Veracity Coldstore Scores a Touchdown at Levi Stadium


The San Francisco 49ers were building a new stadium for use beginning in the 2014 NFL football season. With an opening schedule set for July 2014, the pressure was on to complete the stadium and to make it both fan friendly and security conscious for all of the 68,000 (expandable to 75,000) people who could come to see an event. HNTB, the architectural firm hired to build the facility, made their top priorities the fan experience and the creation of green building.

Johnson Controls, Inc., (JCI) was awarded the security portion of the new stadium and presented Genetec’s Security Center as the best solution to manage the hundreds of Arecont, Sony, Mobotix, and Axis video surveillance cameras.

At the time the decision was made to move forward with Security Center, JCI was informed that the video surveillance storage needs would be provided by the 49ers and there was no reason for JCI to deliver this part of the security infrastructure. In their offering.

JCI and Veracity have shared a long history of successful projects and the team at JCI knew Veracity’s COLDSTORE video storage device would be a perfect fit for the 49ers.

One single 4U COLDSTORE was capable of delivering up to 90TB of video storage in a single chassis (84TB usable), which meant that the number of physical 4U boxes required to deliver over 3-petabytes of video storage would be less than a comparable RAID-based storage system.

Since each COLDSTORE only requires 66 watts, the power requirement for the storage needed would be reduced to a fraction of that required by a standard RAID system. In an effort to provide the 49ers with an alternative, JCI continued to explain to the decision makers within the 49ers’ management —as well as the general contractor (Turner Devcon)— that a viable cost-effective alternative to whatever storage system was previously considered was readily available.

Providing 3-petabytes of video storage by way of a ‘standard’ RAID based system is expensive to purchase and expensive to maintain. JCI was approached in the latter part of 2013 with a simple request – could they come in and show the storage alternative that had been mentioned?

Apparently, the storage that had been initially chosen to handle the video surveillance was expensive ($7,000,000), power hungry (3-petabytes would need something north of 50,000 watts), would need a sizeable floor-space footprint, and would require a significant amount of environmental protection via heat management and cooling.

After the successful installation of several demonstration units which were used to film and record all of the pre-season 49er practices, Veracity COLDSTORE was selected as the best possible solution for the 49ers over the solid-state solution that had been initially expected to provide storage.

During camera shoot-outs, the 49ers were able to select higher megapixel cameras as they knew that storage for these would be available at a far more reasonable cost-per-terabyte with COLDSTORE.

With COLDSTORE’s unique ability to use any consumer hard drive of any size in the unit, hard drive costs were also driven down and thanks to the low power requirement of the system the total storage would be operating on 3,500 watts.

The Levi Stadium system in use comprises:

  • 53 online COLDSTORE units with 3,180 TB RAW/2,968TB usable (3.1PB/2.89PB respectively)
  • 2 spare COLDSTORE units in racks
  • 51-watt average power draw per COLDSTORE for a total average power draw of 2,756-watts
  • Approximately 800 mostly fixed cameras (Arecont, Sony, Mobotix, Axis)

The 49ers saved money both in the initial purchase of the storage they needed as well as the operation of the storage.

Since COLDSTORE is not a RAID system, any failed disk does not trigger the need for a ‘RAID rebuild’ which is a process that almost always requires human intervention and lengthy maintenance times.

Since the COLDSTORE units chosen draw so little power &madsh;which means they create virtually no heat&madsh; it was not necessary to purchase additional cooling (dedicated to the storage system) which would have been required by any other system.

The 49ers also found another benefit to the choice of COLDSTORE &nadsh; a true return on their investment made on the system. By taking the cost per kilowatt hour of electricity in California and using that to determine the yearly cost of power to run COLDSTORE versus the same cost for the system initially chosen, the 49ers were able to realize a savings of $100,000 per year.

COLDSTORE, as provided by Veracity and suggested by JCI, is literally paying for itself over the life of the system and of the stadium.

COLDSTORE was not the only Veracity product used during the installation of the surveillance system at the stadium:

  • Veracity POINTSOURCE units were used for camera installation.
  • Veracity HIGHWIRE Ethernet over Coax units were used for cameras and networking in elevator cabs.
  • Veracity LONGPSAN units were used for several CAT6 runs exceeding 100 meters.

Veracity designs, develops, and markets innovative transmission, storage, and display products, primarily for network video surveillance applications. Their aim is to support the evolution and deployment of mega-pixel video surveillance, designing unique products that solve real-world IP Video problems.

Many of Veracity’s products are generally applicable outside the security market, in VoIP, IT, transport, process control, data-logging, building management, and safety monitoring systems.