Eric Bassier, senior director, product marketing, at video storage and management specialist Quantum, discusses why hyperconvergence is poised to transform the data generated by surveillance systems of smart buildings and cities.

Autonomous vehicles, building sensors, utility appliances, personal assistants and other IoT devices are creating opportunities for a more efficient living. By bringing together the infrastructure and current technology available, the idea of true ‘smart cities’, something thought of as fantasy in films such as Minority Report and Blade Runner, is now a reality. Within this increasingly complex and smart world, video surveillance plays a crucial role. It provides many benefits including helping with traffic management to reduce congestion and recognise pedestrian patterns, surveying data to plan around big events, improve emergency response to disasters, and much more.

In fact, video surveillance is everywhere. In the last few years, intelligent, high-resolution network cameras at the edge of surveillance infrastructures have become more common making surveillance footage more valuable with the image quality and associated metadata they can capture. This does however dramatically increase the amount of storage required, raising the importance of storage platforms that are purpose-built to help unlock the priceless insight that can be extracted from the material gathered. From airports, public transport networks, stadiums, universities, hospitals, hotels, shopping centres to entire cities, footage captured from CCTV cameras is increasingly used for a variety of transformational purposes beyond security and loss prevention.

What we are seeing now is that as camera prices continue to drop, the number of cameras being deployed are multiplying and along with that, the resolutions are increasing too. HD-capable 1080p 25/30 fps cameras are the new baseline for what is expected. Going from standard definition (SD) to high definition (HD) and ultra-high definition (UHD/4K) is a big leap, and one that will enable better and more granular surveillance with enhanced zoom capabilities. However, this will significantly increase the volume of data to be stored and managed. Storing video as unstructured data, has to be cost-effective, scalable and future-proof, and as such, the potential avalanche of terabytes require a special kind of storage architecture. The answer lies with hyperconverged infrastructures.

What is Hyperconvergence?

Also known as HCI, this is a concept of bringing together three major components of IT infrastructure (compute, storage and networking), and using software to virtualise and manage them as a flexible resource. In layman terms this refers to “converging together” separate applications and hardware resources into a single hyperconverged system. Traditionally deployed in separate frameworks they are instead delivered via a single server containing an integrated software stack providing orchestration and virtualisation of all three.