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.

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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How do San Gateways differ from Storage Servers?

San Gateways are typically appliances which are designed to utilize your existing network storage resources to create a universally secure repository for your critical data. These San Gateways are ideal for companies that want to leverage existing storage resources, but need to increase their level of privacy and security to meet data compliance standards.

Whereas a storage server includes integrated RAID Storage, where the user can select either internal or external storage arrays in a wide range of capacities. These appliances are ideal for companies that do not have a SAN or cannot afford to expand their current SAN storage capabilities.

Benefits of using San Gateway:

  • As said earlier, SAN Gateways allow users to assign or provision all or part of their existing storage through their existing or preferred available interfaces like iSCSI, FC or SAS.
  • The new volumes will be a part of the SAN gateway and can be encrypted, mirrored, replicated, data deduplicated, thin provisioned, etc.
  • The user can extend and growth storage on demand after few minutes of installation.

StoneFly, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dynamic Network Factory offers StoneFly Unified Storage Concentrator (USC) SAN Gateway Appliances to allow businesses to convert their existing Fibre Channel, SAS, or iSCSI Storage into their choice of Unified iSCSI, FN SAN or NAS Storage. The parent storage can be of any company like EMC, Netapp, Dell etc….

Once the storage volumes have been provisioned by the USC appliance, they can enjoy StoneFly’s numerous advanced data storage management features.

Built-in features of the StoneFly USC SAN Gateway include StoneFly iSCSI, delta-based snapshots with mountable read-write snapshot volumes, real-time synchronous campus mirroring of iSCSI volumes and nodes, thin provisioning with space reclamation, iSCSI port teaming with failover and load-balancing, as well as advanced storage virtualization services.

Optional features available for the StoneFly USC SAN Gateway include Fibre Channel SAN target, hardware-enabled block level AES256 volume encryption, asynchronous replication, NAS volume support for CIFS/SMB and NFS protocols, VSS support for quiescing databases, and optimized data deduplication for increased storage efficiency. StoneFly’s data deduplication capability allows users to fit 5x to 137x more data within the same storage footprint without reducing overall performance.

Highlight – If you have an expensive SAN storage in which large capacity remains under utilized, then StoneFly SAN Gateway can help in fully utilizing that unused storage capacity to obtain complete hardware utilization and considerable reduction in power/cooling costs, as it cuts down the need for buying another storage appliance for your future storage needs.

The company also offers StoneFly USC High Available SAN Gateway, StoneFly UES Highly Available Encryption Gateway and StoneFly UDS Highly available Deduplication Gateway.

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Dynamic Network Factory emphasizes on importance of data security!

Data Security of a company and its customers is vital for the success of any business. Especially in this technology driven world, identification of data thefts becomes highly essential, irrespective of the size of the business. But unfortunately most small companies are ill-prepared and equipped to handle the heavy weight responsibility they have with regards to their data.

Thanks to the electronic media, companies nowadays are learning on how important it is to secure their data storage. But most companies, due to reasons best known to them, still lack a good storage plan or resources in place.

In terms of basic sense, securing data means understand which pieces of info need protection and enacting proper procedures and safeguards to keep that data safe. If you ignore data security in your enterprise environment, then you are simply putting your company reputation at stake. And remember rebounding can be costly and the threats are only increasing.

For instance, in December 2013, a large retailer ‘Target’ experienced the second largest data breach in history. And despite trying their best to earn backup customer trust, customer count at Target stores is still less than average.

What’s more agonizing to the said company is that individuals and banks are pursuing the retailer for losses related to the security breach. The final payouts may reach astounding amounts, but the retailer will likely recover with the help of big financial and marketing experts.

Small businesses typically have smaller budgets and less support to recover from damages related to a data breach.

In the old days i.e. prior to 2000, data security was a lot simpler because there were only a few access points that data criminals could penetrate. The emergence of the Internet, mobile devices in the workplaces, and cloud computing services have made data criminals equipped with an increased arsenal of attacks.

The most common threats today include the interception of data, unauthorized access to data that is stored on hardware or flowing within networks, and theft of hardware or media.

So, what could be done now?

There are some precautionary measures which could lessen your risk of a data breach and they are:

  • Act now – It is a foolish approach to wait until a data security breach occurs in order to develop a data security plan. Going with a proactive approach makes complete sense, and shows others concerned that you have made an attempt to secure data that your enterprise manages.
  • Determine what level of data security is appropriate for your business – Honestly speaking; there is no one-size fits all approach in data security. A better strategy is to determine the best data security model for your business, and work towards a building the best possible defense.
  • Training program is essential – Here’s the point to notify is that the responsibility of data security falls on the shoulders of many, not just the owners, IT team or the head of the organization. Therefore, creating a culture of data security in your organizations is high essential. Employees need to realize the importance of the threats and so must do their part in preventing or avoiding them. Here, compliance will be an obligation.

