Storage Soup

Aug 21 2007   8:36AM GMT

Here comes the digital media bullet

Maggie Wright Profile: mwright16

Businesses and their storage departments have so far largely dodged the digital media bullet – other than maybe workers tying up network bandwidth while watching video over the Internet. It certainly has not resulted in massive storage growth and management problems though that is already changing in some verticals.

In industries that use digital media, such as oil and gas, real estate development companies and certain government agencies, they are already feeling the pain of digital media.

It is not uncommon for these companies to store digital images on tens if not hundreds of TBs that require hundreds or thousands of disk drives. This creates storage management problems ranging from how to best grow their storage infrastructure to data protection to managing the tedious but necessary task of  replacing failed disk drives.

The rest of the business world has so far largely dodged this digital media bullet though it may soon hit them in an area where they least expect it: video surveillance. Video surveillance is already standard practice in most businesses in high security portions of the building with video surveillance stored on VCRs or digital video recorders (DVRs).

The emerging generation of video surveillance technology eliminates the need for these one-off technologies, moving cameras and storage off closed networks and onto corporate networks. Using network-attached cameras, video surveillance software captures video and streams it across Ethernet networks to network-attached storage allowing companies to deploy network-attached cameras almost anywhere.

Though it is impossible to predict the scope to which businesses may adopt it, expect companies, even small and midsize businesses, to increase video surveillance for no other reason than to protect themselves against future lawsuits. Yet, right now, this technology raises more questions than it answers. Where will the cameras be deployed? How many to deploy? Who will determine video retention periods? Is it worth keeping a second copy of video as a back up? How can one know if the captured video is authentic? Who will manage its storage growth?

Video surveillance is still reserved for small segment of the market. But, with it no longer difficult to deploy or requiring dedicated staff to manage it, it will likely take only one well-publicized incident of where a company could have avoided a million dollar settlement to spark its corporate adoption. And, its adoption will usher in a new generation of corporate network and storage management challenges.

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