H264 or MPEG4 for Surveillance Applications?

I was looking in on the Surveillance Technology Group on LinkedIn and found this interesting discussion:

Frank Miko, Cheatham & Associates:

What are your thoughts on H264 as compared to MPEG4 or other compression formats?

Responses:

Craig Waltzer, Aventura Holdings

My company utilizes the H.264 algorithm because it utilizes significantly less bandwidth (better transport) and smaller file sizes (more storage capacity) than MPEG-4. … The picture quality comparison between MPEG-4 and H.264 is not distinguishable by the naked eye. … H.264 video can not effectively be played in reverse.

What’s your take, which compression do you prefer?  Have you uncovered a good way to add storage to your surveillance system, so storage capacity is irrelevant? Take the poll.

[polldaddy poll=1300650]

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H264 compression is growing fast on the consumer side, and looks to replace the MPEG-4 encoding in the next couple of years.  More importantly, the upgrades in general purpose operating systems (Windows, OSX, Linux) and computer hardware will allow our computers to take advantage of the CPU power in the graphics cards, and offload this processing from the standard CPU.  Look for these features to trickle down into DVR systems soon, and eliminate the compatibility issues between H264 cameras and DVR systems.  With the growth in newer IP technologies overseas, we in the US don’t want to be left in the dust with low resolution digital video or analog CCTV systems.

Chime in on the comments, or join the linked in discussion.

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iSCSI vs Fibre Channel.. Battle Continues..

There was a time that some claimed that iSCSI is not mature and is not suitable to serve the storage needs of high demanding data centers.

Those days have passed, and even those companies who promoted Fibre Channel, are starting to offer iSCSI products. There is no argument anymore that iSCSI has taken hold as the interface of the choice for new storage installations. All recent market studies have shown that Fibre Channel storage market has been either steady or has had a slight year to year improvement, while iSCSI storage market has been on the double digit rise year after year.

All features that have been once only available on high end fibre channel SANs are now available in iSCSI storage products. All the arguments about performance advantages of Fibre Channel are disappearing since 10G iSCSI has started shipping in numbers. And most important of all, there is no argument anymore that iSCSI storage costs are a lot less thanaFibre Channel SAN with equivalent performance and features.Only those companies who do not have iSCSI storage are still trying to promote Fibre Channel. But users are smart and do not see any compelling argument anymore to buy Fibre Channel SAN.

Having said all that, we do not think Fibre Channel is going to die anytime soon. As like any other technology, it takes a long time for an established technology to wind down and get replaced by another one. SCSI storage is still available when some predicted it will die 10 years ago. But from all market indications it is obvious that storage trends are moving toward IP Storage rather than Fibre Channel.

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In summary, iSCSI, when properly implemented, provides high performance, hence making it a suitable to deploy in core applications. iSCSI is easy to understand and lower cost makes it a strong choice for medium to large enterprises. Having an end-to-end Ethernet IP environment is an added benefit to iSCSI. A properly designed iSCSI infrastructure and storage platform is good enough to handle any storage application currently handled by a Fibre Channel SAN.

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StoneFly™ INC IP SANs are offered with Thin Provisioning

Usually while selecting a SAN solution, many enterprises pay much attention to features such as data compression, deduplication, archiving and primary storage optimization, and show less concern over allocated but unused storage. As a result a lot of storage, allotted to specific storage applications gets wasted, so in order to utilize the unused space the need for data reduction technique becomes imperative.

In this stage the presence of Thin Provisioning technology becomes essential as it assigns the requested amounts of virtual capacity for an application server despite the availability of physical capacity.

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StoneFly™ INC IP SANs are enriched with Thin Provisioning feature which allows its users to engage the highest storage utilization possible by eliminating pre-allocated but unused capacity. This technique eliminates the pre-allocation of blocks of unused storage space and enables volume and capacity to be added as per the enterprise needs but without causing disruption or downtime troubles to its users.

There is an obvious advantage in purchasing StoneFly™ INC IP SAN powered by thin provisioning technique. In simple terms if we suppose an enterprise is in need of a storage solution and has five applications on demand and you opt for storage without the thin provisioning feature, then you need to specifically allocate a calculated volume size to each application. The calculation will be strictly based upon prediction and may or may not be accurate. If, for example two out of the five applications have less storage needs, then the allotted storage space to them becomes unused and as a result it will be wasting the storage resources and will increase the storage CAPEX while reducing the ROI. If the applications go for calculated allotted space a need for storage scalability will arise in the future requiring input from the storage administrator.

In order to avoid such problems StoneFly™ INC IP Storage solutions are delivered with thin provisioning as a standard. This feature offers allocation of storage space on demand in a flexible manner to accommodate the growing data stores of the business. The storage space will be allocated as per the demand of the application and as a result the utilization of the storage space will be handled in an efficient way without the need to constantly redefine volume sizes.

StoneFly™ INC IP SANs also deliver additional benefits such as reduced consumption of electrical energy and hardware space requirements are minimized with a reduction in heat generation resulting in a greener data center environment.

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SSD vs. Memory Cards

Flash memory is becoming a primary technology used in storage devices and so has become immensely popular. For all those who are in an opinion that all flash memory storage forms are one and only same, here is an analysis which will break your assumption.

Flash memory is a type of non-volatile memory which can be erased electronically and rewritten. Here the term non-volatile means that data can be retained even in the absence of power to the device. Flash memory based media do not have moving parts in them as they are made up of integrated circuits which make flash memory storage more durable and shock resistant than the other storage media counterparts like hard disks.

Two such flash memory based storage forms are Solid State Drives and Memory cards. In order to know the difference in between a Solid State Drive and a Memory card, let us get into some technical details.

It is a fact that both these storage media use NAND flash memory as a common interface, but not of the same kind. Memory cards use multilevel cell memory, while SSDs use single level cell memory. The MLC memory used in memory cards and USB drives has the ability to store 2 bits of data for every cell. Some hybrid SSDs are also using MLC memory in order to cater to higher storage needs. SLC memory offers high endurance than MLC memory.

The read/write capabilities of Multilevel Cell Memory are up to 5000 times, while SLC offers R/W cycles reaching 50,000 figures. Now, both the memory capabilities have increased further due to technological developments. Due to the presence of controllers in SSD drives the support for wear leveling is also high in Read/write operations. The presence of native-command queuing optimization of read/write requests can be monitored by BIOS in real time, in order to phase out the potential anomalies of problems.

Solid State Drive (SSD)- A Solid State Drive uses flash memory in order to store data. They are designed specifically to be used in PCs, Notebooks and Tablets. Solid State Drives can be used as internal and external storage devices. The data transfer rate is faster than hard disk drives and the access time is around 0.1ms, which is almost 80 times faster than HDDs. Since, SSDs consume less energy and generate less heat they are considered as best among the storage media. But the failure rate of hard drives is much better, when compared to Solid State drives.

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Memory Cards- Memory cards also use flash memory and allow users to store digital photos, music or video files. They are used as removable flash memory devices and can be slot-in into computers, mobile devices and card readers. A Memory card storage range starts from 512MB and can be available 100GB. Compact flash, microSD cards, MicroSDHC, Memory sticks, memory stick micro, secure digital high capacity (SDHC) and Secure Digital (SD) cards are some of the different forms of Memory cards.

 

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What is SAN Zoning?

While discussing about SAN topologies and switches, many of you might have come across the term ‘SAN Zoning’. This particular term turns critical when a Storage Area Network layout is filled with more than a couple of dozen devices. In early days of its existence, SAN Zoning did not get its due share of importance, as many cited that it was not a Fibre Channel SAN Standard. But now it is very much an evolving area in standards and implementation. In order to know more about this technical term, let us take a closer look at it.

SAN Zoning

It is a fact that unlike a NAS, SAN restricts its user access to a specific storage application space. That is, like in a Network Attached Storage, SAN users cannot access every file on the centralized storage. It restricts the file access of users intended for a specific application. So, here comes Zoning, whose primary function is to control who can see what in the SAN. In every server, there are various mechanisms where server applications are allowed to see and talk to other devices.

At the low level, an HBA’s firmware and/or driver can have the control of masking the server from other devices. Additionally, the Operating System will have the configuration ability to control the devices it tries to mount as a storage volume. So, extra-layered software is used by many IT people for volume management, clustering and file system sharing, which will also help in controlling application access.

In case of Storage Zoning, if we can ignore RAID subsystems and JBOD, then there is a form of selective presentation on most disk arrays. The array is configured in such a way that the list of servers accessing LUNs and their service requests and denials can be traced out. In switch zooming, most of the FC switches support zoning in order to control devices and their access to ports.