If you have no idea on how to deal with data security then Dynamic Network Factory can work with your IT teams to evaluate the existing encryption strategy and policies. This process will start with getting detailed asset information on your enterprise hardware and software environment, sensitive data, and current security policy management sets. In combination with your corporate objectives, DNF Corp team will determine the business objectives for encrypting data-at-rest.

From the derived objectives, DNF will derive a plan and proposal to address the policies, architecture, and scope of the project to keep you enterprise protected to the fullest.

For more details call 510.265.1616 or click on DNF Data Security.

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High definition cameras usage increasing in Casinos!

Video surveillance in casinos offers a lot of challenges for security surveillance systems providers. This is due to the fact that these environments have diverse operational requirements and equally diverse operating conditions which pose as challenges to security cameras.

Technically speaking, gaming surveillance is focused on the activities that take place on the gaming tables and is used to settle disputes, prevent and detect cheating and also to protect the players and the Casino from dishonest employees.

Since, such systems require the ability to cope with high speeds on dice tables, and roulette wheels, low ambient lighting levels, difficult color contracts such as greens, red, blacks on card tales and other deep field requirements; they need to produce images with evidential level quality. Thus, the presence of such quality filled images not only helps in collecting surveillance evidence in a casino, but also allows to make sure that the correct customer is paid the correct number of chips for their win.

High definition security cameras provide six times the resolution of analog cameras, supplying images with sharper edges that easily identifies faces, cards, dice, chips, currency and fill slips.

Additionally HD cameras can also help in reducing total camera count in the premises. A single, 1080p camera can effectively cover poker, roulette or craps tables where traditionally 4-5 analog cameras are required.

If budget is an issue, then combining high definition cameras at choke points with 360 degree cams can provide extreme overviews of the entire casino floor. This ensures facial identification of a person at choke point, when an incident occurs.

Benefits of using HD cameras in Casinos:

  • One of the advantages of using high definition cameras in casinos is that it offers improved picture quality and greater sensitivity in low lighting.
  • It offers greater frame rate for post recording analysis by Casino owner.
  • Due to wider field of view, camera count can be reduced.
  • High quality of audio capture is possible.
  • Remote or mobile viewing is possible, if the surveillance cameras are integrated to an efficient video management system.
  • Simpler control room operations for locating and playback of video is possible with HD cameras.
  • HD cameras provide automatic recognition of premier customers or people on security watch lists.

If you need assistance in selecting the right cameras for your casino then you can approach DNF Security. It not only provides management and storage solutions for mission critical surveillance environments, but can also offer you assistance in camera section, camera count, deployment, installation and maintenance prerequisites.

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How to minimize unplanned data center outages?

Unplanned data center outages can cost $9,750 per minute to the server facilities and this was revealed in the latest survey conducted by Ponemon Institute. Thus, it can be confirmed that downtime is getting more expensive as data centers are becoming more valuable to their operators.

Most often unplanned data center outages are caused due to natural disasters like floods, earthquakes and Tsunami’s. Sometimes, hardware or software errors, which can be man made, also cause such troubles, which can make some server farms get into huge losses and sometimes get into irreparable mode. In fact, International Data Corporation research shows that two out of five enterprises that experience a disaster go out of business within five years.

Therefore, with critical data at risk daily, businesses have to be more concerned with developing a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. Here, an efficient insurance policy against disaster disruption is the implementation of a business continuity plan.

Dynamic Network Factory Corporation can help your data center access top quality expertise to duck your server farm from any kind of natural or man made disasters. Well, frankly speaking, it cannot dictate nature. But can help you out in designing an infrastructural architecture which minimizes and manages risk better with dashboard and expert updates.

StoneFly, a subsidiary of Dynamic Network Factory, will help you out in your data center infrastructure planning with its products such as StoneFly Cloud Business Center, San Based Replication, Disk to disk backups and StoneFly DR365 Disaster Recovery site in a box solution series.

Whether your data center is small or big, serving one company or acting as a COLO, DNF Corp propelled StoneFly Disaster Recovery solution will ensure 100% data continuity for your business, no matter how big it is and how many branches it holds.

Call 510.265.1616 or contact StoneFly Sales to learn more.

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Denton Central Appraisal District hosts tax data on StoneFly IP SAN!

