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Profile: Distributed Video Data Storage in Local Police Stations

Origins and survey of Safe City

Safe City leverages science and technology to help law enforcement work smarter. As part of these worldwide rollouts, the 3111 Pilot Project in China builds alarming and monitoring systems into the Safe City initiative. This project was first carried out in four pilot cites and then, after the success of the first phase, was further promoted to 22 provinces. With the expansion of the Safe City Project, video surveillance systems have been deployed nationwide, and become a critical part of the project.

The wide application of video surveillance systems has significantly strengthened the power of criminal investigations, however, the huge number of cameras installed for the project generate copious amounts of data every day, adding huge pressure to the centralized storage of data. Therefore, most surveillance data is stored locally in different police stations, causing information silos.

Mainstream storage technologies and requirements in video surveillance

With the continued rollout of the Safe City Project, video surveillance technologies are called on to provide more digital, network-based, HD, and intelligent capabilities. Along with the trend, surveillance images are transitioning from simulated and SD to HD video, and relevant storage devices are changed from VCRs, DVRs, and NVRs to the current SANs.

With the move to HD and just about everything becoming network-based and intelligence-capable, the storage systems in the Safe City Project that are used to store vast amounts of unstructured surveillance data are now put under ever-growing pressure.

Robust reliability: The storage system is the key component of the video surveillance system and thus must incorporate such mechanisms as redundant backup, parts protection, and data recovery to provide powerful reliability assurances.

Superior performance: Video surveillance streams are transcoded by front-end cameras and then aggregated in the storage system, so the storage system must deliver equally high write performance as that of the network aggregation points. At the same time, video surveillance data must be quickly retrieved, so the storage system must offer superb read performance as well.

Compelling cost efficiency: Although the HD technology makes image displays more vivid and lifelike, it magnifies the pressure on storage, network processing, and decoding. With the increased workload, the need to reduce storage costs of every terabyte of data becomes all the more important.

Ease of operation and maintenance: Video surveillance systems being deployed in Safe City at present usually include at thousands of surveillance cameras, and such a large-scale system requires a user-friendly GUI to make the operation and maintenance of core devices simple.

Mature IP SAN technology offers a viable solution to cope with the demanding storage requirements on capacity, reliability, and performance. IP SAN adopts the Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) protocol, an IP-based storage network standard for linking data storage facilities. By carrying SCSI commands over IP networks, iSCSI is used to facilitate data transfers over intranets and to manage storage over long distances. iSCSI can be used to transmit data over local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), or the Internet and can enable location-independent data storage and retrieval. An IP SAN inherits the advantages of IP networks in remote replication and disaster recovery, and can span long distances using existing network infrastructures, making it the most suitable network structure for the Safe City Project.

Figure 1 Huawei converged storage solution

Huawei converged storage solution

Committed to providing secure, efficient, economical, and future-proof storage approaches for video surveillance services, Huawei released a top-notch video surveillance storage solution featuring excellent capabilities in reliability, convergence, and expansion to answer the dilemmas in the move to HD and Big Data.

Robust efficiency and reliability

  • Delivers 2000-lane 1080P concurrent reads and writes (1600-lane reads and 400-lane writes, reaching a read/write ratio of 4:1), addressing the demanding concurrent read/write performance required by intelligent video surveillance.
  • Mitigates impacts on service provisioning from faults on one controller with its ability to have two controllers work in tandem.
  • Adopts a clustering model for both services and storage systems, achieving zero interruption of services.
  • Introduces RAID 2.0+ into the rapid restore technology for video, achieving 20-fold improvement in the data reconstruction time and minimizing risk of RAID degradation.
  • Employs image repair technology to increase data recovery efficiency by 90% or more, ensuring data security.
  • Provides disaster recovery for key video assets and can be configured to keep multiple duplicates (N+1; N+2, N+3, N+4) for important surveillance data, minimizing loss of critical data.

Converged architecture

  • Convergence of protocols and networks: The array controllers and file engines are developed based on the same hardware platform, and the supported network types include IP SAN, FC SAN, and NAS with support for iSCSI, FC, NFS, CIFS, HTTP, and FTP network protocols. Huawei video surveillance storage solution is specifically designed for video surveillance scenarios and is applicable to IP SAN environments, delivering the needed storage capabilities for video surveillance services. 

Figure 2 Convergence of protocols and networks

  • Integrated management: Huawei provides an Integrated Storage Manager (ISM) to centrally manage devices and resources while monitoring performance and status.

Figure 3 Integrated management

Elastic expansion

  • Completely addresses service needs in SD, HD, and intelligent analysis, achieving smooth service evolution.
  • Fully enables elasticity in system upgrades, seamless capacity expansion, and non-disruptive addition of surveillance points.
  • Dynamically relocates data on SAS, NL-SAS, SATA, and SSD disks according to the security level and level of importance ascribed to the data, meeting the needs in data protection while reducing maintenance costs.
  • Specifically designed to meet the enterprise-class disk requirements in video surveillance services, providing 24/7 reliability assurances for video stream recording and analysis while lowering total cost of ownership (TCO) by 20% and more.
  • Dynamically expands RAID groups with a proprietary function that allows customers to add new disks to an existing RAID group (without interrupting ongoing services) and increase the physical capacity of the RAID group without changing its RAID and LUN configurations. 
  • Dramatically improves disk utilization rates, frees up unused physical space, maintains disks at optimal read/write levels, and prolongs disk service life thanks to the disk defragment function that consolidates scattered fragments into contiguous physical spaces.
  • Fully compatible with the most recent Internet Protocol, the IPv6, making the system future-proof.


Huawei remains on the throttle in the video surveillance arena as it continues to intently study the current future needs of the video surveillance technologies going into Safe City projects. In answering the demands for a storage system that provides large capacity, high reliability, and superior performance, Huawei stands above the competition and provides a future-proof storage solution that ensures usability both now and well into the future.

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