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Huawei Converged Virtualization Solution: Redefining the Future of Video Surveillance Virtualization

Video surveillance technologies have transitioned from simulated video surveillance to digital video surveillance and are now moving toward network-based video surveillance. Mirroring this trend, the storage devices used for video surveillance have evolved from tapes and digital video recorders (DVRs) to network video records (NVRs). However, even the most up-to-date storage devices are stretched in capacity and can only be used to store local surveillance data. These devices fail to meet the video sharing requirements as the number of video surveillance systems deployed in Safe City projects continues to expand. The ever-demanding project requisites in performance, reliability, and openness require a new approach in the video surveillance solution.

Two mainstream solutions

At present, there are two mainstream solutions able to handle large-scale video surveillance applications. The first is a standard storage solution that adopts storage servers and IP SAN (also called a forwarding storage solution), and the second is a direct storage solution for video streams that combines video surveillance software and storage devices. The most commonly used direct storage devices are central video recorders (CVRs) that are actually standard IP SAN storage devices running video surveillance platform software. Compared with the forwarding storage solution, the direct storage solution eliminates the use of storage servers, thereby reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO). However, CVR technologies are immature and have the following shortcomings:

  • CVRs entail high technical barriers, so only a few video surveillance vendors are able to design and develop them. 
  • Most CVRs deploy enclosed system architectures that inflexibly bind hardware and software, resulting in poor compatibility and lack of openness.
  • As CVRs run only one operating system but comprise multiple system modules, these modules frequently compete for system resources, significantly deteriorating system performance (50% reduction to performance when direct storage of video streams is adopted) and compromising system reliability.

Note: Direct storage of video streams, also called direct storage of stream media, is realized by installing a variety of video surveillance platform software on CVRs. It supports stream media protocols like RTSP, ONVIF, PSIA, SIP, GB, and T28181 as well as storage protocols like iSCSI, CIFS, NFS, and FTP.

Converged virtualization for monitoring and storage

Huawei, with over 10 years of accumulated experience in the storage arena, offers an innovative converged virtualization solution for monitoring and storage of video streams. This ground-breaking solution adopts standard IP SAN storage devices to deliver cloud computing virtualization and direct storage of video streams, and functions as the next-generation central storage platform for video surveillance applications. With its excellent capabilities in openness, stability, and efficiency, the Huawei solution is a highly viable choice in the video surveillance component for Safe City, solving the pain points associated with other offerings limited by enclosed system architectures, incompatibility among heterogeneous video surveillance software, and low storage reliability.

Huawei's converged virtualization solution outperforms conventional CVRs in many ways. Topping the list of benefits from the Huawei offering is complete compatibility with all third-party video surveillance platform software. The most important attribute of the central storage platform in a video surveillance solution is its openness, as the software suites running on that platform are usually tailored operating systems and configurations. Huawei employs virtualization technology to create various virtual hosts out of the IP SAN device controllers, and enables the hosts to cooperate with third-party video surveillance software and deliver direct storage of video streams based on such popular stream media protocols as RTSP, ONVIF, PSIA, SIP, and GB- T28181 in addition to other storage protocols like iSCSI, CIFS, NFS, and FTP.

Converged virtualization architecture

Figure 1: Architecture of Huawei converged virtualization solution

The second highlight of Huawei's solution is its robust reliability made possible with a wide range of advanced technologies:

  • The fault isolation technology limits the extent of impact from errors like deadlock, infinite loop, and unexpected exit, helping ensure the highest level of stable operations for storage devices.
  • Virtual clustering technology ensures the high availability of controller resources in IP SAN storage devices. In the event of a virtual resource or controller failure, the workload is dynamically switched to another controller, helping ensure continuity of video surveillance services.

Another advantage that makes Huawei's solution stand out is its capability to isolate hardware resources for different video surveillance and storage software suites, mitigating competition for system resources and ensuring high-level performance.

Compared with traditional DVRs and NVRs that are built on standalone structures, Huawei converged virtualization solution leverages the redundancy of a dual-controller storage platform, and employs mutual-backup controller units and virtualized backup technologies to achieve clustering for video surveillance software suites running on the two controllers. On this highly reliable platform, faults in the video surveillance software will not interrupt system operations as services are automatically taken over by counterparts running on the other controllers.

As video surveillance technologies continue to evolve, storage devices become stretched with workloads and other pressures, which means new innovations must be applied to compensate. The following cutting-edge technologies in the Huawei solution helps alleviate such pressures.

  • Multi-controller technology: combines multiple IP SAN storage devices into virtual devices and enables video surveillance platform software that was running on standalone devices to operate in a distributed architecture, thereby significantly improving the processing and redundancy capabilities of the video surveillance platform software.
  • Big data analysis technology: transforms IP SAN storage devices from simple video storage devices to sophisticated storage nodes that can deliver video analysis capabilities. By installing such Big Data software as Hadoop in virtual machines, video data can be indexed and labeled when it is being saved. This technology makes Big Data and video analysis capability a reality without the need to upgrade legacy devices.

Huawei's converged virtualization solution applies revolutionary technologies that speak to the issues in video surveillance deployment and operation. Huawei intends to remain at the forefront with heavy investments into this area.