Denton Central Appraisal District (DCAD) which is some 30 minutes north of Dallas extends several hundred miles and contains approximately 300,000 acres comprising residential and commercial properties. Each year, the district prepares and disseminates an annual appraisal roll, and then gives property owners three months to protest before final tax assessments are levied.

During this time, the demand for information processing typically quadruple and storage requirements skyrocket. In addition, DCAD’s heavy reliance on database technology and increasing use of imaging put additional strain on the district foundation.

In the last year alone, DCAD’s storage grew by 300 percent as new home development and other growth countywide caused significant increases in imaged documents including photos and maps.

To counter this challenge the foundation started looking for a solution which could support a major database migration from an older UNIX platform to Microsoft SQL server in order to appraise core software and geographical information systems.

As their IT team forecasted long-range requirements based on current and anticipated storage growth, they came to a conclusion that a storage area network (SAN) provided a critical piece of DCAD’s upgraded technology foundation.

After a review done on the current storage vendors in the market, Denton Central Appraisal District’s IT team zeroed on StoneFly IP SAN. It asked for a company representative’s presentation on the capabilities of StoneFly IP SAN. In less than 30 minutes, the representative set up a basic IP SAN with one server and one disk array to show the ease with which the system handles block-level file storage.

The interface was so intuitive and the system was extremely easy to use and the IT team of DCAD was impressed with the simplicity of “carving out” volumes.

Now, DCAD’s StoneFly IP SAN enables the IT team to meet fluctuating storage requirements easily and economically. It is also using the IP SAN as a backup and disaster recovery service for around 15 servers enticed with virtualization software.

Thus, Denton Central Appraisal District is now well positioned to tackle the annual processing rush when the appraisal rolls are made public.

To know more details about StoneFly IP SAN call 510.265.1122 or click on StoneFly IP SAN.

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Windows Server 2003 retirement details and some server migration tips!

Microsoft has officially announced on July 14th, 2015, that its extended support for Windows Server 2003 has ended and all those computing platforms working on the said OS should go for a next OS version migration. If not, the server and the clients connecting to Windows server 2003 will be vulnerable to cyber criminal activities.

In order to make the migration from Windows server 2003 to Windows Server 2008/2012 simple, here are some tips to help-

Consider Windows Server 2012 R2 – Microsoft has confirmed that its support for Windows Server 2012 R2 will be till 2020. The “Mainstream Support” for the older Windows Server 2008 version has already ended and customers are now getting “Extended Support” by Microsoft for the said version. This means it is just a matter of time until the migration from the 2008 to a newer version is necessary. Therefore, it makes true sense, to go for a Server 2012 upgrade, instead of a Server 2008 OS version.

Make a list of applications and workloads – Before the migration, always make sure that you have the complete list of applications and workloads which need to be supported by the new server OS. Also ensure that you compile the list of all software components that may/can get affected by the migration to a newer windows server version, including drivers. Especially, the Windows admin need to check if the new OS provides later versions for the server hardware, or used peripheral devices. Also keep a tab on whether your on-premises peripherals such as printers, all-in-one devices or scanners will support the new server OS or a new one has to be purchased.

Develop migration scenarios for different server types – For active directory and exchange server, IT admin needs to take special measures especially in terms of the sequence of the system migration.

What about hardware- It is a known fact that Windows server 2003 will run on a 32 bit processor. But for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows server 2016, a 64 bit CPU will be needed. So, admins need to consider exchange server platforms that are older than three years. New systems will also support more recent hardware components such as SSDs and provide enough performance resources for upcoming Windows Server generations and virtualization projects. Also, cut down in power consumption and heat generation can be observed, by deploying newer components.

Backup of Windows server 2003 will be essential – This offers a track back opportunity, if in case any issues with the migration occurs. Therefore, admins can restore data, operating system, applications and hidden partitions if the migration fails, even on new server hardware.

Convert backups into virtual machines – By converting backups into virtual machines, they are two advantages. Firstly, the virtual windows server can be used as a reference point for reinstallation. This can prove highly indispensable as Windows Server 2008 and 2012 R2 will include new features as dynamic access control which can cause issues with older applications. The other point is that the VM provides the possibility for a temporary roll back to the older server version and that can prove useful, if some kind of major technical issue surfaces in the migration process. As the IT department can witness business continuity and can spend the time focusing on error analysis and solutions.

Accelerate the migration with a master image – By the presence of a master image, a new OS, basic applications and settings can be deployed simultaneously to multiple server systems.

Carefully plan the data migration – The deployment of an image back-up ensures that all data for the migration are secured. Occasionally it happens with Exchange 2003, for example, that SSL certificates are forgotten and are not part of the back-up.

