback.

The Marcia LTO integration solution is compatible with popular VMS systems using Network Optix’s NxWitness, Digital Wathdog Spectrum IPVMS, Hanwha Wisenet Wave, Cook Security Piko VMS and Cozaint’s own BOBBY VMS.

The Cozaint solution is also compatible with major LTO automated data tape library systems from vendors such as Dell, HPE, IBM, Overland, Quantum, Qualstar and others.

Key Benefits of Cozaint Marcia with Integrated LTO Tape Tier

In the IT world outside of the security halls, LTO data tape is a tried-and-true solution for backup, active archive and deep archive applications. LTO is widely acknowledged as having the lowest TCO compared to any other storage solution including cloud and is the most eco-friendly form of storage as LTO tapes consume no energy unless being read or written to in an LTO tape drive.

But in the security industry, LTO tape has a very small footprint as a transition was made in the early 2000s from VHS tape to HDD systems and the feature rich LTO tape format was overlooked along the way.

Previous attempts to integrate LTO into a video surveillance infrastructure used traditional IT backup and archiving processes, which did not take into account how video surveillance operators playback and review video. Thus, those previous attempts were met with user experience issues that did not have positive outcomes.

Now, the industry has learned that LTO storage must be VMS-aware for users to accept and embrace the LTO advantages. With more VMS support becoming available, LTO will increase in user adoption, especially when all the favorable acquisition costs and operating costs are realized.

With a Marcia enabled LTO storage tier, users can benefit from a significant reduction in storage costs typically in the range of 50% compared to an all HDD system. Thanks to Marcia, playback and review of all recorded video footage from LTO tape libraries is virtually effortless without the latency of previous VS solutions. Very high capacity LTO tapes such as LTO-9 at 18 TB offer scalability for growth, feature the industry’s best reliability ratings and can be easily stored offline for cyber security purposes.

It’s Time for More, Not Less

In a society that sadly needs better security systems to protect life and property, widely deployed, high resolution VS systems are critical. But we need more, not less. We need better quality not worse quality. We need more long-term storage of VS content to support AI, not less.

Integrating a cost-effective, eco-friendly LTO tape-based storage tier is a very cool solution for a red-hot market need.

Check out more about Marcia and Cozaint at www.cozaint.com/marcia

Check out everything you need to know about LTO data tape here.

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Looking Back at Storage in 2023 and Predictions for 2024

Reading Time: 7 minutesStorage industry analysts are saying that 2023 will be remembered for its historic downturn in demand. This may be so, due to hyperscaler digestion of previous year’s capacity shipments. But a few things remain constant, such as the growth of data driven by the proliferation of new applications in the digital data sphere and things like data intensive AI/ML. You can also add in the steady expansion of IoT including video surveillance applications. Another constant is the increasing value of data that users want to keep more of and for longer periods of time. Users also want ready online access to that data giving rise to the popularity of cost-effective and energy-efficient active archive solutions. So here are my highlights for 2023 and really bold predictions for 2024!

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Leveraging LTO Tape Technology in Video Surveillance to Create an Active Archive

Reading Time: 4 minutesAs both an active archive and tape evangelist, I’m excited to share how LTO (Linear Tape-Open) tape technology can transform video surveillance storage into a powerful, affordable, and long-term active archive solution. While there is a desperate need for more storage to support the proliferation of video surveillance applications, many in the video surveillance industry view the concept of “archive” as a burdensome process. But when done right with easy-to-use LTO tape systems, it becomes a strategic advantage in the form of an active archive.

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The Benefits of a 2-Tier Video Storage Solution for Video Surveillance Infrastructures

Reading Time: 2 minutesVideo surveillance has become an essential tool in many industries, from law enforcement to retail, transportation, and critical infrastructure. The ability to capture and analyze video footage has enabled organizations to enhance their security, prevent crimes, optimize operations, and make data-driven decisions.

However, with the proliferation of high-definition cameras, the exponential growth of video data, and the increasing demand for longer retention periods, managing video surveillance storage has become a significant challenge for many IT and security departments.

Rather than storing all video data on expensive, energy-intensive, high-performance storage devices such as hard disk drives, organizations can leverage a 2-tiered approach that provides for the quick access of the most recent video and the availability of all recorded video no matter when it was originally stored. This approach can significantly reduce storage costs, optimize system performance, reduce carbon footprint, and simplify video data management.

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ISC West Expo Reveals Need for Sensible Long Term Video Surveillance Retention

Reading Time: 5 minutes  I attended the International Security Conference West (ISC West) in Las Vegas last week. The show was well attended with some 20,000 visitors packing the aisles and mobbing the booths of some 650 vendors. The show covers everything from video surveillance to computer and communications security, to physical plant security, loss prevention, and more.  

