Quantum on StorNext 6

“Would you wait two minutes to retrieve three-month old surveillance footage if it slashed costs by 50%?”

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Author Bio ▼

Adam Bannister is a contributor to IFSEC Global, having been in the role of Editor from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam also had stints as a journalist at cybersecurity publication, The Daily Swig, and as Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
September 18, 2017


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Quantum provides multi-tiered storage solutions to a range of sectors.

In the video surveillance market, that means reduced latency, more cameras per NVR and slashed project costs, according to a key figure involved in getting the brand’s message across.

And all these benefits go up a notch with the sixth iteration of StorNext, which was released early in the year, Gabriel Chaher, VP EMEA of sales and marketing at the company, tells IFSEC Global.

IFSEC Global: Did you launch anything at IFSEC?

Gabriel Chaher: At IFSEC we announced StorNext 6, a new release of our software, which enables appliances to deliver our multi-tiered storage solution and high performance in a way that is unique compared to other IT vendors.

IG: How is your multi-tiered storage solution unique?

GC: If you think about VMS vendors, 90% of them work on Windows. One of the first things they ask you to do when they install it is to change the default file system block size from 4K to 64K.

Why is that? Because if you have to ask for video that is 2MB, using a 4K block every time you write one, you keep going back and forth.

With 64K there’s less of this. That back and forth introduces latency. You have too many cameras feeding into the same network video recorder (NVR).

That limits how many cameras you can have, because it was not designed to handle video content; it was designed more to handle PowerPoint, Excel, email, etc.

Our platform has been designed around video content since inception and we’ve been around for 37 years. So we know how to handle big video files including HD/UHD/4K.

When the write operation happens, because the camera is recording, we don’t give them one block at a time. We can give, for example, 40 blocks at once – and not limited to 64K.

Once you need more blocks, you come back. If you get 40 but only use 10, you can give 30 back. So no latency, which enables more cameras per NVR, because they are optimised.

We give you performance and a balance on costs – without trading in the usability

We know how to do analytics more effectively to reduce the overall project budget. That’s the value we provide.

The second value we provide is the fact that when you objectively look at the full end-to-end workflow for video surveillance, you barely need to access more than 10% of your video footage after two months, or even after one month.

The high resolution video creates big files, so what are the requirements for video retention? Why would you keep these files on high performance storage for six months when you probably won’t be accessing it after four weeks? It will be expensive if you don’t understand the workflow.

We understand the workflow. We say “look, why don’t you use, say, two weeks of high performance storage and after that, you move it to more cost-effective storage?”

That cuts the storage footprint in your budget by half. Not because the quality isn’t good; it’s about being smart about how you store the data. You don’t need an expensive car if you only drive 100 miles a year – that’s the kind of logic.

We have the building blocks of storage: disk, object storage, tape and we also use cloud. You can buy those things separately. The secret is how you make them all work together in a smooth way.

So when an application writes a file in a directory and one year later you access the file, it’s still in the same directory, the same logical location. You can physically move it but the logical location does not change.

So we give you performance and a balance on costs – without trading in the usability.

StorNext 6 is taking that to the next level. We’re adding replication in this new version of our scale-out storage solution.

If you need a backup and want to be safe against ransomware, tape might currently be your best option

I was talking to a client from Nigeria where the bank is required to store footage for a couple of years. It has numerous branch offices and wanted to keep all its footage at its HQ.

Our solution helped them store the footage at the local branches and replicate it back to a central archive at its headquarters for compliance reasons.

You can choose the most cost-effective storage you need. Honestly, do you care if you have to wait two minutes to retrieve data you recorded three months ago if it will save 50% of your budget?

IG: Any other innovations in the pipeline?

GC: The other thing we’re releasing with StorNext 6 is a way to collaborate between different systems, by using the cloud to store and share data. We’ve seen that requested more and more from clients – not just in surveillance, but for all verticals. And we’ve seen a lot of people getting a mandate to use the cloud from their management.

So we are responding to that demand.

And finally, we’re now in partnership with an artificial intelligence vendor, which has connected agents that can process audio, video and other data into the cloud – it’s extremely powerful.

The problem is that nobody is ready to send all their video to the cloud; you have to get it processed. So we can have that AI agent working on our storage appliance; we can pass the data to the local on premise AI agents to process without having to send all the data over internet.

IG: Is cybersecurity a big issue for your solutions?

GC: We’re definitely very cautious about it, but storage cannot implement cybersecurity – it has to be done before that.

However, if there is a potential ransomware threat, it cannot infect any data in a tape library. All ransomware can infect online storage, but the tape library is offline.

Nobody yet knows how to infect the tape, so if you need a backup and want to be safe against ransomware, tape might currently be your best option.

You don’t have to use a third party for that protection solution and ransomware isn’t a threat when using StorNext to self-protect video surveillance content to tape.

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