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HomeArticlesClouds on the Horizon - Warning

Clouds on the Horizon – Warning

JASON Calacanis, the founder of the people-powered search engine Mahalo recently claimed a new online storage service is coming from Google. Does this mean clouds on the horizon? What’s more, according to Calacanis, the service will be free. It’s a development that could have ramifications for CCTV people further down the track.

“Tried to get google rep to give launch date for Google Backup service,” Mr Calacanis said in his online update late last month. “He got mad flustered … u can be sure Google Backup is coming.”

And Calacanis underscored his speculation at the recent CEBIT show in Sydney.

“From what I know it’s coming out,” Calacanis told the press. “I know people, and I’ve heard that it’s being worked on.”

Simply stated, an online backup services allows users to save their files to offsite locations in data centres featuring robust intrinsic design features like HDD mirroring, dual servers, duel power supplies and super clean and stable environments. It’s been estimated that within 10 years up to 80 per cent of PCs will back up to off-site locations.

clouds on horizon

The importance of this Google development from the point of view of security electronics and networking people is its potential to popularize MPLS cloud network architecture. This is a model that has the potential to change networked video surveillance solutions significantly. True edge devices including CCTV cameras from manufacturers like Mobotix could store video in onboard NAND bins and upload events to data centres overnight.

The big deal here is cost. At a certain price threshold, use of data centres as a form of primary storage becomes compelling – especially for small/medium businesses or larger organizations which have significant existing investment in data centre rack space for general network support. But are there clouds on the horizon?

ISPs tout data centre storage costs as having dropped to the point where off-site storage is now a commodity but in truth this model remains some way off and that’s why Google Backup, if true, is so important. It will take a broad shift in the market to induce the lowered upload costs that would make offsite storage attractive for high demand metadata like video. More customers, means more competition, means lower prices.

Clouds on the Horizon

There are some technical challenges ahead, too. As megapixel cameras become more prevalent, network loads and storage demands are only going to increase. Manufacturers and end users will address these demands in a number of different ways. Cameras will incorporate H.264 compression which reduces file sizes by around 70 per cent for a given resolution. They’ll also look to incorporate analytics that allow cameras to record movements rather than blithely recording a scene for days and days without change.

And end users may need to adjust their expectations. For many applications there is no need to record scenes in which there’s no movement. Another potential change is going to relate to recorded frame rate.

We all love the idea of real time recording but most megapixel manufacturers are talking much less. Some seem to have settled on 15 images per second while others are preaching as few as 4.

Ultimately, frame rate selection depends on application but recording all cameras regardless of non-event, at 30 frames a second and on all inputs is an inefficient use of resources.

Most network people envisage a long term future in which all systems reside on clever, robust wide area networks supported by off-site data centres. What’s going to be interesting is just how the electronics security industry finds its way to onto those networks.  

What is online storage?

Online data storage is a virtual storage approach that allows users to use the Internet to store recorded data in a remote network. This data storage method may be either a cloud service component or used with other options not requiring on-site data backup.
Online data storage is generally defined in contrast to physical data storage, where recorded data is stored on a hard disk or local drive, or, alternately, a server or device connected to a local network. Online data storage usually involves a contract with a third-party service that will accept data routed through Internet Protocol (IP).

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Security & Electronics Networks - Leading the Security Industry with News and Latest Events. Providing information and pre-release updates on the latest tech and bringing it all to you daily. SEN News has been in print for over 20 years and has grown strong as a worldwide resource in digital media.


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