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Heightened physical security concerns spanning all industries, coupled with technological advancements is driving the requirement for higher camera resolutions, more fields of view with wider dynamic range and longer storage retention periods.
Reliable Storage for High-Definition Video Surveillance
Five Top Reasons to Choose Nexsan’s E-Series for DVS
Heightened physical security concerns spanning all industries, coupled with technological advancements is driving the requirement for higher camera resolutions, more fields of view with wider dynamic range and longer storage retention periods. Nexsan E-Series data storage systems reduce complexity and total cost of ownership with performance and capacity to scale and reliability to keep your video surveillance operations online.
The Surveillance Dilemma

Protecting property, people and assets have sharpened focus on the convergence of IT and physical security infrastructure. Surveillance mandates and best practices are requiring longer retention periods in more public locations and at higher video resolution requirements to support investigations of criminal and terrorist activities. This has driven an unprecedented need for secure, reliable, and high-quality searchable video evidence around the clock.

These growing surveillance requirements are in-turn, driving demand to broadly deploy digital video surveillance systems with capabilities that include panoramic, high-definition IP-based cameras, Digital and Network Video Recorders, video management software, indexing applications, facial recognition technology, big data analysis and the storage media to capture and retain it all for as much as 365 days.

These expectations mean new storage management challenges for digital video surveillance, including:

  • Maximized storage efficiency and scale as part of a video management solution
    • Increased capacity to meet the growth of live and retained high-definition streams
    • Increased density to fit within the constraints of the surveillance control environment
  • Increased performance for capture as well as multi-stream playback and search for investigative purposes
  • Reduced total cost of ownership
  • Continuous surveillance operations
More Hours, More Resolution, No Problems

Today’s round-the-clock operation is continuously challenged to do more with less and are required to increase camera resolutions, provide more points and degrees of view to capture broader areas with the ability to zoom in on people or objects without loss of detail, and deliver sharp picture quality for analytics.

More points and degrees of view mean that there are more camera streams while the need for cameras that have panoramic fields of view need to have a minimum of on one-megapixel (1MP) of camera resolution per stream. Depending on the actual resolution and the number of streams being captured, round-the-clock video capture and retention of all video for longer periods is increasing both the storage capacity and performance requirements.

Multiple streams and angles of high-resolution surveillance comes with a price, requiring up to 20 times more storage capacity that lower-resolution video captured with older technology. Further, the requirements to increase storage capacity are constrained to fit into close quarters control rooms – and cramped budgets.

The Surveillance Dilemma

Nexsan storage systems address these needs as part of the physical security ecosystem and are deployed around the globe into environments such as airports, financial institutions, transit authorities, government installations, casinos, retailers and sports and entertainment venues. IT and security administrators are always looking to maximize reliability, flexibility, performance and manageability. Easy-to-install Nexsan storage systems integrate with video management software and solutions that include the most popular brands of IP cameras, analog converters, DVRs, NVRs, video management applications, networking infrastructure and facial recognition/data analysis solutions.

Nexsan E-Series Overview

Nexsan E-Series systems are dense storage capacity platforms that can provide the network and storage performance necessary to handle hundreds and thousands of high-definition digital video surveillance streams without dropping frames – crucial for analytics and evidentiary acceptance.

E-Series can act as back-end storage for digital or network video recorders or can plug into large-scale IP camera networks using IP SAN technologies. You can scale capacity behind eight ports of IP connectivity in each E-Series, or scale capacity and multiply IP port connectivity by adding E-Series to your network to handle thousands of camera feeds and playback streams.

High reliability is a given requirement for digital video surveillance storage in the always-on nature of the physical security. E-Series delivers a nosingle-point-of-failure architecture that supports round-the-clock real-time monitoring, recording and analytic operations.