Finally, Windows Server 2003 which has been here for around 12 years is now outdated. So, in order to keep up pace with the latest technology, a migration to a newer version is essential, as it helps in keeping your server environment safe and secure.

If, in case, your IT team needs support in Server migration like selecting the best server OS as per your current IT needs, migration of applications, data, software and an hardware upgrade if needed, then do approach DNF Professional Services.

DNF Professional services, a business unit of mighty IT firm Dynamic Network Factory will give your office needs a complete makeover to your server environment. A team of experts will review your current server environment, assess what you have and what is missing and then start the process of technology selection. The selection will be done by keeping factors such as data migration, server virtualization, performance assessment & optimization, server consolidation, storage consolidation, data security, disaster recovery, business continuity and remote management in mind.

The total upgrade and migration pains are taken by DNF Professional, a subsidiary of Dynamic Network Factory in order to ensure its customer a smooth and hassle-free transition.

The service doesn’t end with the server migration process. If the customer likes and feels to have the service extended, DNF Corp can also maintain and support the services in full stream.

So, feel free to call 510.265.1122 or click on DNF Professional Services.

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StoneFly IP SAN makes business continuity and customer compliance simple for Nancy Specialty Foods!

Nancy Specialty Foods which produces around 35 tons of high end, fine foods daily from California to throughout North America is using StoneFly IP SAN to makes its business continuity and customer compliance needs simple. The IP SAN of StoneFly is making Nancy Specialty Food’s IT department ensures high-availability of mission-critical data ranging from email and business intelligence tools to vital Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) applications that support the said company’s supply-chain management strategies.

The technology foundation at Nancy’s is reinforced by state-of-the-art solutions from Cisco, Intel and Microsoft. More than 100 end users connect to crucial data, which is stored on 25 servers running Linux as well as Windows 2000 and 2003. While the primary data center is located at the 86,000 square-foot headquarters’ facility, the team also is responsible for managing a secondary onsite facility as part of a rapidly expanding disaster recovery initiative.

Traditionally, the company’s IT team implemented Direct attached storage devices along with hot spare disk systems on each server, totaling 50 storage devices and nearly one terabyte of data that required over the night backups and admin support.

However, as the company’s IT operations expanded, the Nancy Specialty Foods was in the process of strengthening its business continuity plans while preparing to embark on a large customer compliance project.

With that in mind, the proactive IT team started exploring ways to streamline storage provisioning as well as bolster backup and recovery needs for important company and customer data.

The biggest challenge faced by Nancy was its inefficient storage utilization with its Direct attached storage approach. And from Disaster Recovery standpoint, they wanted to separate the company’s storage from its servers while managing and provisioning it centrally. Even they wanted to get rid of the practice of having 10 hours of over-night backups which spread across networked servers and then the practice of offloading the data to a centralized tape library.

While exploring alternatives, Fiber Channel based SAN Technology came in their way. But the expense part of deploying it, made the IT department keep it as a last option. They came across, iSCSI, which was perhaps an Internet Protocol-based SAN which was proving as a more cost-effective solution. So, they opted for an IP SAN (iSCSI storage) and started to search for companies offering it.

Nancy’s IT department evaluated different IP SAN offering vendors while also working with Microsoft on a rapid deployment of Windows Server 2008 and Active Directory. To that end, they initiated a hands-on evaluation of leading IP SAN solutions from StoneFly, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dynamic Network Factory.

StoneFly IP SAN was chosen because of its flexible, modular architecture. Moreover, it also separated the provisioning and management software from the actual disks. Similar to a software defined storage support.

Before deploying the StoneFly IP SAN, however, Nancy’s technology team put the product through its paces during a month-long, proof-of-concept stress test. Using a Microsoft utility to simulate a 100-user, clustered Exchange environment, they reviewed traffic flow, response time, ease of use and reliability. As expected it passed out with flying colors as it met all the evaluation criterion of Nancy Specialty Foods without a hiccup.

With the IP SAN deployment, Nancy’s was able to reduce its administrative overhead while enabling its constrained IT team to meet increasing storage requirements without adding more staff. The company also is planning to deploy disk-to-disk (D2D) backups to enhance overall business continuity further. With Nancy’s primary and secondary mirrors, reflection readily protects the company’s data in case they experience an outage at either data center.

To provide an extra measure of protection against data corruption, however, the team plans to implement a third SAN for handling D2D backups while eliminating backup window restrictions completely. It can also go for a StoneFly DR365 in this approach.

To know more details about StoneFly IP SAN call 510.265.1616 or click on StoneFly IP SAN web page.

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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.

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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StoneFly IP SAN makes world’s largest broadcaster get rid of DAS for blade servers and new applications!

