XProtect available on AWS

Issue 5 2020 Editor's Choice

Milestone Systems has made its XProtect management platform available on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) solution in the AWS Marketplace. XProtect on AWS offers a new way of designing XProtect systems, reducing the on-premises hardware required and leveraging AWS to remove the friction involved in setting up and maintaining on-site VMS systems.

The result is a flexible solution with elastic compute, storage, and networking, that adjusts easily to the distributed needs of the business.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked Milestone’s director for technology business development, Keven Marier, what this means for Milestone’s customers, its go-to-market strategy and its current reseller base. The question is an important one as Milestone has made its community a critical part of its growth over the years and cutting them out of its go-to-market strategy would be a dramatic change. Fortunately, Milestone’s partner ecosystem is safe and the cloud move includes them, and even streamlines their work with clients.

Marier explained that this move is simply another option for rolling out XProtect and will find traction in specific customer segments. Importantly, he noted that the term ‘cloud’ is often misunderstood. XProtect on AWS does not mean the XProtect system becomes a VSaaS (video surveillance as a service) offering, such as Arcules. Customers will have access to the same XProtect application with all the same functionality, but the hardware components will be hosted by Amazon.

Instead of having the servers and storage at your own premises, you will use AWS’s hardware for the same functionality. In fact, most customers will make use of a hybrid solution with some data and infrastructure on premises, and others on AWS’s premises.

As far as resellers and other partners are concerned, nothing changes. The installation process from the AWS Marketplace requires a ‘normal’ XProtect licence acquired from a partner, as if you were going to do an on-premises installation. Currently there

are two Milestone products in AWS Marketplace, the free XProtect Essential+ solution, and XProtect BYOL (Bring Your Own Licence), which requires a paid licence sold through Milestone’s existing distribution channels.

It’s worth repeating that both products provide an experience identical to XProtect software on-premises and are available across all AWS regions – which includes South Africa.

Faster and more streamlined

To understand the concept, Marier explains that the difference between the AWS offering and an on-premises offering is as follows: In an on-premises solution, the customer will need a partner to assist in specifying the infrastructure required – storage, servers, networking, power considerations, etc. Once the hardware has been acquired, the software is installed and configured to the customer’s requirements.

In the AWS model, the hardware is already installed at AWS and the reseller would specify what is required; this can be made available very quickly and the XProtect software from the AWS Marketplace can be installed and configured. While hardware vendors will state that the choice of hardware is critical to the performance of your VMS – and it is – AWS makes the process almost seamless and fast (as in setting up your server in minutes and being able to easily change the configuration at a later date), and the customer pays for the functionality of the software and lets AWS deal with the hardware – and Eskom.

Milestone has long been a leader in the drive for open systems, and this does not change either. All the functionality and plug-ins for XProtect work as they normally would, and the company will be offering similar solutions on other cloud platforms over time. Marier says AWS is about four times bigger than any other global cloud provider at the moment, so it made sense to start there.

The company has also tested the performance of its AWS system against on-premises systems and Marier says they found the AWS system is as close in performance to the on-premises system as possible. A demonstration run by Milestone showed a latency of less than 500 milliseconds in a project with 480 Full HD cameras on one EC2 (Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud) instance with graphic acceleration by NVIDIA. (While AWS has a local presence, there is some confusion as to whether the graphics acceleration is or will be available soon.)

Marier adds that the local bandwidth conditions have been taken into account, and a company with a 400 Mbps fibre connection will be able to manage 75 Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) cameras without a hitch. Additionally, companies with multiple sites with, for example, 10 cameras per site, will be able to link all their cameras to the same AWS instance and manage them centrally.

Kevin Marier.

Flexible, cost-effective, and reliable

The company notes that XProtect on AWS is ideal for large enterprises, smart cities and the like. “Such distributed multi-site organisations can now accelerate towards cloud-first initiatives and scale easily to meet business demand. AWS’s reliable infrastructure reduces the risk of service disruptions and ensures continuous operation. By reducing on-premises hardware, partial outsourcing of IT infrastructure, and turning capex to opex, XProtect on AWS can help organisations optimise their cost structure and deliver better results.”

Getting back to the Milestone reseller base, Milestone’s chief technical officer, Bjørn Skou Eilertsen, added: “Making XProtect available in AWS Marketplace will allow our resellers and partners to scale their businesses, optimise their services, and provide new customer experiences.”

Milestone will be offering partners training on the AWS product line for those who need to understand the best solutions to offer clients.

Find out more about XProtect on AWS at https://www.milestonesys.com/xprotect-on-aws, or watch a video on Milestone, the cloud and AWS in particular at https://www.milestonesys.com/events/digital-exp/mips-2020/mips-us-keven-marier/ (or use the short URL: www.securitysa.com/*milestone2).


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