Feature Reliability benefits
Redundant components such as controllers, power supplies and fans Keeps systems running 24×7 – if a component fails, the other continues operation until replacement
ActiveDrawer Technology™ Keeps systems operational during maintenance such as swapping in new drives or other components
CoolDrive Technology™ Reduces risk of losing a hard drive during recording through lower systems operating temperatures

Increase DVS Efficiency and Scale

A single four rack unit E-Series chassis can be configured with up to 480TB in capacity, making it 10X more dense with an improvement in rack space efficiency of up to 5X over that of other Digital Video Surveillance offerings. A single E-Series can scale to over 1.4PB, and when integrated as part of a video management solution, can provide multipetabyte scale.

  1. Easy DVS Storage Management: E-Series is up and running in minutes and managed with simplicity through an intuitive, single-pane-of-glass interface, even when remote. Innovative ease-of-use functionality makes deploying, managing and maintaining storage a snap for the resource constrained professional.
  2. Greater DVS Storage Performance: A single E-Series can record digital video surveillance at a rate of 2.4GB/s and has been specifically designed to handle hundreds of parallel surveillance streams from high-resolution video sources without frame-drops.
  3. DVS Storage Uptime: E-Series includes CoolDrive and Active Drawer Technologies, that when coupled with an anti-vibration design, produces a highly reliable DVS storage system that reduces disk drive failures and improves overall system performance, contributing to an always-on surveillance operation
  4. Lower DVS Opex: E-Series delivers up to 87% reduction in power and cooling, lowering operating expenses and extending overall life of the system. Flexible power management allows the user to configure each RAID set to progress into deeper levels of sleep when they have not been accessed for a specified amount of time. Five levels of power management allow you to balance power savings and responsiveness for varying applications.
  5. Reduce DVS Storage Total Cost of Ownership: E-Series’ unique chassis design reduces scaling complexities that arise with less efficient storage systems. Deployments are simple; require less cabling, less rack space and less ongoing administrative costs.


E-Series Conclusion

Operational surveillance requirements mean a higher number of deployed cameras – ranging from tens to thousands – with higher digital resolutions that in-turn drive increased networking bandwidth, storage performance and the capacity to retain recordings for months. Nexsan E-Series has been a workhorse for digital video and media solutions and is a clear choice for digital video surveillance deployments.

Hybrid Rewriting Rules for Backup [Infographic]
This infographic quickly shows how hybrid storage solutions are bringing high- performance backup within reach of budget-challenged companies.

Tight budgets are putting tremendous pressure on IT professionals to rein in their storage costs. Unfortunately, that often means having to make do with lower-performance backup solutions.

But in our eye-catching new infographic, you’ll see how hybrid storage solutions—combining SSD speed with HDD economy—can offer organizations blazing performance along with with unrivaled flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

Production of rich media content isn’t just for Hollywood anymore; businesses of all sizes and from all industries are capturing, editing and producing content.
Learn how MAM solutions can help you manage content and assets throughout the media workflow.
Production of rich media content isn’t just for Hollywood anymore; businesses of all sizes and from all industries are capturing, editing and producing content. Chances are, you’ve got your share of challenges storing, sharing and organizing this content. Image, audio and video file sizes are growing dramatically thanks to the prevalence of high-definition and the increased adoption of even higher resolutions like 2K and 4K. New content tends to pile up fast, often with no good way to locate it, let alone efficiently collaborate with your colleagues to ultimately distribute the final product.


So you have all of your footage, but where do you store it all? And how do you organize it? A shelf full of loose hard drives is not the answer to asset library management, and neither are expensive silos of proprietary platforms and storage. Designing an integrated, open-platform system that can manage content and assets throughout the workflow, from ingest to archive is critical to producing your final work.

MAM (media asset management) solutions to keep track of your growing hours and terabytes of content are available from a host of vendors, offering enterprise features that promise more efficient workflows and faster production. While effective, these enterprise features have only been available to just that – the enterprise. MAMs can be expensive and complex with long implementations, potentially putting them out of reach of the average media producer.