Functioning of San Zoning

In order to understand functioning of SAN Zoning, let us get into it in a technically precise way. As soon as a node connects with a fabric, it does a fabric logon. By doing so, the device gets a 24-bit address allocation useful for routing in the fabric. The device has a World Wide Name programmed in its hardware as per its unique port. The node WWN also identifies the node or device and will show up the same on each port.

As soon as a device logs on to the name server services in SAN environment, it registers itself. This allows the SAN to build up database of all the devices in the fabric, with the use of mapping of node and port WWN. This will also include the FCP device which talks with SCSI Commands over Fibre Channel.

This makes the server to ask the name server the list of the FCP devices seen on the fabric and this is how zoning comes into affect. The name server responds with the list of FCP devices which are in the same zone, i.e. it traces out only those devices which it is supposed to know.

As a result the list of all the 24-bit addresses will be available with the server, which in-turn does a logon to each one and finds out what the device is all about (FCP/SCSI) and thus constitutes to Zoning.

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What type of SAN Zoning should be used?

Going with little of each of the following approaches may prove beneficial

  • By utilizing the capability of operating system or software for controlling of devices/LUNS mounted on the server.
  • Using Zoning on fabric and selective presentation on storage array, isolation of a PC using network analogy to hack the files in the corporate system is possible. For preventing such incidents, having an access control list on files in the file system will be advantageous.
  • In addition to it, firewalls, security gateways and packet filtering will also be helpful in protecting the data.
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Getting to Know a Storage Controller?

‘Storage controllers’ or ‘storage computers’ are embedded with processors which are capable of performing functions for the storage system; a handsome amount of functions can be performed. Storage controllers are capable of operating as a node within a cluster of servers in Scale-out storage, but are not limited to this. They can operate as a ‘dual controller’ which will be a redundant pair and also as separate single controllers.

The storage controllers are independent of one another and each controller has a processor and an Input-Output (I/O) path. The processor is tasked with handling the movement of data and other data-related functions such as volume management and RAID. The I/O is responsible for communicating data to the storage network or to the directly-attached servers.

Capabilities of a Storage Controller

The speed and capabilities of the storage controller play a vital role in impacting the performance of the storage array in a modern data center. Data movement functions require fast storage infrastructures. They are tasked with doing the most important work which involves processing and performing functions. The storage controller has to efficiently communicate with the disk drives attached to a storage system to ensure rapid data flow. The numbers of drives hence directly affect the performance of the controller.

Solid State Drives (SSDs) have made the work of storage controllers very fast. The time taken by the controller between drive I/Os in order to perform certain functions has been reduced by huge amounts; latency is almost gone.

Storage Controller

Storage controllers are tasked with volume management to ensure the speedy access to data when needed. They also provide ease of access and reliability as data travels at effective speed.

Storage controllers not only perform basic functions such as RAID (redundant array of independent disks) and volume management, but the processors in the storage controllers also dive into a number of complex tasks. Tasks such as snapshots, cloning, thin provisioning and replication are done with high levels of speed.

The first three functions are especially burdensome as they dynamically allocate storage space when the data is being written or changed in the storage system. This takes up a lot of the processors capabilities. They require more power to do the work. So, connecting to the host for capacity pre-allocation and then working in the background to fulfill the storage commitments becomes essential.

Ability and Work of a Storage Controller

Today’s dynamic environment is in search of new and better technology with every passing day. Demands of users revolve around newer innovations to provide the perfect balance for their needs.

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Users are searching for technologies capable of providing better performance alongside the ability to work in dynamic environments. Storage controllers provide high levels of performance and are capable of working in different environments; even in Automated Tiering where there is constant movement of data back and forth in between different storage classes. Such an environment requires high performance capability driven storage controllers which need to analyze access patterns and statistics of different applications in order to move data.

Continuous technological advancements provide great growth prospects for storage controllers. With increasing needs for greater performance and requirements of reduction in latencies, storage controllers provide for the needs of the customers. Storage controllers can be added with greater ‘headroom’ to maintain adequate performance as storage systems grow.

Storage controllers hence provide users with added benefits of greater performance and speed with minute additions.

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Lack of IP SAN Storage health monitoring features can lead to an IT disaster!

IP SAN storage health monitoring is usually done by the network operating system which is runs the IP SAN. But if the SAN appliance lacks this feature or if the feature usage gets overlooked, then it can lead to an irreparable IT disaster. An instance of similar sort happened in the month of Feb 2014, when a SAN appliance deployed in The Southern District Health Board IT environment crashed due to an error.

According to a preliminary enquiry report, an incorrectly entered internet protocol address caused an outage that put the hospitals entire server and storage systems into chaos for almost 38 hours. Due to lack of maintenance of the system, the IP SAN appliance could not issue an alert to the storage administrator in time and this caused the storage server to crash.

As per a report, the root cause for the system crash and prolonged downtime was an incorrect configuration made by the storage administrator. This resulted in the usage of spare drive by the network, when a disk failure occurred and as soon as the spare drive reached the full capacity, the system automatically shut itself in order to preserve its data. Due to this system crash, the hospitals in tie-up with this health board were forced to maintain pen and paper records, which were later on fed to the system, when it was brought back on track.

Southern District Health Board Medical director of patient services Richard Bunton said that this unexpected system failure resulted in data loss pertaining to 3850 mammograms taken in between February 1st and October 31st, 2012. This made the health board incur a loss of $13 million, due to the reason that the records were again ordered from the disaster recovery center and then fed to the storage system in order to re-build the database.

In reality, every IP SAN provider offers data building services, if in case, the damage has occurred due to their system hardware or software failure. But here, since the crash occurred due to human error and lack of maintenance of the system, the storage provider backed off from any kind of free of cost service.

As per the storage admins version working for the health board, the system lacked redundancy and its network operating system partially or totally failed to alert the administrator on time. But the IP SAN vendor (which some reliable source claims to be IBM) has a different version to say on this issue.

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The company officials said that the entire fault was with the IT staff who were employed in the organization. The officials added that system issued an email alert regarding the lack of maintenance and the spare drive reaching full capacity. If the officials had done a weekly maintenance and replaced the faulty drives and installed the spare drive, then the IT failure could have been avoided to a large extent. The other amusing fact was that the organization lacked an automated backup and disaster recovery service in its premises.

Therefore, in order to avoid all such troubles, it is better to go for an IP SAN which offers utmost redundancy in these conditions. One such vendor which delivers such products is StoneFly Networks. This company, a business subsidiary of Dynamic Network Factory offers iSCSI SANs which are powered and driven by StoneFly’s StoneFusion Network Operating System. It is through this operating system, the network admin can gain full control over system health, configuration, load & utilization, sessions and usage patterns all achieved from StoneFly web based control panel.

StoneFly’s StoneFusion OS powered appliances issue alerts in the form of emails and mobile phone messages. If the issue is intense, then the admin will get the notification under top priority category.

So, all such troubles can eliminated and thus the whole network and its users can be isolated from any kind of IT disasters in time.

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Avoid forklift upgrades with StoneFly IP SAN appliances

Almost every enterprise goes for an upgrade of its highly valued technology assets at some point of time. This is to keep up pace with the latest technological developments or to accommodate business growth with the help of IT resources. Storage sub-systems and storage area networks should also be upgraded as per an enterprise business needs and the latest technological changes. Sometimes the upgrade decision comes more frequently and faster than expected due to various reasons like growth in data on par with the business.

At this juncture, the only option left is to add more raw capacity by scaling up and that is done with the addition of more disks with larger capacity. To improve SAN performance switches and host adapters have to be added too, along with the need to go for a storage system software upgrade which adds to the storage costs

At times, an enterprise IT manager is forced to go for a forklift upgrade, as the current in-house storage system/s is incompatible to the latest developments taking place in the field of storage. This is where; the enterprise will feel the pinch for not having a storage architecture which is highly scalable and redundant

Note – A forklift upgrade refers to a major replacement of key IT infrastructure.

When it comes to SAN forklift upgrade the complexity doubles up, as it requires a detailed planning and precise execution. Since, this upgrade needs to abide factors such as minimal downtime, zero-loss data migration, quick connection of storage servers with applications, databases & users the whole procedure has to be carried out with great levels of austerity.

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As part of a strategy to help enterprises better manage data growth, reduce storage costs and simplify management of IT infrastructure, StoneFly, Inc offers storage solutions that allow its customers avoid forklift upgrades altogether.

“StoneFly IP SAN solutions represent breakthroughs in storage economics. These appliances are designed for the purpose of rapid deployment, can simplify administrator management, offer utmost enterprise performance and are flexible enough for seamless scalability. By using them, enterprises can easily and cost effectively scale up and out as their storage needs grow, and no longer have to budget for forklift upgrades every few years”, said Mo Tahmasebi, CEO and President of StoneFly, Inc.

