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Size is Everything in Data Storage

ATTO Technology’s FastStream SC 8550
Users have several options for data storage, including the “cloud,” or large and small storage systems, so deciding which works best for an organization depends on its size, how much data is it storing, and the cost of each system, say producers of data management and storage solutions.

by J.J. Smith

Because of the growth of internet protocol (IP) video for surveillance systems, organizations are now tasked with not only deciding what type of storage system to use, but also how the data should be streamed to the storage system, says Jim U’Ren, the product manager for ATTO Technology of Amherst, N.Y. That has made managing the data stream as important as storing it, he added.


ATTO works with organizations that rely on storage, and some of the recurring issues involving data storage include ensuring the interoperability of the equipment, especially concerning video, says U’Ren. When a system is optimized for smaller transfers, it is usually associated with IT database transactions, but when transactions get larger—as they do with video—those transactions are going to have more difficulty, he said. The reason for that is those data stream systems are not necessarily tested for interoperability with the video transfer components of the systems, he said.

Aberdeen LLC’s AberSAN To deal with that, ATTO offers the FastStream SC 8550 storage controller, which has transfer speeds of up to 1500MB/s while providing parity RAID protection to multiple tiers of disk enclosures. It is engineered to run six streams of 10-bit, uncompressed video, or 30 streams of DVCPro HD video simultaneously for up to four users.

ATTO has taken the RAID out of the box to allow users to customize their systems to meet their needs, U’Ren said. The SC 8550 allows the user “decide how many disks they need behind the controller—up to 128—and (they) can architect their system to their needs,” he added.


Once an organization has decided how data will be streamed, the next step is to select a storage system, which is dependent on the size of the organization, and its needs for replication and backup of data, says Trenton Baker, the director of marketing for Aberdeen LLC, of Santa Fe Springs, Calif. which specializes in custom server and storage solutions.

Organizations that are small, (“say they only need four cameras”), can probably “get away with” storing their data on a “cloud” system, Baker said. However, data storage for large organizations—those on the “casino level” such as municipalities, airports, or corrections facilities where “every nook and cranny is under camera surveillance”—will always be local to the organization, he said.

Those organizations are using HD, IP cameras, and not the old analog cameras, so their data is going to take up much more capacity, bandwidth and space, Baker said. To provide those users with an appropriate storage system, Aberdeen’s “tweaked” its existing AberSAN product line to create a storage system that is “an inclusive, all unified storage unit” in which users can store “video capture” and other needed data, he said.

Maxell’s iVDR VC 102 The AberSAN line is a “large enterprise solution” into which images are streamed from significant numbers of cameras, and which there is a “significant need” for the clarity of those images, Baker said. The data needs of large solutions take up much more capacity, bandwidth and space, and AberSAN “is designed to meet those standards,” he said. AberSAN offers unlimited storage going well beyond 1PB (petabyte) of storage capacity, managed in one single Z-RAID array, he said. The added capacities can be achieved via cascading additional physical devices via XDAS JBOD expansion boxes. Future growth is ensured through optional 10Gbit Ethernet and 8Gbit Fibre channel connectivity, to help companies manage large collections of infrastructure storage and networking as a seamless, flexible and dynamic cloud storage environment.


While Aberdeen’s AberSAN line provides large storage capacity, there are situations where compact, mobile storage systems are needed. Providing a unit that meets those requirements is Maxell’s iVDR VC 102 video capture device, which weighs six ounces and will fit “into a lot of different environments and situations,” said Rich D’Ambrise, Maxell’s director of technology.

It is lightweight, portable, tapeless video capture device optimized for direct recording from virtually any FireWire-enabled DV video camera, according to Maxell, which has it’s U.S. headquarters in Woodland Park, N.J. The unit’s size makes it ideal to hold the video recorded in police and emergency vehicles, D’Ambrise said. When those vehicles return to their base station, the officer would remove the unit and offload in a main frame, he said.

The iVDR VC 102 has a storage capacity of at least 250GB, and up to 38 hours of recording time. It has a battery life of 90 minutes continuous recording, and a built in LCD with scrolling menu system. In addition, the iVDR VC 102 has other applications beyond police and emergency vehicles D’Ambrise said. Because of its durability, the petro chemical industry is considering using the unit for oil and gas exploration, and because of its size, it would be good for the military, he said.