Maximizing productivity requires a reliable, available, easy-to-manage and easy-to-scale storage solution. When you consider that 4K video can require as much as 1.5TB per hour, it’s no surprise that falling short on capacity is a common issue. The ability to grow with your content can be hindered by a storage vendor’s scalability options, often requiring disruption or even expensive forklift upgrades.

  • Flexible, Easy-to-Manage Storage
    • Storage solutions that grow with your content’s performance and capacity requirements in a non-disruptive, affordable manner that eliminates time spent managing infrastructure
  • Shared Access to Your Catalog of Assets
    • Centralized, resilient shared file storage, giving consistent and reliable access to content when needed to all workstations
  • The Right MAM for the Job
    • An affordable MAM that is up-and-running in hours and consolidates content, enabling instant search, discovery and collaboration operations anytime, anywhere
  • Positive Workflow Impact
    • A hardware and software solution that is optimized for your business; reducing expenditure, encouraging collaboration, decreasing OPEX and increasing creative output


The benefits of choosing the right asset management and storage solution are clear, but legacy solutions have typically been out of reach for most media professionals. A well-thought-out storage and media asset management solution that is tailored to your content workflows can revolutionize the way you and your team work.By enabling and simplifying the ability to search, discover, retrieve and collaborate, content can be at your fingertips and ready to work with in seconds. Lead time on content generation and delivery is dramatically reduced, enabling you to meet ever-growing consumer demand, deliver your content to market faster than ever before and drive new business opportunities and revenue.

Learn more about Nexsan storage solutions for media and entertainment.


Axle Gear MAM with Nexsan Unity Storage comes with everything you need to master your media collection.

Solution Details

[rev_slider Digital-Surveillance]
With the use of high-resolution cameras, virtualized servers, and highly-networked security operations, selecting the right storage solution is critical to capturing and managing surveillance video. Here are some storage options that meet the needs of surveillance.

v13-overview-v2-1-chartNexsan Video Security Architecture

Rising concerns over protecting property, people, and assets have sharpened focus on the convergence of IT and physical security infrastructures. The growing capability and reduced cost of high-definition IP-based cameras, Network Video Recorder and indexing applications, facial recognition technology, and big data analysis has driven an
unprecedented capability to provide secure, searchable video evidence 24x7x365.This capability has also driven new compliance and legal expectations. Video evidence is now de rigueur in criminal and civil cases, and retention windows are driven both by regulatory mandate and increasingly rigorous corporate policy.These expectations mean new storage management challenges for digital video, including:

  • Increased capacity to meet the growth of live and retained streams
  • Maximized utilization of network, server, and storage infrastructures
  • Secured chain of custody for evidentiary purposes

NexsanTM storage systems address these needs in the physical security ecosystem. Airports, financial institutions, transit authorities, government installations, casinos, retailers, and sports/entertainment venues – among others – already employ Nexsan storage systems for mission-critical security requirements. Additionally, most popular brands of IP cameras, analog converters, NVRs, video management applications, networking infrastructure, and facial recognition/data analysis solutions work with
Nexsan systems.

IT and security administrators are always looking to maximize flexibility, performance, manageability, and value. Easy-to-install Nexsan storage systems deliver world-class physical security capabilities – without the world-class price.

Seven Goals for Video Surveillance Operations

  • Consolidate NVR and video management instances to fewer servers
  • Integrate legacy CCTV and DVR systems into a fully-networked, manageable, scalable enterprise architecture
  • Reduce the footprint needed for video storage
  • Speed response to emergencies, investigations, and discovery requests
  • Decrease analytics windows
  • Consolidate valuable files from hard-to-manage tapes or optical disks
  • Reallocate time to securing the business, away from administering hardware

More Hours, More Resolution, No Problems

Today’s security operation is continuously challenged to do more with less. Increased camera resolutions are becoming a strategic consideration for surveillance, delivering the ability to cover more area, zoom in on people or objects without loss of detail, and deliver sharp picture quality for use in analytics. Many companies now require higher-resolution video to ensure compliance with insurance providers, increase loss recovering, and serve as greater deterrence to criminal acts.