Engineered to be upgradable in the field, StoneFly storage solutions can be scaled while the system remains, online with data in place during the upgrade process. Thus, with this feature in place, the risk of downtime and data loss or corruption seen in traditional SANs gets eliminated. On a further note, the controllers can also be upgraded without the need to spend on additional software licensing fees unlike the traditional storage models.

Together, these features enable enterprises to keep a lid on expansion and lifetime costs, at the same time making their investments future proof.

For more details call 510.265.1616 or click on StoneFly IP SAN features and specifications

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Monitor your video server health with DNF Security Lifeline Software

Servers related to Video Surveillance need to be constantly monitored in order to keep a tab on their recording, storage and playout capabilities. This helps the users to help them react, identify and resolve mission-critical system and network infrastructure problems in time. If this is ignored, then the whole concept of protecting the environment with help of video surveillance equipment becomes futile.

So, it is the duty of the administrator to sort out these issues in time and keep the system up to date with the necessary software and hardware upgrades(if necessary). But in the world of computing, manual monitoring may become too tedious and also hard to accomplish. Therefore the need to monitor the video server health in an automated way becomes vital. Here’s where DNF Security offers a lifeline service.

DNF Security Lifeline Remote Monitoring Service (RMS) is an embedded, forward-looking tool which can offer to its customers the privilege of identifying mission-critical system and network infrastructure troubles in time. Hence, with this Proactive-Predictive Lifeline RMS, customers can isolate themselves completely from any kind of unplanned downtime. If there is a chance of any kind of system failure, this forward looking software informs to its customers about the critical system status which needs rectification/attention via a wide variety of options including emails and SMS.

The key Monitoring metrics of DNF Security Lifeline RMS are as follows-

  • The temperature of the CPU, motherboard chipset and onboard RAID drives can be monitored through DNF Security Lifeline Remote Monitoring Service tool.
  • Cooling systems such as fan speed and fan functionalities can be monitored.
  • Lifeline Remote Monitoring Service Software Tool can keep a check on the health of the hardware RAID controller. This includes Raid volume health and status monitoring, Raid controller processor temperature, Hard Drive SMART Bios supervision which includes- sector remaps and relocations check, seek errors, write errors, drive timeouts, cabling errors, spin-up errors can also be monitored.
  • CPU Load cycles, memory usage, disk usage, process monitoring and other related features can also be monitored by DNF Security Lifeline Remote Monitoring Service (RMS).
  • Network interface issues such as latency, availability, uptime and flapping can also be monitored by the lifeline software tool offered by DNF Security.
  • If in case, the video server is being used for video surveillance applications, then you can use the optional application i.e. a video management software specific process monitoring feature as well. Currently, it is being supported by Aimetis, Exacqvision, OnSSI NVS, Milestone, Nuuo, Genetec and other popular VMSes platforms.

To know more call 510.265.1122 or click DNF Security Lifeline RMS Services.

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StoneFly DR365 Data Backup and Disaster Recovery features

StoneFly, the innovator of iSCSI Storage has come up with a total backup and recovery solution called DR365. It is an ideal hyper-converged infrastructure solution which helps in consolidating all server, storage and backup systems needs into one easy to manage appliance.

Therefore, StoneFly DR365 can prove as single central management console to manage all the enterprise backup operations at a time. This is made possible by automatically converting every backup into a virtual machine, which can be later spun up and hosted onto the DR365 appliance. This feature will be extremely useful to keep business continuity operations intact for production environment, if in case, a physical server or a workstation goes down and needs to be repaired.

Other backup features of StoneFly DR365 appliance include:

  • Backup all virtual and physical machines with disk level snapshots.
  • This appliance is offered with the capability of creating sector-by sector backups for an exact copy of your disk or volume including unused space.
  • Granular and file-level backups featured in this appliance allow to selectively back-up specific files and folders or even network shares.
  • Allows you to manually exclude non-essential files or folders from your backup.
  • StoneFly DR365 backup feature allows you to schedule hourly, daily, weekly, event based and wake-on-LAN features.
  • Offers manual or scheduled automatic backup validation and allows balancing all backups with bandwidth and disk-write speed throttling.
  • To keep the backup secure, an SSL- encrypted data transmission over the network takes place with 256-bit AES encryption.
  • For optimal use of disk space, DR365 backups are being offered with Compression and dedup features. Thus, the volume of backed-up data can be reduced by up to 90%, which also maximizes backup speed.
  • This appliance allows to synchronously replicate an entire DR365 to a second DR365 appliance for extra data protection and business continuity.

StoneFly DR365 Data Recovery features:

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  • This all-in-one appliance allows to easily restore a backup from any point in time as a virtual machine. Thus, it can be used until the physical appliance gets repaired.
  • It helps in restoring individual files, folders, volumes or an entire system from any point of time.
  • This Disaster Recovery appliance offers specialized backup agents as option for exchange, SQL, Sharepoint and Active Directory.
  • Recovery of a file system is possible from any point in time using incremental or differential backups.
  • Mount snapshots, backup images, or spin up replica virtual machines at the remote site for non-invasive compliance or development testing at the system level, point in time or real time.
  • With the help of Bare Metal recovery an entire system can be completely restored to the same hardware or even to a brand new system with dissimilar hardware by injecting drivers to support the new hardware.
  • Backups of virtual machines can even be restored to a completely different Hypervisor platform.
  • For Linux server recovery, this appliance offers full support for BIOS and UEFI firmware interfaces.

To better understand click on StoneFly DR365 for graphical images and detailed summary or call 510.265.1122

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DNF Security presents Fanless Video Management System

DNF Security, a business unit of Dynamic Network Factory is presenting Fanless PCs for in-vehicle computing needs. These powerful PCs are designed in such a way that they can be used in all kinds of in-vehicle computing applications such as in-vehicle surveillance. Powered by Intel i5 Processors, DNF Security Falcon NV series fanless PCs can well sustain and operate with ease in environments filled with dust, humid, shocks, vibrations, varying temperatures and such.

Usually, computing devices operating in the vehicles like cars, trucks, trains, Ships, Cruise, heavy vehicles are subjected to high temperatures, dust, humidity and restricted airflows. Some start failing in the very first month of purchase due to these harsh environments, while some get into troubles very often.

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Citing these issues, DNF Security has come up with quite fanless PCs which can serve in all purposes.

DNF Security NV Series PCs incorporate powerful hardware components to deliver extra ordinary performance in harsh environments.

These small and quite PCs can be used as in-vehicle video management systems and also as IP TVs or entertainments systems. With smaller footprint, then can fit in places such as on/below the dashboard, under the seats and to the side walls (if properly riveted).

DNF Security Falcon NV Series PC solutions are available in 4 variants- Falcon NV3120, Falcon NV3100VTC, Falcon NV4022 and Falcon NV4022 loaded with i7 processor.

All these fanless PCs are loaded with i5 processors and run on Windows 7 operating system. As per the customer needs, these systems can have an 8GB, 16GB or 32GB memory. These PCs can start their computing operations based on the ignition control of the vehicle and are also tucked with Gigabit Ethernet ports for network communications.

So, already renowned Car, Truck, Fishing Boats makers are lining up for this product range in order to quench the computing needs of their automobiles.

So, if you are interested in knowing more details about these products or interested in a quote call 510.265.1122 or click on DNF Security NV Fanless PCs.

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How to choose a hard drive for a NAS solution?

Data Storage market is already being flooded with a myriad hard drive classes and models. On a recent note, IDC estimated that for every couple of years, atleast one new company is entering into this business and becoming ripe. Therefore, it becomes a daunting task to select the right hard drive for a NAS solution.

Although, this selection is a pain for a NAS appliance manufacturer, this article will explain some of the major differences between various HDD classes available in the market, and what considerations a NAS solution provider makes, while manufacturing a Network Attached Storage Solution. This article will also help those who are interested in building their own NAS solution for home or business purpose.

Currently, there are four major hard drive classes on the market, each specifically designed for different applications, workloads, MTBF and power-on hours.

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Desktop Hard Drives – Desktop Drives are designed for notebook PCs and desktops where usually a single drive is installed. Most desktop drives are more affordable, but seldom come with vibration protection, making them more vulnerable in multi-drive RAID environments where vibration from other drives and the system chassis can affect both drive health and system performance. When these drives are installed in NAS systems, desktop drives are suitable for situations where data is not often accessed, such as serving small group of users, who occasionally save or access documents of the drive, or as a backup storage destination which only requires a few hours of activity each day.