Capitol Broadcasting Company (CBC) is known to be world’s largest broadcaster, as it owns five television stations, a radio station and a radio network. This Raleigh based satellite provider is relying on StoneFly IP SAN to get rid of Direct Attached Storage for blade servers and new apps in its IT environment.

Going with the history, CBC’s WRAL-TV was the first station in the nation to transmit public broadcasting in high-definition television (HDTV) and the first station in the world to air an entire news broadcast using HDTV. So, with such humongous capacity of content to deal with the company’s data storage requirements outpaced its existing direct-attached storage (DAS) resources within no time. Additionally, the company starts to face another storage challenge of embarking upon a plan to implement a new email- archiving system.

CBC’s WRAL-TV was consuming around 850GB of local disk for email-archiving alone in less than two months. So, the company had only had an option to add more disks into the fray or go for a more sophisticated approach by adding a SAN appliance, which would allow the IT team to take storage and allocate it across several systems.

While e-mail archiving was the catalyst to move beyond DAS, other looming IT challenges which the company faced were also driving the need for more robust storage, including an IBM Blade Center initiative, and the desire to upgrade to a more effective backup system.

With a go-ahead from upper management, the company’s team of system engineers began surveying the IP SAN landscape. They looked at NetApp’s IP SAN offerings, and found to be prohibitively expensive. They also evaluated solutions from other leading market players, such as StoneFly, Inc. and LeftHand Networks… In the end, they determined that StoneFly’s all-inclusive solutions offered the most SAN for the money, with built-in Snapshot and replication capabilities to prevent against the loss of critical data, as well as centralized storage management, control and monitoring of logical storage volumes.

CBC chose dual StoneFly Integrated Storage Concentrators (ISC) to support its wide-ranging storage endeavors. Configured for CBC as an active-active cluster for load balancing and complete redundancy, the ISC systems offer all the scalability needed for the company’s expanding IT requirements. As the cornerstone of StoneFly’s IP SAN product family, which has been shipping since June 2002, all StoneFly ISC systems are designed from the ground up to support next-generation storage technologies including SAS, 4GB Fibre Channel and 10GB iSCSI, as well as large-scale IP SAN deployments.

In addition, they are capable of reutilizing direct attached storage resources, as they work in conjunction with StoneFly’s StoneFusion Storage Virtualization Technology.

StoneFusion incorporates Snapshot capabilities for instantaneous data recovery; block-level virtualization for increased storage utilization and capacity provisioning; and a comprehensive range of storage services such as clustering, storage consolidation, access control, volume management, and synchronous and asynchronous mirroring.

CBC gained the following benefits with StoneFly IP SAN deployment:

  • The company was able to retrieve archived items quickly and easily.
  • At the same time, the StoneFly SAN has also made a dramatic impact on CBC’s demanding backup requirements. Once required to perform tedious local backups across the enterprise, the CBC IT team now implement backups to disk using the SAN. The organization has experienced a 100 % increase in backup performance through use of this new streamlined process, cutting CBC’s backup window in half. With 6TBs of data to manage overall, the team of system engineers have designed a routine that entails full e-mail backups on a nightly basis and differential backups at regular intervals for other aspects of the enterprise.
  • CBC was able to further leverage the new SAN to support WRAL’s main file server, which failed in the midst of the new e-mail archiving project. The IT team assigned another volume to the SAN and hooked it up to a new server, eliminating the need for a hard drive.
  • With its e-mail archiving and backup challenges behind it, CBC began implementing a long-awaited plan to build a new IBM BladeCenter to accommodate a critical new document management system. The high-density Blades, which consume less power and require less cooling than traditional servers, were installed in a 14-server chassis. Because IBM offers BladeCenter systems with or without built-in storage resources, WRAL chose to consolidate storage resources efficiently by ordering the Blades without disks. The company was then able to centralize storage to the SAN, while using it as the operating system hard drive for the Blade- Center. This allowed CBC to implement a scenario in which the diskless Blades boot directly from the SAN using a QLogic iSCSI HBA.
  • With the StoneFly IP SAN supporting the BladeCenter, CBC was able to eliminate costly disk expenditures for the servers, while also gaining an added measure of redundancy. The flexibility of the SAN is such that, if one blade self-destructs, a replacement blade can be installed easily – without data loss.

Finally, the IP SAN is ready and waiting to support additional requirements at a moment’s notice, including a plan for a centralized CBC-wide email system. On an overall note, StoneFly IP SAN allows us to expand the company’s storage on the fly, enabling us to keep pace with the ever-changing storage demands of this dynamic organization

To more call 510.265.1616 or click StoneFly IP SAN.

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