High resolution also comes with a price, requiring up to 20 times more storage than lower-resolution video captured with older technology. Further, this increased storage capacity still needs to fit into close quarters – and cramped budgets.

NexsanTM E-Series system solves these problems, delivering enough capacity for 8 cameras to record approximately 6 months of H.264 constant bit-rate (CBR) video1 in just 2 units of rack space. And E-Series systems provide plenty of bandwidth for recording high-definition video without dropping frames – crucial for evidentiary acceptance.

High reliability is a given requirement for storage targets in the always-on nature of physical security. E-Series products deliver a no-single-point-of-failure platform that supports around-the-clock recording.

Feature Reliability benefits
Redundant components such as controllers, power supplies, and fans Keeps systems recording 24×7 – if a component fails, the other continues operation until replacement
ActiveDrawer Technology Keeps systems operational during maintenance such as swapping in new drives or other components
CoolDrive Technology Reduces risk of losing a hard drive during recording through lower system operating temperatures

Long-term “cold storage” retention is increasingly important for many corporate and regulatory compliance scenarios. Access E-Series AutoMAID™ technology to set policies for progressive levels of power conservation on any RAID set while remaining online, saving as much as 87% in power and cooling.

1Estimated storage requirements for 8 cameras recording at 1280×1024 H.264, 30 FPS. Actual capacity requirements may vary by compression, file format, FPS, resolution, and other factors.

Benefits Of Nexsan Video Surveillance Storage

  • More hours of video in less space – easily add capacity to support more cameras and higher resolutions
  • Nonstop video operations, even during maintenance – no need to power down systems even during common service operations
  • High-performing, continuous stream recording with no dropped frames
  • Easy to install, set up, and configure using wizard-driven management software
  • Ready for virtualization technology – supports VMware®, Microsoft Hyper-V®, and other major virtualization technologies
  • Highly secure protection for evidence, offering chain-of-custody and immutability tools to keep video and other data admissible for evidentiary purposes

Chain-Of-Custody For Evidence And Compliance Data

Evidentiary video clips, financial documentation, compliance data, and other information require chain-of-custody and immutability, Assureon storage systems deliver a highly secure fixed-data solution.

The Assureon™ turnkey archiving solution delivers the ultimate in data integrity for each file that is securely archived. Saved to an Assureon system, files (e.g., video, audio, documents, photos, mapping data) are fingerprinted to make its history and content unalterable after the fact. Active Directory™ and digital certificate support gives secure access only to authorized users, and leaves an audit trail of file accesses. Legal holds can also be placed on files in an Assureon archive, overriding other access policies. Further, Assureon storage offers AES-256 encryption with managed keys, enabling single-point global deletion by destroying the key.

Because the Assureon secure archive is designed to work transparently with existing applications, no APIs are needed to deliver these benefits for the physical security network.

When chain-of-custody is vital to your video surveillance retention policies, the Nexsan Assureon secure archive solution delivers.

Understand how much media data storage space you’ll need for each project by examining a Hollywood example and calculating your own needs.

Hobbit – A Look at Video Film Data Consumption

Understand how much media data storage space you’ll need for each project by examining a Hollywood example and calculating your own needs.