Enterprise Drives – These drives are manufactured with enterprise application needs in mind. So, these drives are useful for more advanced technology or superior components to provide better performance, POH, MTBF, Vibration protection and error correction. When installed in NAS systems, enterprise drives are suitable for environments that require high data availability and consistent throughput even when moving large amounts of data. This means enterprise drives are more appropriate for businesses with numerous employees accessing files simultaneously from databases, servers, or virtual storage systems.

NAS drives – For users who find desktop hard drives not durable and enterprise drives hard to afford, NAS drives can prove as a good option. These drives are specifically designed for NAS usage and are being offered by only few companies. They often feature better durability, balanced performance, and power consumption when compared to desktop drives. Note: Some NAS drives lack vibration sensors and may not be suitable for multi bay and rack systems. So, better you seek details more from the manufacturer regarding specification and usage before making a purchase.

Surveillance Drives
– Two big companies offering hard disk drives are offering surveillance drives to accommodate 24/7 demands of long video recordings. These drives are optimized for sequential write operations, but offer lower random access performance. For surveillance station users who use NAS solutions for backup and storage solutions to NVRs, Video management systems and video servers, NAS solutions tucked with these drives are excellent match. But some surveillance drives lack vibration sensors and may not be suitable for multi ay and rack systems.

  • Note 1 – MTBF means mean time between failures and is a statistic used by manufacturers to state the reliability of hard drives. Often the higher the MTBF, the lower chance of failure.
  • Note 2 – POH means Power-on Hours, which is the length of time in hours that electrical power is applied to a device. For hard drives, two categories are used. 8/5 means 8 hours per day, 5 days a week and 24/7 means 24 hours a day all round the year.

Therefore, by keeping the above said four aspects in mind a NAS solution can be smartly designed.

However, for all you enterprise IT professionals, who want a NAS solution for enterprise needs, here’s an advice.

It is always better to go for a NAS solution which is built by well known NAS solution provider like StoneFly, Inc. If you want scalability and redundant factor high in your solution, it is always better to rely on a Network Attached Storage manufacturing vendor.

An enterprise class NAS solution such as StoneFly Twin Scale-Out Appliance (TSO) delivers unprecedented performance, redundancy and scalability. It can prove as a cost-effective disk based solution that offers accessibility and data integrity advantages over tape. Performance that scales as capacity grows enables high-volume throughput and maximum interoperability and flexibility with multi-protocol support. A high performance NAS access enables easy consolidation of archives across multiple application and compute environments. With the help of RAID protection, availability, resiliency and drive-rebuild times will be higher in enterprise NAS solutions.

Therefore, for enterprise needs, it is always wise to rely on a purpose build enterprise NAS system.

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Solving healthcare storage needs with DNF Medical

Healthcare providers are producing enormous amounts of data these days and the whole credit goes to digitalization. The data produce related to medical field ranges from an ever-expanding collection of electronic health records to medical imaging data and as such. Obviously, when such high volume of data is being produced, storing these records and files will be a challenge and this is further compounded by long-term retention requirements.

Therefore, healthcare providers often search for creative solutions to data storage problems and so we have listed them out in the following paragraphs.

  1. Storage Area Network (SAN)
  2. File Server Storage
  3. Network Attached Storage (NAS)
  4. Tape Storage
  5. Cloud Storage
  6. Robotic Tape Library

Most large healthcare organizations make the best use of a SAN. They use a portion of it to house virtual machine, while other areas of the SAN are used for data storage. This means that plenty of demands are already being made against the SAN well before the long-term retention of exponentially growing data is even brought to question.

The highlight of a SAN is that it delivers performance along with flexibility. It is relatively easy to expand a SAN in parallel to organization’s storage needs. The only problem in opting for this solution, of course, is that SAN is expensive.

But in any large healthcare organization, there is always some critical data which undoubtedly needs to land on a SAN platform. That data might need to be protected by various forms of redundancy provided by the SAN, or there might be a benefit to store the data on high-performance media. Therefore, a legitimate business need arises to store the data on a SAN.

Oftentimes, however, there is some data, which doesn’t require a SAN platform. For instance, most hospitals have static data that is rarely accessed. It doesn’t make sense from a business perspective to use an expensive SAN for data that could just as easily reside on a less expensive form of storage. Hence, based on the age, value and frequency of access, data is then moved among various storage tiers according to the threshold values set by the storage admin.

Here’s where the need for SAN alternatives arises and this is where alternate storage mediums like file server storage or network attached storage can prove useful. Even tape and cloud solutions can also be used in this case, as they are best fit for archival needs and can also prove economical.

To give a concrete example on how storage tiering might be used, consider the hospitals which are following a policy to keep each patient’s medical record for 10 years after the patient’s death. Through usage tracking policy, it can be determined that when a patient dies in the hospital, their medical records were accessed on a fairly regular basis for the next couple of months. After that, the records were almost never accessed again on a frequent note.

Thus, this can be offered as a perfect example of static data that must be kept, but that may never be accessed again. So, keeping this data on a SAN appliance will be simply wastage of resources. So, where should that data be stored?

One solution is to archive the data to tape. But the tape storage should be automated, easy to manage and should offer the data with greatest redundancy and availability. But in most cases, tape solutions are still outdated when it comes to the display of its smart features. Because, if in case, a person who is unrelated to a dead patient, files a malpractice case against the doctor after 8 years of death of a patient, then the doctor should be able to present the evidence of the treatment and the cause of death even after such a long time.

This is where, cloud storage is certainly proving as a viable option, but can be expensive than a tape solution. Most cloud storage providers’ bill customers a monthly bill for the amount of data stored on their platform. So, a cloud storage option can be used as a utility and can grow as per the archiving needs growth.

Another option can be a robotic tape library, where a large warehouse of tapes is smartly managed with the use of robotics arms, which will automatically retrieve the tape from the shelf and insert it into a tape drive in the next room. This type of storage works well, as the cost per GB will be low and there was not levy of storage fees. However, the initial investment in hardware can prove as a costly affair.

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Whatever type of storage you decide to use, you will need to have a data life-cycle management software that can automatically move data from one storage tier to another as the data ages. The software should also be automatically purge data when it is no longer needed.

If you are in a look out for a trustworthy data storage vendor which offers reliable and cost effective data storage solutions, DNF Medical will be an ideal company to depend on. It offers the best IP SAN storage appliances which are highly-available and are driven by dual active/active RAID controllers with transparent failover and failback operations. This company offers advanced storage solutions which are redundant, scalable, highly available and are exclusively tailored for hospitals, labs and other medical organizations enhanced.

To know more about its products call 510.265.1122 or click on DNF Medical Product line.

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DNF Professional can help you in your Enterprise Storage installation and configuration

With the advent of big data, enterprises of all sizes are busy focusing more on generating revenue from their data blocks. Therefore, the onus on the enterprise IT teams increases, as the said trend will demand an enlarged storage installation and configuration responsibilities.

It is evident that large companies can afford a dedicated team of storage experts, in their premises. But for those small and medium sized business, who hardly have a dedicated IT team, leave alone a storage expert, the process of storage installation, configuration and maintenance may prove painful.

So, for such SMBs which cannot afford a dedicated team of storage experts, DNF Professional services can prove as a boon.

DNF Professional can not only help in setting up an enterprise storage solution- including a SAN fabric, storage RAID and a network setup; but can also assist the SMB in expanding their existing storage array.

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What’s more, the team of expert engineers from DNF Professional can lend their hand in all types of storage installation and configuration, which includes VTL, disk to disk backup, clustered and mirrored storage arrays. They work with the enterprise IT team to identify the space allocation and forecast, the future needs for initial setup and configuration of the storage.

After the implementation of the equipment infrastructure, a DNF Professional service doesn’t end with it. If needed an experienced team of storage experts from DNF Professional can continue on in a formal or as needed basis to monitor and maintain the re-designed or newly installed infrastructure via remote management, periodic reassessments or optimization planning.

So, no matter for what purpose the data is being stored ( for big date needs or for something business intensive) keep you data safe with the help of Dynamic Network Factory Professional Services.

To know more call 510.265.1122 or click on DNF Professional Services.

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Intelligent data storage solutions are the need of the hour!

Data Storage industry is changing from time to time and currently the present enterprise IT trend is to go for a solution which works with intelligence. Optimized for various application needs, storage operating environments will play an increasingly strategic role in delivering the most advanced and cost-effective storage services over the next several years.

Customers who choose storage hardware with the appropriate level of intelligent operating environments will achieve greater performance, reliability and the ability to exploit new capabilities over time at much lower costs than those who choose storage hardware purely based on raw speeds and feeds.

Therefore, here’s an article which throws some light on the benefits offered by intelligent operating environments, the increasingly important business benefits they will deliver, and the key features which impress the storage buyers, along with an example of a data storage operating system.

