Hyper-convergence and security

January 2016 Cyber Security, IT infrastructure

The convergence of traditional IT and security technology has been a reality for some time, especially in large projects where installers have had to set up large storage and processing servers as well as communications infrastructure to handle video feeds from multiple cameras, as well as manage and perform analysis on those feeds.

Brendon Hall.
Brendon Hall.

Brendon Hall, MD of Pentagon, explains that in today’s surveillance projects the amount of processing required as well as the storage and communications (bandwidth) required for high resolution video keeps growing. To install a traditional IT infrastructure is costly and complex, and the more cameras you have the more data centre space you need.

To reduce the costs and try to simplify the running and maintenance of these systems, the IT industry started converging the various components into a single solution. These converged solutions simplified things somewhat, but still required knowledge of the individual com­ponents, although management was simpler.

Hall says there is a new converged solution known as the hyper-converged infrastructure. This infrastructure is being installed in large projects to simplify the IT component of the solution; hyper-convergence is definitely not simple, but using the infrastructure is simpler and less costly from a TCO perspective.

Virtualisation technologies are critical for hyper-convergence. With virtualisation, one can run a number of server or workstation operating systems and/or applications on a single system, leaving the system to share the resources such as processing power, memory, storage, communications etc, as required. The management of the system is done by software, creating a more cost-effective and more easily manageable data centre.

Apart from management, virtual resources can be scaled up and back as required, and the combination of resources will include far greater storage, bandwidth and processing power in a single solution, with better performance, that would otherwise be possible. And all this in a much smaller footprint than traditional data centres require.

Hyper-convergence is not something coming in the future, however, as Hall notes, some security integrators are already delivering the benefits to clients. Pentagon, for example, supplied 1,5 petabytes (that is 1500 terabytes) of storage for four clients implementing large surveillance projects over the past month using Capsule Technologies utilising no more than 4 x half populated 47U racks. A traditional data centre installation would require significant floor space for all the IT components, however, the space and cost is reduced by making use of hyper-converged systems, and the complexity is also diminished.

The importance of hyper-convergence in the security industry is not simply a matter of simplified IT systems, lower cost, less space or easier installations. Hall says that if security integrators don’t make use of hyper-convergence in their solutions, they will force clients to invest heavily in data centre space and technology. The problem with this is that today’s businesses are no longer inclined to invest in that manner and will often choose to outsource data centre operations.

If your client outsources, the integrator will lose that portion of the business. They also lose the maintenance fees, not to mention control over the infrastructure which may now be managed by a third party with no security experience. And they also give traditional IT integrators another reason to add physical security to their portfolio.

For more information contact Pentagon Distribution, +27 (0)11 401 6700, www.pentgon.co.za





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