By Darren Giacomini
The physical security world is constantly evolving. The migration from analog to digital triggered significant changes in both the market and required skill set to support these newer technologies. As we usher in the new year, additional changes are on the horizon. While virtualization is not a new concept, hyperconverged infrastructure is becoming more and more prevalent in the security market. This primer will focus on the benefits associated with virtualization and how it applies to hyperconverged infrastructure in the security industry.
The Benefits of Virtualization for the Physical Security market:
Enterprise based video management systems are typically comprised of management servers, workstations, archivers, encoders, and IP cameras. Each of these components have their own function within the video management system, and require dedicated resources to carry out their designated tasks.
More often than not, the video management system will impose limitations based on the software, and not the underlying components or physical infrastructure. This results in components be under-tasked, not taking advantage of CPU cycles, available memory, network capacity, and I/O resources to the disk subsystem. In other words, you define the role of the physical box, but between forty to sixty percent of the resources are not being allocated or used.
As servers become more powerful, the discrepancy between software and hardware capabilities result in inefficient use of resources. By partitioning the resources into smaller virtual environments, we can create multiple virtualized servers that share a common set of resources. By sharing these common set of resources, the virtualized servers utilize the resources more efficiently resulting in less wasted resources.
Rather than installing an operating system directly on the hardware, a hypervisor is implemented. The hypervisor partitions the resources, and virtualized servers can be deployed to each of the partitions. The most common hypervisors found today in the market or VMWare, Hyper-V, and KVM. While each hypervisor has unique capabilities services they provide, the underlying function is more efficient use of the underlying hardware resources.
Virtualization and Distributed Resource Clustering:
Building on the concepts of hardware abstraction and resource virtualization, hypervisors have the ability to provide high availability to the virtual machines by creating distributed resource pools across multiple physical hosts.
When you cluster multiple hosts together, and those hosts are configured to allow resource sharing, virtual machines now have the ability to run off of any of the physical resources that are distributed within the defined cluster. Virtual machines, within a cluster, have defined mobility between physical nodes, and their defined operation can now exist on any of the entities within the cluster.
In the event of a planned downtime, or a hardware failure of any host, the virtual machine can be moved to another functional host within the cluster. The high availability can be applied to management servers, archivers, or any critical resource that can be virtualized within the physical security environment.
Deploying high availability within a cluster will result in less downtime, and loss of live and recorded video within your physical security system.
Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Physical Security:
Hyperconverged infrastructure builds upon the concepts of clustering within a virtual environment, by virtualizing storage throughout the defined cluster. Each node that is added to the cluster provides additional storage and compute that can be utilized by any member of the cluster.
By converging virtual storage within the cluster, and providing fault tolerance, virtual machines can be moved or failed over to any node in the cluster and maintain access to its datastore. In traditional deployments, failure of an archiver or recorder will result in the loss of access to that data until the archiver is restored or operational.
With hyperconvergence, failure of the host, that houses the archiver, will result in a transfer of the virtual machine to a subsequent host in the cluster. Because the Hyperconverged infrastructure shares a common datastore, the virtual machine will maintain access to its data despite operating on a different host within the cluster.
Combined with video management software failover, hyperconverged infrastructure can deliver, unattended, failover with minimal loss of live and recorded video.
By leveraging the concepts of virtualization and hyperconvergence, physical security integrators can create an infrastructure that provides high availability to the video management system. When components within a video management system are tolerant to hardware failure, it results in less loss of data and continual access to the data from the failed component.
About The Author
Darren Giacomini is the Director of Networking at BCDVideo and has over 16 years of networking experience.