Traditionally speaking, when evaluating server hardware, IT managers don’t first choose the microprocessor inside the box or the hardware vendor who makes the box. But instead, they first choose which operating system ( such as Linux, Windows, Unix or Z/os) will run the apps they need, cost less when it comes to management and maintenance, and will be fully supported by a vendor who will provide quality support and a smooth migration path to new technologies.

So, in a similar way, the current trend in the storage market resembles the server market which used to prevail some years ago but with a petite difference. Nowadays, IT heads are thinking less about chips and specs and more about strategic software capabilities made possible through the intelligent operating environment.

Leading-edge customers are already demanding key capabilities in the operating environments that ship with their storage subsystems. There are five capabilities, each of which have varying importance and depends the customer’s organizations size, types of applications they run and other requirements.

  • First and foremost trait which has to be carried by an intelligent SAN is to provide immense parallelism; so that, enabling a multitude of activity to take place concurrently.
  • It ensures the prioritization of tasks and overall adaptability, so performance levels are met regardless of circumstance and the system adapts easily to changes in workloads, hardware failures, etc.
  • Assure to end-to-end integrity of the hardware, software and application environment.
  • Offer access to the broadest range of powerful storage applications to protect, manage and share critical corporate information.
  • Demonstrate a proven track record of maturity in the architecture’s stability and robustness.

So, when a SAN with an intelligent operating system has all these traits, it helps the IT environment of an enterprise achieve higher performance and uptime, reduce hardware purchases through more efficient use of existing storage and reduced long-term management costs.

Now for those, who are interested in knowing a SAN storage solution which drives on intelligent operating system, StoneFly Inc., a subsidiary of Dynamic Network Factory offers its products tucked with this feature.

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Its StoneFusion, which is an award winning and patented network operating system, brings in block level storage intelligence to the IP network core. StoneFly’s StoneFusion powered SANs deliver all the benefits of managed SANs such as increased storage utilization through resource consolidation, storage provisioning, centralized access control, volume management, and advanced storage services including Active/Active clustering, mirroring, replication, encryption, snapshots and thin provisioning.

StoneFusion has the power to virtualize physical storage resources into virtual volumes and enables advanced storage functions in a virtual network layer. It acts as a foundation of all StoneFly SAN products lines and makes the IT admin have the power of SAN at their finger tips. It controls the flow of data to and from the physical storage device, as well as within the device architecture such as RAID arrays and virtual storage.

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Axis unveils security surveillance camera for outdoor use on vehicles

Swedish security camera maker Axis Communications which will soon be acquired by digital camera make Canon has unveiled a security surveillance camera which can be used for outside on-vehicle surveillance activities.

Axis P3905-RE is an outdoor ready video surveillance camera added to the family of compact, rugged and discreet cameras of Axis P39-R Network Camera series. They are all well designed for onboard video surveillance in or on buses, trains, subway cars and emergency vehicles.

Axis P3905-RE series of network cameras area ideal to be mounted on the exterior of a vehicle, increasing safety onboard and simplifying incident investigations.

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For instance, these cameras can be used for rearview surveillance alongside the vehicle outer surface, down mounted over a door or as a forward facing camera.

AXIS P3905-RE has passed the demanding IP69K tests and can withstand tough conditions such as vibrations, shocks, bumps and temperature fluctuations, as well as normal vehicle maintenance like washing. The cameras also feature an active tampering alarm function for the detection of tampering attempts such as blocking or spray-painting.

Axis P3905-RE camera can also be used for monitoring vehicle interiors and so can be used to keep a tab of the activity happening in driver’s cabin or inside a vehicle of a public transport system. But is best suited to be used as a cost-efficient and reliable installation ideal for buses, trains, trucks and emergency vehicles.

AXIS P3905-RE comes with a 6 mm lens that provides a 55° horizontal field of view optimized for the typical use of surveillance alongside a vehicle. If a wider field of view is required, the housing also allows customers to change to a 3.6 mm lens offering an 87° horizontal field of view. The new outdoor housing is offered as a separate accessory to AXIS P3904-R and AXIS P3905-R that comes with the 3.6 mm lens at delivery. AXIS P3905-RE supports Axis’ Corridor Format, which provides a vertically-oriented view ideal for monitoring roads, tracks plus platforms and is perfect for monitoring hallways, platforms, tunnels and aisles

All AXIS P39-RE cameras are available with either a male RJ45 connector or a rugged M12 connector. The cameras provide a pixel counter for verifying that the pixel resolution of an object meets specific requirements.

To know AXIS P3904-RE outside vehicle mounted network camera price and availability please contact the customer support of Axis communications.

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Know why backup and disaster recovery should be converged?

Backup and disaster recovery were treated as two separate entities till a couple of years ago. But now, all thanks to server virtualization, these two technologies are offered as converged solutions. Follow the article further to know on how is this being made possible

Earlier, backup was about making a recoverable copy of data and disaster recovery was concerned with business continuity, where the idea was to move workloads to new hardware and remote locations in the event of a major disaster.

But as most organizations are now heavily virtualized, a degree of flexibility is obtained, in order to unite these two technologies into one single and easy to manage solution. Nowadays, hypervisors are delivering new capabilities, so that backup vendors have design features that exploit the portability of virtual machines.

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To get a clear understanding, consider the instant recovery feature found in many of the newer backup applications. Earlier, restoring a server from backup used to take hours and even days, to complete. But now, with the presence of instant recovery feature, the hypervisor and disk based backup allows the backup copy of a Virtual machine to be brought backup to life almost immediately after downtime.

With the backup virtual machine copy an organization can use the data file as it would use the production virtual machine. A traditional restoration is still eventually required, but it occurs in the background after the backup VM has been brought online.

This serves as a great example as how backups and DR are converging. The backup application is still making point-in-time copies of the VMs, but instant recovery capabilities have reduced the recovery time objective to levels that were previously only attainable with the help of expensive availability features such as failover clustering and virtual machine replication.

StoneFly Backup & Disaster Recovery series of appliances do the same. These appliances offer backup and disaster recovery features in a single easy to manage solution in order to serve all the needs pertaining to physical, virtual server and workstation needs. So, manage all of your backup operations for your datacenter or office with a single central management console.

The backup engine automatically creates backup images of physical servers based on flexible user-defined policy. These images can be restored (bare metal recovery) to the same hardware, to dissimilar hardware to build a new server, or can be mounted as a drive to retrieve an earlier copy of a specific file, folder, etc.

Every backup can also automatically be converted into a Virtual Machine. This feature is quite useful for business continuity for your production environment if a physical server or workstation goes down and needs to be repaired. Replica Virtual Machines can also be used for any testing the user might choose including non-invasive compliance testing.

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New IP Video Surveillance Systems offer litheness!

Video Surveillance is becoming a key component of security systems in long-term care facilities. In this security systems segment, surveillance cameras are placed in

  • Parking lots, as defense against theft and vandalism of vehicles
  • Public areas such as TV rooms, hallways, dining halls where residents and staff gather up
  • entryways and at reception areas, to provide images of those coming and going out
  • Stockrooms and supply closets, to monitor the thefts

At the same time, a new practice of installing video cameras in resident’s living quarters is also receiving positive reviews. This is because, security cameras installed in these places, will give a way to monitor their loved one’s condition 24/7 and keep an eye on the quality of their care. Two-way video systems with audio are also often used to facilitate interactions between residents and their families, more often than visiting schedules would permit.

And here’s where an upgrade is needed:

  • As useful as they have proven to be, CCTV have some drawbacks as well. First and foremost is that they require hard wiring and installation by licensed professionals. That can prove hard on the budget and so can limit the cameras to be installed.
  • The other drawback of a typical CCTV system installation is –images- must be stored on tape, which is proving expensive in terms of management and monitoring time, as well as space. Though, new analog systems are coming with DVR compatibility, where disc space is available for recording, old CCTV systems already installed in premises from the past few years do not support recording to DVR. So, an upgrade is surely needed in this instance.
  • The third drawback of CCTV is that systems can be monitored in real-time only from locations that are wired to the cameras.

What’s the solution?

Here’s where IP Video Surveillance cameras offer a newer and better alternative to CCTV. Technically speaking, IP stands for Internet protocol and since surveillance is being carried out over IP, it means IP video surveillance. Wireless IP cameras greatly simplify installation, even when a system consists of many cameras. Wireless IP systems will work wherever there’s access to Wi-Fi or a network router. Video data can be stored on a hard disk or in the cloud and can be accessed from virtually any location on a PC, tablet or smart phone. But like said, every technology has its own pros and cons; wireless surveillance do have their own set of troubles.