A few items struck me as a first-time visitor to the show, namely, entire booths dedicated to gunshot detection devices and others dedicated to things like drone detection. It’s a sad sign of the times when security professionals have to install gunshot detection devices to improve response time and mitigate deadly intrusions. In the case of drone detection, if you are being spied upon from above, no worries drone detection radar can now electronically jam unmanned aerial vehicles and can even deliver a kill shot as a last resort.   

The other item most relevant to me was the fact that this industry stores almost all of its video surveillance content on expensive, energy-intensive hard disk drives. That’s a problem in general, but even more so when security professionals are being besieged by any number of new budget-draining threats like gun-toting intruders and nefarious aerial snoopers.  

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Long-Awaited Annual IT Executive Summit Returns to San Diego!

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After a two year hiatus due to COVID, Fujifilm’s 12th Annual Global IT Executive Summit took place last week in beautiful, warm and sunny San Diego. This year’s Summit theme was “Optimizing storage in the post-Covid, zettabyte age” where organizations have to do more with fewer resources while the value, volumes and retention periods of data continue to increase unabated. It was so good to once again interact face-to-face with members of the storage industry family including around a hundred or so customers, vendors, industry analysts, and storage industry experts during the 3 day event.

About The Summit
For those not familiar with the Summit, it is an educational conference featuring presentations from industry experts, analysts, vendors and end users about the latest trends, best practices and future developments in data management and storage. A concluding speaker panel with Q & A and peer-to-peer networking opportunities throughout the agenda truly make the Summit a unique storage industry event.

Key End User and Vendor Presentations
Similar to past Summits (we last convened in San Francisco in October of 2019) we enjoyed presentations from key end users including AWS, CERN, Meta/Facebook and Microsoft Azure. These end users are on the leading edge of innovation and in many ways are pioneering a path forward in the effective management of vast volumes of data growing exponentially every year.

From the vendor community, we were treated to the latest updates and soon to be unveiled products and solutions from Cloudian, IBM, Quantum, Spectra Logic, Twist Bioscience (DNA data storage) and Western Digital (HDD). The tape vendors shined a light on the continuing innovations in tape solutions including improvements in ease-of-use and maintenance of automated tape libraries as reviewed by Quantum. New tape applications abound from object storage on tape in support of hybrid cloud strategies as explained by Cloudian and Spectra, to the advantages of sustainable tape storage presented by IBM. It’s not a question of if, but when organizations will need to seriously address carbon emissions related to storage devices. After all: “no planet, no need for storage” quipped one attendee. Also included in the tape application discussions were the massive cold data archiving operations as presented by CERN and the hyper scale cloud service providers.

Finally from the world of tape, was a chilling, harrowing tale of a real life ransomware attack experienced by Spectra Logic and how their own tape products contributed to the safe protection of their data with the simple principal of a tape air gap.

Need for Archival Storage
We also heard about the latest updates in the progress of DNA data storage from Twist Bioscience and where the world of HDD is going from Western Digital. We are now firmly in the zettabyte age with an expected 11 zettabytes of persistent data to be stored by 2025. Just one zettabyte would require 55 million 18TB HDDs or 55 million LTO-9 tapes. As an industry we are going to need a lot of archival storage! That includes future technologies like DNA, advanced HDDs, optical discs, and of course, highly advanced modern tape solutions. Tape will continue to deliver the lowest TCO, lowest energy consumption and excellent cybersecurity. All the while tape is supported by a roadmap with increasing cartridge capacities to meet market demand as it unfolds. Certainly, the cloud service providers will leverage all of these storage media at some point as they fine tune their SLAs and prices for serving hot data to cold archival data.

Fred Moore, Horison Information Strategies

Analysts Share Future Vision
From the analyst community, we were treated to a visionary storage industry outlook from Fred Moore, president of Horison Information Strategies who shared the fact that 80% of all data quickly becomes archival and is best maintained in the lower tiers of his famed storage pyramid as an active archive or cold archive. Following Fred was important data from Brad Johns Consulting that showed the 18X sustainability advantage of eco-friendly tape systems compared to energy intensive HDDs. While we need both technologies, and they are indeed complementary, a tremendous opportunity exists for the storage industry to reduce carbon emissions by simply moving cold, inactive data from HDD to tape systems.

Rounding out the analyst presentations was Philippe Nicolas of Coldago Research with some valuable insights into end user storage requirements and preferences in both the U.S. and Europe.

Innovation from an Industry Expert
From the realm of storage industry experts, we had a compelling talk from Jay Bartlett of Cozaint. With his expertise in the video surveillance market, Jay shared how the boom in video surveillance applications is becoming unsustainable from a retention of content perspective. It will become increasingly cost prohibitive to retain high definition video surveillance footage on defacto-standard HDD storage solutions. Jay revealed a breakthrough allowing for the seamless integration of tier 2 LTO tape with a cost savings benefit of 50%! No longer will we need to rely on grainy, compromised video evidence.

