May 05 2014

EMC World 2014: Video Surveillance Drives Search for Big Data Solutions

By keeping tabs on their physical environments, more organizations are relying on software-driven solutions to sift through the petabytes.

If Shakespeare’s quote about the world being a stage and everyone being an actor has rung true for the past four centuries, perhaps it’s time to update it to something like, “Life’s a reality show, and everyone’s a documentarian.”

Between the smartphone-wielding citizen who uses video captured on his mobile device to call out injustices and the Google Glass-wearing techie who lifestreams his every move, people are racking up gigabytes of videos without even flinching.

When we talk about the growth of unstructured data, we should remember that multimedia is a huge driver of this growth, and surveillance video in particular is something more enterprises are interested in capturing, storing and analyzing.

EMC is a big player in the enterprise storage and Big Data space, and the company’s leaders shared their insights on what’s driving the rise of Big Data with media and analysts at the company’s annual conference, EMC World, which is being held in Las Vegas.

“The fact is, everyone is looking at 'How do I make sure I'm watching what's going on?'” says Sam Grocott, vice president of product management and marketing for EMC’s Isilon Storage Division.

“Anything that's audio and video graphics needs Big Data pools,” he adds.

Video Inspired the Big Data Star

Video surveillance is a perfect use case for Big Data tools because it requires organizations to capture everything, even if only a small portion of the footage recorded is actually useful.

“It's a classic case. Even when you use the data later on, no matter what, 99 percent of the data is throwable,” says Manuvir Das, vice president of engineering in EMC’s Advanced Software Division. “You're looking for an archive kind of storage. Most of the data is write once and never read.”

In particular, major retailers and banks, which have always relied on video surveillance for security, are increasingly seeking ways to better store, move and analyze their surveillance data.

ViPR, a software-defined storage solution that Das works on, allows organizations to separate the storage layer from the hardware layer and use commodity servers as storage points. It can also integrate with existing storage systems and expose that data as a Hadoop distributed file system (HDFS). This enables organizations to take advantage of the scale and speed of Hadoop, an open-source framework that has been heralded as a Big Data savior, Das says.

“Traditional models use an expensive database on top of a storage system. Hadoop has made inroads because it's a much cheaper way of doing data warehousing,” he says.

Affordable, accessible and reliable storage is essential for organizations using video surveillance, since video piles up so quickly and they’ll need plenty of storage.

“The data has gotten much bigger and much richer, and that's created this tsunami of unstructured data the world is dealing with now,” Grocott says.

To learn more about how the evolved storage offerings from EMC could impact businesses, read this take on EMC World from Nolan Nowak, an EMC Technical Architect for CDW, on the Experts Who Get It blog.