Centralized vs. Decentralized systems

When considering an upgrade from a CCTV/Analog system to IP surveillance systems, the first thing to consider will be to determine whether a centralized or decentralized system of IP cameras will better meet your needs?

In a Centralized IP system arrangement, all you have to need are cameras, recording software, a dedicated PC/server, attached storage (can be a NAS/IP SAN), housings to protect the cameras and a network—wired/wireless.

The above set of hardware centralized IP surveillance can be carried out in the following way. Cameras perform function such as video recording, basic analytics and event triggering. Alarm management, storage management and video processing are handled by a central PC that runs on licensed software. Recorded video is processed and sent to the attached storage device.

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Although, centralized systems may seem to make sense for video security in an institutional setting, they have some real disadvantages, including:

  1. All video is processed through a video server and if it goes down, the whole objective can fall into jeopardy. However, in today’s world, techniques such as redundancy, failover can solve this issue.
  2. Licensing fees for software are usually charged on a per-camera basis, in addition to charges for the server management software license (usually along with an annual maintenance fee).
  3. Even though cameras for centralized systems cost less than decentralized systems, the additional costs for software licensing, a central server and maintenance bring the costs higher than those for decentralized systems.

In decentralized security systems- all you need to have are cameras, lenses, video storage, and a network. Here, in this arrangement the cameras will have the whole processing and analyzing intelligence installed in them, along with software recording capability. Some also have video storage capacity which can server for temporary purposes. Many have VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) functionality that enables the camera to send and receive calls from any kind of phone. Although IP cameras for decentralized systems are a far more expensive than those used in centralized systems, they offer all the functionality needed without as many peripherals and licensing fees, so they can prove more economical in the long run.

The advantages of decentralized IP surveillance systems include:

  1. Each camera operates independently, so there is no central point of failure. But when the camera fails, the surveillance system concept can take a bad hitting.
  2. Each camera can record to its own integral storage device at the camera — SD card or external hard disk — or to a central storage unit.
  3. If a camera loses connectivity or there is a storage device failure, it will continue to buffer data until the issue is corrected.
  4. Other cameras in the system can be alerted to a failure and programmed to notify you via email, text or phone call with a prerecorded message.
  5. No video management software licensing costs as the software is in the camera, and upgrades are usually free.

What to look for in IP surveillance systems:

Security surveillance cameras come in different sizes and shapes, and different models offer varied resolution and functionality. As you look at the field, try to determine which type best fits the needs of your facility and its residents.

  • Some cameras offer pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) functionality, which can enable greater coverage in indoor and outdoor areas.
  • Megapixel IP cameras (H.264 compression) offer much better image resolution than VGA cameras.
  • Wireless IP cameras are much easier and economical to install than hardwired systems, but the installation site must be within Wi-Fi range of a router or hub. Signal availability and bounce may make you paranoid.
  • For hard-wired installations, consider PoE (Power over Ethernet) IP cameras — to which power can be supplied via Ethernet cables — to reduce the number of power sources. This makes sense for fresh cable installations.
  • Consider cameras with built-in microphones and speakers for two-way communication, where needed.
  • Motion detection/event-triggering functionality can reduce the bandwidth and storage requirements for recorded video.
  • Alarm functionality can alert security when a camera records unusual activity.

Video storage influence on IP Video Surveillance;

With a demand for high resolution images increasing, people who are shifting from analog to IP or normal CCTV to IP are showing more interested in going for the best. That is why the demand for cameras offering detailed video evidence is increasing. Moreover, as per the legal rules prevailing in most parts of America, video evidence with much more clarity is attaining more importance, than the one which lacks it. Hence, cameras which offer high clarity images are generating lots of data. Therefore, to store all that generated data for future use, an efficient video storage with capabilities such as RAID and fault tolerance is turning vital.

So, while planning for a migration from Analog to IP, please give equal importance to your video storage needs, like you do for the cameras and other components in the architecture.

Otherwise, it just doest make sense to have sophisticated cameras on premises minus an efficient video storage.

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Energy efficiency through Server Virtualization requires careful planning!

Data Center managers, who think server virtualization leads to energy savings, should think twice before going with this conclusion. The fact is virtualization offers more balance between energy efficiency and performance, only when coupled with carefully planning.

Traditionally speaking, a single server may host a number of virtualization clients with loads increasing and decreasing sporadically and this may not really bring in savings in practical, when it comes to energy efficiency.

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According to an article in CIO Asia, metrics such as PUE can be misleading in virtualized environments, and efforts to improve PUE at the server level can become excessively complex and counter-productive.

So, it’s better to combine device level optimization with a holistic system-level view, possible by using a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tool.

The CIO Asia article advices the data center managers to use DCIM in four steps to reap in the best in order to attain energy efficiency.

  • First audit the equipment deployed and also keep a track of its performance. Nowadays, all DCIM tools offer an intuitive interface for capturing all data points associated with each asset such as size location, power consumption and cooling needs.
  • Go with a strategy of grouping low-performing servers and the ones which are high performing. For mid to low range servers, the manager must decide on which to virtualize while trying to balance efficiency motives and honoring performance requirements. The challenge will be to define reasonable power capping policy for each category of servers.
  • Now, involve testing possible strategies. Start with the least aggressive policy and verify its results before moving on to more aggressive policies, advises the article.
  • Finally, after all policies have been applied, the data center manager can tune the physical infrastructure, using the DCIM tools.

If things aren’t working and you are in a desperate need of help, then Dynamic Network Factory can come to your rescue. The said company has deep knowledge in cabling and infrastructure, power and cooling, rack layout and design, security and management practices. All of these elements, put together in the right way, can make for long-lasting IT systems and true operational and energy efficiency for your company.

Just give these guys a call and start the conversation for your bright business future.

Call 510.265.1122 or click on DNF contacts page.

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March Networks introduces worlds first ATM security camera!

March Networks, a leading IP video solutions provider has introduced to the world the first ever ATM security camera. The March Networks MegaPX ATM Camera is the first self contained, covert IP camera with High Dynamic Range (HDR) image clarity and is specifically build to capture highly details video in all lighting conditions.

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The March Networks MegaPX ATM Camera enables bank security staff and law enforcement to clearly identify faces and other distinguishing features of those visiting cash teller machines.

This ATM camera from March Networks is ONVIF Profile S Complaint and can be deployed seamlessly to provide the high-quality ATM video evidence many financial institutions are seeking to fill a gap in their complete banking surveillance solutions.

The MegaPX ATM camera combines HDR and exceptional low-light performance to capture clear video in high contrast lighting, such as direct sunlight and near-dark conditions ATM vestibules and drive through experience.

Available with a 2.8mm standard lens or 3.7mm pinhole lens, the camera’s wide field-of-view records ATM users from the waist up rather than just capturing faces to provide more comprehensive video evidence. In addition, an innovative feature auto-corrects images recorded behind the tinted glass enclosures present in many ATMs.

Now, to all those financial institutions who want to use these network cameras in their ATM branched as a network, a smartly integrated Video Management System can serve purpose. Based on the configuration of March Networks MegaPX ATM camera, around 30-40 can be integrated to each VMS. If this is done, then all ATM cash withdrawals, vandalisms, ATM thefts and illegal activities taking place in ATMs can be tracked and the video evidence can be used for legal illustration purposes.

Moreover, all DNF Security video management engines and NVR & video storage appliances can be integrated with cloud video surveillance platforms for archival needs. So, cost of using a video management system and storage gets reduced by 40%-50% with this possibility.

Therefore, for all your Video management and storage needs, approach DNF Security.

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What are the current trends in the Container Ecosystem

Containers have had a growing use over the last year, in part because they provide applications with a lightweight, constrained environment that makes them easy to migrate, scale up and scale down across different hardware. They make it easier for developers to have a reliable environment for their software.

However one of the things that seems to be hindering containers right now is not the technology but its skill sets. In other words there’s people who are not probably aware of what containers can do and not able to take advantage of the season enterprises that want to get into it. They just don’t have the people around to do that. So, how do we build good container developers, good container architects?

How to build experts in containers

When you look at a Cluster Manager and the idea of Google’s infrastructure for everyone else, it’s really helpful to take a look at what Google’s operational model is. They have this segmentation of like Operating System ops, cluster ops and then application ops. The cluster ops layer feels like you know an area where there should be some more industry-wide emphasis on skill set specialization but the truth is there shouldn’t have to be a huge team managing thousand nodes of kubernetes cluster for example.

It can be a pretty small team. What ends up happening there is that the traditional DevOps skill sets move up to where they get to really stay close to the developers and focus on serve application-level concerns, monitoring and telemetry and how to do canaries and stuff like that.

