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Threat Protection through Cloud Video Storage

Video surveillance is a city’s first line of defense, as is evidenced by the wide utilization of existing surveillance systems that help and protect people from traffic tie-ups, fires, criminal activities, and terrorist threats.

The cost of this protection includes the huge amount of storage space needed to capture and sort video data. It is common that video files stored in legacy systems are separately managed and stored in decentralized systems that have been supplied by different vendors. Equally common is the absence of standardized or open interfaces for accessing or sharing these files from outside each silo, which makes effective use of them extremely difficult. Huawei’s Safe City Cloud-based Video Storage solution changes all that by permitting fast sharing of videos and concurrent access across all networks.

Huawei has created a systematic engineering process that makes construction of these large-scale surveillance systems easier — systems that can involve thousands of video surveillance cameras and a thousand or more video storage devices with petabytes of capacity. Features and benefits include:

  • Simplified planning, deployment, and configuration
  • Concurrent access to videos by large numbers of first responders and managers
  • Smooth load balancing and scalability of recording devices, even if provided by multiple vendors
  • Formatting, reconfiguration, and quick restoration of faulty disks and devices
  • Large-capacity storage that can be scaled elastically

Legacy Problems

Many cities want to upgrade their legacy solutions to modern systems that support interworking and single-view monitoring across multiple software platforms.

Cities that operate legacy video networks face a variety of serious problems that Huawei has solved:

  • Faulty Disks and Devices

When more than two disks or storage devices fail, videos can no longer be stored, replayed, or forwarded. Even if the disks or devices are immediately fixed or replaced, formatting, reconfiguration, and restoration steps must occur. The rule of thumb for the amount of time necessary to restore 3 TB of video data on a legacy storage system is 32 hours. Needless to say, operations will be dramatically slowed. Comparatively, the Huawei solution needs just one hour to restore 3 TB of video data — more than meeting the public security industry requirements of 8 hours.

  • Excessive Investment

Some cities try to expand video storage by increasing the number of existing devices or purchasing a large number of devices that do not meet the actual need — and only succeed in wasting large amounts of money. For example, video surveillance storage devices configured for Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD) may be used to record surveillance videos for 30, 90, or 180 days. To save money, some cities have chosen to replace all-SD storage devices with HD devices or to automatically erase files after 30 days, with the option to manually archive select videos for 90 or 180 days.

  • Heavy Workloads

In urban environments that may have thousands of deployed surveillance Peripheral Units (PUs), manual reconfigurations or upgrades are very labor intensive and carry the risk of leaving sections of the city without video protection during the service cycle.

Research and surveys show that, as Safe Cities grow, the number of surveillance cameras, especially HD cameras, will increase. The result can be an explosive growth in the amount of video data that must be captured and stored.

  • The total volume of video data can quickly reach multiple petabytes, with no realistic expectation that a legacy storage solution has the capability to scale-out to that level.
  • Cities that redesign their storage architectures to up-to-date standards gain the benefits of easy deployments, simplified configurations, and fast service rollouts.

Huawei Advantages

  • Multiple Industrial Interfaces

The Huawei solution complies with industry standards and provides easy access to a variety of cloud-based video storage systems. Industry standard interfaces include the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) for streaming media via the Network File System (NFS) connected through SCSI, iSCSI, and CIFS device interfaces.

  • Data Redundancy Plans

Flexible data redundancy plans are useful for reducing the cost of storage resources by enabling storage resource optimization routines for setting disk utilization rates up to 95 percent.

  • Expand Capacity

Although it is possible to expand legacy systems by adding inexpensive resources, the time and labor resources required for installation and configuration will overwhelm the savings. The Huawei solution uses a scale-out storage architecture that automatically identifies every storage node added to the system. Single nodes can be added in less than 60 seconds, and single file systems up to 40 petabytes can provide ‘scalability on demand’ to ensure reduced long-term operating costs.

  • Sharing Network Videos and Providing Concurrent Access

A cache, or temporary storage block, has much faster data read-write speeds than hard disks. However, single nodes have only limited room for cache expansion. Huawei uses a global cache method that provides a pool of virtual cache resources with a maximum capacity of 55 terabytes. Any data file stored in the cache pool can be accessed by any node. The result is a reduction in the number of disk reads, writes, and access latency — and an improved overall system performance.

Huawei Security and Reliability Features

  • Cross-device Security Assurance

Huawei’s Erasure Code (EC) redundancy algorithm is a superset of RAID that improves overall system performance and resource utilization. Data written into the system is distributed among different physical nodes — an approach that prevents data loss caused by single points of failure and ensures service continuity and system availability.

  • Automated Data Recovery

The Huawei solution optimizes and simplifies hard disk management. Users need only choose the most appropriate protection models for their specific data types.

  • Data Reconstruction Accelerates Data Restoration

Data can be evenly distributed to each disk without hot spot data. This approach improves the ability to restore concurrent data, reduces time spent reconstructing data, and shortens the time needed to restore data in the event of data corruption. The result is that a terabyte of data can be restored within one hour.

  • Remote Backup for Redundancy Protection

Huawei’s remote backup provides geographic redundancy. Data in one place, for example, a police station, can be backed up easily by another police station or an upper-level bureau. Remote backup features are provided for up to 300,000 directories. This huge capacity enables remote backup at all surveillance levels. If a storage system is faulty, all video surveillance users are still able to access the system from a remote disaster recovery center over a dedicated video network.

The Huawei Cloud-based Video Storage Solution is built on thorough research of actual user practices. The solution offers transparent access to devices from multiple vendors and large-capacity elastic storage; network sharing of videos and concurrent access to those streams; and zero storage downtime, including auto-recovery of services and hot backups that ensure the availability of the video surveillance system at all times.

By Victor Yu/He Junhong

Director, Industry Marketing & Solution Department/Principal Engineer, Government Solutions, Enterprise Business Group, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.