Guest Column | March 11, 2014

How Storage Solves The Corrections Bottleneck

Storage Solves Corrections Bottleneck

By Olivier Thierry, Pivot3

The corrections market is synonymous with a need for an uncompromised commitment to security. From local jails to state and federal prisons, all corrections facilities share a mission of ensuring safety and security.

Video surveillance in the corrections environment promotes a safe atmosphere for inmates and correctional officers. Effective management can be a life-or-death challenge, and access to real-time video can alert officers immediately of a problem. Corrections officers rely on video surveillance to provide views throughout a facility and to supply real-time information on incidents that can erupt without notice.

The value of video surveillance in the corrections environment is unrivaled. Effective video surveillance technology can provide significant value in investigations and serve as a deterrent at corrections facilities of all levels and types. But video is only valuable if it is protected and stored. Here’s a look at the top challenges in this market and how effective video storage can maximize the impact of surveillance:

Facility Safety

IP-based video surveillance technology augments the effectiveness of corrections officers, allowing officers to view more areas in real-time at less risk from a secure, protected location. Inmates often outnumber security personnel, and surveillance cameras expand monitoring capabilities. After an incident, quick access to stored video minimizes the time officers spend looking for a specific image. Also, recorded video footage can be used to help train officers in response and situation management.

Retention Requirements

Video storage is critical because a single IP camera can generate up to a terabyte of data in one day, and video often must be retained for various durations depending on local and federal regulations. One corrections facility may be required to keep video data for one week, while another facility in a different jurisdiction has to store data for three weeks. Flexibility is critical when it comes to retention time.

Limited Space

Data centers in older correctional facilities often provide limited square footage. A scale-out storage system that combines server and storage functions into one appliance reduces the data center footprint by up to 50 percent while being scalable to expand on the fly as video recording requirements evolve.

Cost Reductions

In times of cost cutting, governments that operate corrections facilities are looking to optimize staff while minimizing costs. Consolidating server functionality and shared storage into one appliance eliminates the need for standalone physical servers. The approach provides a 40-percent reduction in power, cooling and rack space costs. Lower energy and cooling costs add up to significant savings every year moving forward.

Looking To the Future

In today’s dynamic market, corrections facilities should seek out a storage solution that is scalable, offering room for future expansion or restructuring should security needs change in the future. Many security and IT professionals assume that general purpose IT storage can meet the high performance and high availability requirements to continually capture full-motion high-definition video streams without data loss. This assumption is incorrect. Traditional IT storage devices are not designed for 24/7 write-intensive video surveillance workloads. Purpose-built appliances are designed to ensure critical video data is protected and stored.

Video surveillance is a critical tool in the corrections environment. With the thousands of jails and prisons across the country, video surveillance storage systems must be highly reliable, scalable and flexible enough to meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.