There’s a lot of value-added but you really until you view that Cluster Manager layer, as you know for most traditional ops background like just assume that API is going to be there, it is going to be stable for you and you don’t have to worry about it too much.

The thing about the operation people in general is that things are always changing and are changing faster. I remember like five years ago were all trying to memorize all this cloud acronyms. Now it’s like starting again. Replication controllers, Pods and all of this kind of stuff.

15 years ago a developer was doing something very similar. There are new frameworks sometimes there is a new language community embraces. Operation people used to have a revolution every five years, now it’s like every 18 months.

Containers are being adopted so fast. From one point of view it’s like we need to make an effort to get people up to speed with these and train, and on the other hand it’s like just seems to become more and more the nature of this industry. At the moment there doesn’t seem to be any real slow down. Docker started existing essentially less than two years ago. Maybe moving fast is good but for sure one of the tradeoffs is you need to train people, they need to relearn things very often and it’s hard to find people that are skilled.

Incrementalism on the infrastructure side is one way forwards

One of the ways in which it might be possible to help operation’s people adopt to containers is by building bridges between systems that they are currently operating and the systems which the developers are demanding.

At the time being we are all talking industry about the future of containers replacing Virtual Machines and just rolling out completely commodity infrastructure and running container clusters on that. But that’s really scary to an ops person and enterprise because they have already got networking setup they like, they have got the storage setup they like, and so on. There is definitely a scope to integrate the tools in a way that makes sense to the enterprise ops person.

Enterprise owners report that they need to adopt cloud and basically they got that out into the enterprise and they got the developers over on the cloud system, and then they brought in containers on top of that and they brought in new data systems. They brought in lots of different things that keep layering on top of it. So we are changing so fast that enterprises are saturated with change, they just can’t seem to change anymore. Does this mean that

 We have development challenges inside of enterprises?

Micro-kernels seem to be the next thing. It’s compelling to go and understand how micro-kernels work and compiling applications using it. This evolution of this disruptive technology where we are all hooked on it and it is accelerating and it’s disruptive and it creates new business models and new opportunities.

One of the problems that is just kind of blocking adoption today is the idea of composite applications which is a real problem facing enterprises. This means how you bundle up manifested references for series of source images and as a community to use kind of a decentralized get back to model to share best practices for modeling workloads that can actually run.

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Using Veeam Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

To demonstrate restoring to Azure, we take a backup file that’s uploaded before and restore it after the initial configuration with Veeam direct restore to Microsoft Azure. Restoring a backup of a desktop as a Virtual Machine into Microsoft Azure you can do the following.

After connecting through RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) to the Virtual Machine, you can start the feature with the icon on the desktop. You will receive the theme recovery appliance for Microsoft Azure window. You will notice a few options: Restore, Advanced mode, Configuration and How To.

veeam Backup

Configuration

Configuration only has to be done the first time and anytime you want to switch or add a subscription. In the initial configuration wizard press “Next” on the welcome page. On the license agreement page select “I accept the terms in the license agreement” and press “Next”. On the subscription page you’re going to need to add your publish settings file as you can see there is a URL on that page that will guide you to it where you can retrieve the specific file. Press on that URL.

veeam and azure

You will be guided to a log in screen where you have to “Sign in” with the credentials for your specific subscription. After signing in a download will be initiated for that publish settings file. Save it somewhere on the Virtual Machine.

Now go back to the wizard and browse to select the downloaded file and then press “Next”. On the summary page press “Finish” to enter the initial configuration.

Restore

Press the “Restore” button. On the select backup file to restore window, select the file that you uploaded before. The backup file will be read to see what the contents are. After that select the Virtual Machine (“VM name”) you want to restore and press the “Restore” button.

azure backup with veeam

A new wizard will open to allow you to choose all the necessary configuration for the Virtual Machine you’re going to deploy in Microsoft Azure.

First you will notice your “Subscription” that you added through the published settings file.

Azure and stonefly

Second you will need to choose the azure data center location where you want to deploy it. On the next page you can choose the Virtual Machine size (“VM size”). By pressing “Edit” you will be able to select the correct size for your Virtual Machine depending on the configuration you had before. You can also select a specific storage account if you have multiple accounts. If necessary you can exclude (“Exclusions”) discs of this Virtual Machine if it would have had multiple disks attached.

On the “Cloud Service” page you can make a change to the original name including the possibility to add a Prefix or Suffix, and you also need to choose in which cloud service you’re going to deploy this Virtual Machine or even create a completely new cloud service.

veeam backup in azure

Note the “Endpoint” board that you need to make a decision on to be sure you can RDP to the Virtual Machines afterwards. Also note that automatically we provide you with the link you need to RDP to the Virtual Machine after restore.

On the “Network” page you can choose to which network you want to connect the Virtual Machine, this will be a configured network already existing in your Azure subscription. On the “Reasons” page provide a reason and press next. Finally review your selections and go back to the wizard if necessary or continue to start the restore.

azure cloud storage

When the restore is done and successful you can close the wizard and get back to the feature. Now let’s have a look at Azure subscription where you can see your Virtual Machine running.

veeam backup with stonefly

When you go to “All Items” you can see your Virtual Machine running. By clicking on your Virtual Machine you can see the activity in “DASHBOARD”. You can also see more information such as the public IP in case you need it. You can use that information to connect to the desktop that you just restored.

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What Today’s Enterprises Think of Cloud Disaster Recovery

A  Cloud Disaster Recovery survey concluded that 9 out of 10 IT firms are confident in their disaster recovery in the cloud solution compared to 74% enterprises that use in premises disaster recovery.

Disaster recovery and cloud backup

96 percent of the 403 surveyed IT companies reported having a disaster recovery strategy. About 50 percent of the respondents reported using at least some aspects of the cloud, with 41 percent using cloud and premises, and other 9 percent using only a cloud disaster recovery solution. 46 percent have physical based or on-premises disaster recovery and 4 percent with no disaster recovery solutions at all.

More than 50 percent of the companies surveyed reported having outage (downtime event) for at least 8 hours in the last five years. For every 24 hours of downtime, in the case of outage, two-thirds of the companies reported a loss of $20,000, with other 8 percent reporting that they would lose over $500,000.

Cloud disaster recovery is regarded by many as a strategy of preparing for a natural catastrophic event. Yet the most occurring reasons for the downtime included human error, virus or malware attacks, power outages and hardware error.

From respondent testimonials, the survey predicts that one third of the companies will update their disaster recovery in the next year.

More than half of the companies graded reliability as the most important aspect, followed by the speed of recovery, cost, usability and simplicity when shopping for a disaster recovery solution.

Despite their confidence about a disaster recovery solution, about a third of the companies believe that they are difficult to handle while the rest believe that disaster recovery solutions are too expensive.

Difficulty in use of disaster recovery solutions may factor in its slow adoption the survey noted, as two in five companies don’t have one.

40 percent of the companies test their disaster recovery plans once a year, 26 percent once every quarter, and six percent once every month. Six percent never test them at all, while nearly a quarter of the firms test them rarely.

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Pick the Right Cloud Storage Service with StoneFly

Microsoft offers Hybrid Cloud specialized application in Azure. Despite the wide range presence of Hybrid Cloud providers world round, Azure is made specially to meet enterprise needs, reports the executive vice president of Microsoft Corp, Scott Guthrie. Cloud technology

Hybrid Cloud enables enterprises to manage massive datacenters on which their business operates. Microsoft Azure is empowered with 38 cloud regions deployed in different geographical locations around the world, more than Google and Amazon Web Services Inc. Hybrid Clouds combined.

450 out of 500 companies are running their production software on Azure. Of those are Adobe, SAP and DocuSign that run their cloud applications on Azure. Motive for this turnout is the level of security and compliance certifications that Azure enjoys, more than any other cloud vendor in the market.

In addition to Mesosphere DCOS and Docker Swarm, Microsoft recently added support for Kubernetes orchestration to Azure’s hybrid capabilities. This will enable users to establish applications that use containers and scale and manage them in whatever framework they prefer.

Currently Azure is supporting both Microsoft and Linux operating systems. Governments, Military, public sector and over 75% of the large banks around the world are Azure customers.

Now in its eighth generation, StoneFly offers world-class storage technology on the cloud that’s integrated with Microsoft Azure’s Cloud computing platform. Of StoneFly’s integrated Microsoft Azure strengths are the competencies it offers to enterprises to extend their software infrastructure and storage with remote OS boot from the cloud and the provisioning of datastores for physical or virtual environments (such as VMware and Hyper-V).