Final Thoughts
The Summit wrapped up with a speaker panel moderated by IT writer and analyst, Philippe Nicolas. One big take away from this session was that while innovation is happening, it will need to continue in the future if we are to effectively store the zettabytes to come. Innovation means investment in R&D and production of new solutions, perhaps even hybrid models of existing technologies. That investment can’t come from the vendors alone and the hyper scalers will need to have some skin in the game.

In conclusion, the Summit was long overdue. The storage eco-system is a family from end users to vendors, to analysts and experts. As a family we learn from each other and help each other. That’s what families do. Fujifilm was pleased to bring the family together from around the globe under one roof, for frank and open discussion that will help solve the challenges we and our society are facing.

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5 Big Predictions that will Impact Data Storage in 2022…and Beyond

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It seems like 2020 and 2021 have blended to combine into one long, tough time for all of us. Let’s hope 2022 emerges on the brighter side! In the meantime, here are 5 big predictions we see coming up in this New Year and beyond:

1. Increasing Focus on IT Energy Consumption

Severe weather was once again a hallmark of 2021, from the Texas deep freeze right up to the bitter end of 2021. As unusual tornadoes and wildfires reminded us of the negative impact of global warming and climate change.

According to a report from the United Nations released in August of 2021, irreversible damage has already been done to the environment as a result of greenhouse gas emissions. The world showed renewed interest in the COP 26 conference in Glasgow where countries from around the globe gathered to pledge their commitments to combat climate change.

Wall Street got in on the act too and will increasingly demand that companies disclose their sustainability initiatives and results. Accordingly, more and more companies will be appointing Chief Sustainability Officers who will put pressure on their organization’s energy usage including energy-intensive IT operations.  The use of renewables, but also energy conservation measures will be mandated.

Curbing CO2 emissions is quickly becoming a C-suite imperative and storage will not escape the scrutiny. Research shows that 81% of CIOs would consider alternative data storage options that are more cost-effective and sustainable. This will set the stage for new tape system deployments that not only can reduce TCO by more than 70%, but can reduce CO2 emissions by 95% compared to traditional HDD storage.

2. Return to Hybrid Cloud Strategies

Prior to COVID 19, the term “cloud repatriation” appeared often in the press as it turned out that cloud was not a panacea for everything. But COVID 19 understandably created short-term storage strategies often resulting in a flight to the cloud.

However, long-term thinking will favor hybrid cloud strategies where the best of public cloud plus on-prem private cloud provides maximum flexibility and value. This will especially apply to data accessibility, regulatory requirements, data governance, and cybercrime risks including ransomware.

Today’s modern automated tape solutions will provide the advantages of cost, scalability, reliability, and data protection to support the hybrid cloud model.

3. Storage Optimization Will Be Key to Data Growth Management

With the continuing digital transformation comes the zettabyte age of storage where data to be stored globally will approach 6.0 zettabytes (ZB) in 2022, according to a leading IT industry analyst.  Just one ZB would require 55 million 18.0 TB HDDs or 55 million 18.0 TB LTO-9 cartridges!

Storage optimization, that is to say, getting the right data, in the right place, at the right time, and at the right cost will be critical to maintaining competitive advantage.

Intelligent data management will be required, leveraging multiple tiers of storage, active archives, and innovative S3-compatible archive solutions for object storage.  Nowhere will this be more apparent than in digital preservation and high-performance computing environments with a simple need to offload expensive object storage to cost-effective tape systems using an S3-compatible API.

4. Continuing Rise of Ransomware

It has been said that ransomware is only in “its infancy” and it’s been said many more times, an attack is not a matter of “if” but “when.”  The FBI and CISA have weighed in with this advice:

“Backup your data, system images, and configurations, test your backups, and keep backups offline.”

As ransomware hackers mature in sophistication (and profits), online backups are increasingly being targeted to hamper recovery efforts, including cloud-based backups connected to a network. As a result, the value of affordable, removable, and highly-portable tape will only increase, providing true air gap protection (meaning offline, offsite backups in a secure location).

5. Video Surveillance Content Management

As we predicted last year, data tape has increasingly become a strategic option in managing the ballooning volume of video content associated with video surveillance applications.

Due to security reasons, regulatory compliance, or for future analytics, retention volumes and periods will only increase making legacy HDD solutions cost-prohibitive and unsustainable in terms of energy consumption. Look for increasing adoption of cost-effective tier 2 tape in video retention workflows in 2022.

Successfully emerging from the combined years of 2020 and 2021 will require getting back to strategic, long-term planning. Given the relentless growth of data, environmental concerns, and limited resources and budgets, today’s highly advanced tape storage will play an increasingly vital role in 2022 and beyond.