With Stonefly’s cloud storage on Microsoft Azure you can easily add storage capacities to your server or workstation in a matter of minutes without the need to invest in storage appliances. Provision Flash, disk or hybrid storage as per your enterprise requirements on either local block level, cloud or remote iSCSI storage level. Stonefly’s cloud storage on Microsoft Azure is great for databases managed by SQL or Oracle RAC.

StoneFly’s iSCSI storage for Microsoft Azure is accessible with all the advanced data storage management options including, Asynchronous replication, mirroring and data deduplication. Optional data redundancy services are offered that are up to the end-user’s choice, with a minimum of 3 synchronous copies of your data within Azure’s datacenters hundreds of miles away.

StoneFly offers scalable cloud storage services with Scale Out NAS enabling enterprises to add nodes as their business grows without any impacts on performance. Azure’s storage capacity constraints are bypassed when using StoneFly’s Scale Out NAS Cloud Storage

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Veeam+StoneFly+Azure Cloud Turnkey Solution Webinar now on YouTube

For those who missed the Webinar on Veeam+StoneFly+Azure Cloud Turnkey Solution for Enterprise Backup & Disaster Recovery, here’s a YouTube video link which describes the procedure on configuring Veeam Cloud Connect using StoneFly Cloud Drive with Scale Out NAS storage on Microsoft Azure.

A briefing on Webinar content

Veeam and Microsoft have partnered with StoneFly to offer state-of-the-art storage options leveraging StoneFly’s Scale Out NAS Cloud Storage in Azure.

On its own, Veeam Cloud Connect for the Enterprise (VCC-E) Virtual Machines in Azure are limited in their storage capacity, making it necessary to implement additional scale out solutions.

Based on the many requests for additional storage space, methods, or other solutions to add flexibility to the storage options available to the enterprise customer in Microsoft Azure—Veeam, StoneFly and Microsoft have teamed up to offer the ultimate backup and disaster recovery solution.

For more details just catch up with the YouTube video.

Note- StoneFly organized a live Webinar on July 21,2016 at 11:00 AM PDT

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Online seminar on Veeam+StoneFly+Azure Cloud turnkey solution for Enterprise Backup & Disaster Recovery

StoneFly has obliged the requests of its product patrons, resellers & Veeam customers and is re-hosting a webinar on Veeam + StoneFly+Azure cloud integration to offer a turnkey solution for Enterprise Backup and Disaster Recovery.

The webinar will be hosted on July 21st, 2016 at 11:00am (PDT)

Enterprise Storage Expert Mo Tahmasebi will help you learn how Veeam and Microsoft have partnered with StoneFly to offer state-of-the-art storage options leveraging StoneFly’s Scale Out NAS Cloud Storage in Azure.

Online Seminar content in brief

Veeam Cloud Connect for the Enterprise (VCC-E) Virtual Machines in Azure are limited in their storage capacity, making it necessary to implement additional scale out solutions. Based on the many requests for additional storage space, methods, or other solutions to add flexibility to the storage options available to the enterprise customer in Microsoft Azure — Veeam, StoneFly and Microsoft have teamed up to offer the ultimate backup and disaster recovery solution.

By combining Veeam and StoneFly solutions, customers can bypass the capacity size constraints within Azure, quickly and easily add more capacity without sacrificing performance and throughput, and best of all, manage multiple Cloud Drive nodes with just a single interface.

Click the link of StoneFly for registering yourself for the webinar.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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Webinar on Veeam+StoneFly+Azure Cloud Turnkey Solution for Enterprise Backup & Disaster Recovery

Join StoneFly’s Enterprise Storage Expert Mo Tahmasebi and learn how Veeam and Microsoft have partnered with StoneFly to offer state-of-the-art storage options leveraging StoneFly’s Scale Out NAS Cloud Storage in Azure.

Webinar will be held on July 14,2016 at 11:00 AM PDT.

Click the link of StoneFly for registration

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Webinar details in brief

Veeam Cloud Connect for the Enterprise (VCC-E) Virtual Machines in Azure are limited in their storage capacity, making it necessary to implement additional scale out solutions. Based on the many requests for additional storage space, methods, or other solutions to add flexibility to the storage options available to the enterprise customer in Microsoft Azure — Veeam, StoneFly and Microsoft have teamed up to offer the ultimate backup and disaster recovery solution.

By combining Veeam and StoneFly solutions, customers can bypass the capacity size constraints within Azure, quickly and easily add more capacity without sacrificing performance and throughput, and best of all, manage multiple Cloud Drive nodes with just a single interface.

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Here’s a reliable IP Camera Storage calculator from DNF Security

If you are searching for an IP camera storage calculator which is reliable enough to quench all your video surveillance system needs, then DNF Security offers a software tool exclusively for you.

An IP Camera Bandwidth and Disk Space calculator helps to calculate required network traffic and storage space for your network camera based video surveillance system and this is just what the DNF Security Online IP Camera Storage Calculator does.

You need to just select a resolution and compression level of your IP camera and enter other details such as FPS, number of cameras, video quality, average frame size, frame rate per camera, hours each camera will record, desired days of storage per camera and then the estimated storage requirement along with bandwidth need will be presented to you.

In order to avoid, spammers and undesired traffic to this calculating tool, DNF Security follows a protocol. The user needs to just input details like Name and Email address in order to directly proceed to the IP Camera calculating tool.

DNF Security IP Camera Storage Calculator

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School District in California goes for StoneFly Hyper Converged USS!

StoneFly, Inc., a Silicon Valley based company offering simple and affordable enterprise solutions was recently approached by a School District which was looking to upgrade its current server and storage environments. The California based educational institution was searching for a suitable technology which could free the department from slow performance and ever growing need for capacity crisis and provide more elastic solution with low CapEx & OpEx.

The School District was using Tier1 storage and the warranty extension of the legacy equipment and the OpEx over the equipment was proving way too expensive. So, they were in search of new solutions that can not only prove elastic and flexible, but can also help them consolidate and virtualize their data center.

The experienced sales team of StoneFly recommended to them StoneFly’s Hyper Converged USS solution which could consolidate the school district’s data center into one redundant and highly available appliance. StoneFly Unified Storage & Server is an all in one hyper converged appliance which has computing, storage, virtualization and networking intelligence embedded into one easy to manage appliance which is highly scalable in future.

Consequently, users can shrink their data center footprint, by replacing their servers and storage environment with a single USS. The solution not only helps them in resizing their data center, but also brings a lot of savings– well appreciated by school board.

Hyper Converged USS runs on StoneFly’s patented StoneFusion operating system which is fully virtualized, offers features such as Tiered Storage, deduplication, thin provisioning, synchronous & asynchronous replication, full self back up and disaster recovery, private and public cloud connector for hybrid solution.

The Unified Storage and Server appliance includes a Virtual SAN Storage Appliance (SCVM™) and the ability to create additional Virtual Storage or Servers as needed. By migrating existing Windows and Linux physical servers to VMware-compatible Virtual Machines on the StoneFly USS appliance, users can greatly reduce their hardware footprint and run many more applications on much less hardware.

Furthermore, StoneFly offers reliable and affordable storage solutions which are available at a fraction of cost from other suppliers. Therefore, all those SMBs which are having tight IT budgets but are compelled to go for forklift upgrade (for reasons) can make merry when they approach StoneFly.

To know more call 510.265.1616 or click on StoneFly USS

 

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Video Surveillance in vehicles!

As governments are growing increasingly concerned over security in transportation segment, the in-vehicle security surveillance market is taking the spotlight with its rapid expansion. And in order to adapt to diverse settings, surveillance products designed for vehicles are showing four main characteristics which are High definition, network connectivity, intelligence and product specialization.

With HD surveillance driving the security industry to set higher standards, technological advances are fueling a new generation of products. Performance and image quality have become the main focus in product development for vehicle security. In the process, new business opportunities are also being explored.

As the demand for better image quality is increasing, high-definition cameras are cementing their place in the digital world. But the usage of in-vehicle surveillance cameras with HD quality is also mounting the need for high end data recording and storage solutions in vehicles such as cars and public, private and commercial transport.

DNF Security’s fanless series PC’s incorporate powerful hardware components such as Intel® 3rd-Gen i7/i5 processors, High speed DDR3 memory and Enterprise class hard drives to offer extraordinary computing power, fanless architecture and reliable operation in various environments that require a small footprint system.

This solution proves ideal to be used as a surveillance recording and storage tool for in-vehicle HD cameras. Whether they are dash cams, cameras mounted at the front and backend of fleet vehicles, or HD cameras deployed in public transport vehicles, DNF Security Fanless solutions acts as perfect computing solutions.

They are quieter to operate, compact in size, energy efficient, and also keep dust and moisture at bay.

For more product information, please contact DNF Security Falcon Fanless PCs or call 510.265.1122.

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