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Storage in the Age of Video Surveillance

Reading Time: 6 minutesBy Andrew Dodd, Guest Blogger, Worldwide Marketing Communications Manager
at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Storage

The presence of a ring of video surveillance cameras clinging to a vantage spot like a cluster of digital coconuts has long been a familiar sight in public spaces. And for many years, in both Hollywood and on television, countless storylines have turned on whether the detectives or investigators could access CCTV footage and solve the mystery by reviewing the tale of the tape.

But although the idea of cameras and surveillance has become an accepted feature of society (like it or not), what is less obvious perhaps is how much the market for video surveillance equipment is growing and how much the cameras themselves have changed. Both of these factors have profound implications for digital storage.

You had better be ready for your close up

First, the market. A 2020 report from IDC entitled “Worldwide Video Surveillance Camera Forecast, 2020-2025” (#US46230720) estimates that by 2025, the worldwide video surveillance camera market will grow to $44 billion, up from $23.6 billion in 2019, with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 13%. This is largely due to the increasing adoption of smart camera systems and analytical software that enables them to be utilized in a variety of roles — beyond simple surveillance. Another report, by research firm IHS Markit, predicts that by the end of 2021 alone, there will be 1 billion surveillance cameras installed globally, with over 50% of those in a single country: China.

The growth of 4K

In the past, video surveillance cameras have sometimes been criticised both for their ubiquity and their usefulness: critics pointed out that although the cameras seemed to be proliferating in many public spaces, their benefit was undermined by poor image quality and resolution. Not any more. The next-gen cameras that are driving the growth to 2025 will increasingly deliver HD and Ultra HD (4K) images of astonishing detail and clarity. In turn, this is opening up a wealth of new applications that can be managed by artificial intelligence systems: for example, monitoring industrial equipment, providing security, and (more controversially) real-time facial recognition.

Why are cameras being deployed?

Many of today’s larger organizations such as hospitals, airports, university campuses, and casinos find themselves needing a video surveillance system as either a replacement for an aging CCTV installation or as a brand-new installation. The ability to quickly and easily provide high-resolution video evidence of a security incident can be very relevant in narrowing down suspects in case of a crime. And the same video evidence can also limit the liability of an organization in case of a lawsuit. So there are clearly business benefits in upgrading to the latest surveillance technology.

The storage challenge

But if the number of cameras is increasing rapidly, and if the quality of the images they produce is becoming more refined and detailed, then all of this can only mean one thing: we’re going to need a lot more storage. Gone are the days when weeks of footage could be kept on a handful of old videotapes that could be wiped and reused at the end of the month. In the first instance, today’s surveillance cameras record primarily record to disk. And a single hour of RAW 4K video footage produced by just one unit consumes something in the region of 110GB of disk capacity. Multiply this by millions of hours, and hundreds of millions of cameras, and it’s clear that video surveillance applications will require colossal amounts of storage, not just for the primary purpose of storing the original footage, but also for backing up and archiving that material.

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New Video Surveillance TCO Tool Makes the Case for LTO Tape Tier in Video Surveillance Operations

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Recently my neighborhood had a rash of car break-ins by what turned out to be just a band of mischievous teenagers. But what struck me about this occurrence was the flood of homeowner video surveillance clips that appeared on social media and that were sent to the local police department to help identify the wrongdoers. It seems like everyone in the neighborhood has a home video surveillance system, perhaps to catch a doorstep package thief, or if nothing else, to catch the guilty dog walkers!

A Booming Market for Video Surveillance Solutions

Indeed, the video surveillance market is booming, not just in the relatively nascent consumer market, but in the commercial market and has been for a long time – in a much bigger way. The reasons for this include more affordable cameras with better resolutions soaring from 720p up to 4k and even 8k. In the meantime, video surveillance systems are finding more and more applications. Retail shopping malls, banks, hotels, city streets, transportation and highways, manufacturing and distribution operations, airport security, college dorm and campus security, corporate security, police body and dash cams, to name just a few – all need good quality video surveillance.

Video Retention Costs Soar

However, these higher resolution cameras have sent the costs of video retention soaring. So much high-resolution raw footage quickly fills up available hard disk drives commonly used to store or retain video surveillance content. According to a Seagate video surveillance calculator, an installation of 100 cameras recording eight hours a day at 30 frames per second, 1080p resolution, with a retention period of 90 days would require 2,006 terabytes of storage. That’s 2.0 petabytes of expensive, energy-intensive hardware. Those with unlimited budgets can simply add more disks. But everyone else faces tough choices: shorten retention periods? lower video resolution? reduce the number of cameras or frames per second? None of these support the goals of why the video surveillance system was installed in the first place.

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