As video creators, you likely have a variety of content priorities for each project you undertake: resolution quality for your target viewing channel or device, multiple camera angles, special effects, graphics, b-roll footage and so on. All of these content elements come together to help you tell a richer story. But utilizing such elements (for example, additional footage or higher frame rates) also increases your data storage needs. When creating videos on a regular basis, it’s very helpful to know how much media data storage space you’ll need for each project (4k content storage can be particularly capacity-intensive), so you can deploy your media data storage solutions more efficiently.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey made headlines when director Peter Jackson announced he was filming at 48 frames per second (fps) versus the standard 29.97 fps we are accustomed to in the United States. Using 30 RED EPIC cameras, he filmed in 3-D at 5K resolution (or 120 pixels X 2,700 pixels). What does that mean from a media data storage standpoint? While the final movie may only be 169 minutes long, we can only guess at the total number of footage hours collected during the film’s creation…
  • 49.8 gigabytes per second of footage across all 30 cameras
  • 2.9TB for one minute of film across 30 cameras
  • 358TB for two hours of film across 30 cameras (1/3 of a petabyte)
  • 30 cameras X 5K resolution X 2 (for stereo images to make 3D) X 48 frames per second (each frame being filled with 5K pixels and color information).
    • 1 Frame at 5K resolution @ 5,120 pixels X 2,700 pixels = 13,824,000 pixels or 13.8 million bits of data (does not include color information or 3D)
    • 3D doubles the data so 27,648,000 pixels
    • 48 frames per second (considered High frame rate) is 1,327,104,000 pixels or 1.3 billion bits of data for 1 second of the film
    • 10 bits for color information (we’ll be conservative here) @ 13,271,040,000 pixels or 13.3 billion bits of data for 1 second of film
      • Black and white offers a single bit for color info
      • 10 bits provides colors
      • Luminescence is another set of bits.
    • 30 cameras @ 398,131,200,000 pixels or 398 billion bits of data for 1 second of the film

It’s estimated that the 2009 film Avatar was the first to generate a petabyte of information. And the trend is only growing.


So what does this all mean for your organization’s video production projects? Use one of the many video data footage calculators available on the Web and see for yourself what your storage needs might be based on your particular video resolution, frame rate, aspect ratio, and audio channel options. Here’s a few examples:

Now more than ever, you have cost-effective tools at your disposal to create a unique masterpiece. You may not need to create ultra high definition 4k content for your project, but there are still great benefits to building your media data storage strategy as you plan upcoming projects. Such a strategy is key to enabling you to collaborate on video edits across the office (or even across the globe), efficiently manage all your video assets, quickly pull archived footage into a new project, preserve your footage for years to come, edit multiple video formats…and complete your project more quickly!


Nexsan has storage solutions for every Media and Entertainment need. Learn how you can solve your UHD video challenges like larger file sizes with simple, non-proprietary solutions that expand your media storage as your needs grow!

Solution Details

Learn the importance of file fragmentation and streaming performance when selecting the best post-production storage system.

We all know the Media & Entertainment industry has specific needs that involve working with small user groups, large file sizes and sequential file access. Because of these unique requirements, traditional IT hardware and software solutions struggle to sustain the required performance needed for post production solutions.

This is a two-part problem:

  • Lack of file system intelligence
  • Limitations in storage performance


The first challenge stems from a lack of file system intelligence. Every computer loses performance over time; defragmentation routines performed on a regular basis will help to restore performance for awhile, but the problem will occur again after a couple of months…or even weeks. Why does this happen?

Standard file systems do not have the built-in intelligence needed to handle defragmentation—especially when handling media files. In order to obtain the best possible performance from your system, the files should be in a “perfect layout.”

Perfect file layout entails writing one big chunk or one piece of data, located where the system can gather up the data in the least amount of time.

File Fragmentation

Unfortunately, that‘s not what standard file systems do. Instead, they break up the files into chunks in order to make maximum use of the available free space; this results in files being fragmented.

But that’s not all; as soon as multiple workstations write to the same file system at the same time, files unavoidably get interleaved on the disks, as the file system saves the files in the order they were written. So sequential files become separated. And that’s still not all!

As workstations send multi-threaded writes to the file system, the already-fragmented and interleaved files now get randomized. This is because multiple threads send files out of order, hence they arrive randomly on the disk.


The second challenge is due to limitations in storage performance. How hardware is designed can vary from vendor to vendor. And when a vendor lists performance specifications, too often they are giving peak specs that are generated by testing equipment configurations that you don’t need or cannot afford.Do not confuse traditional performance metrics like throughput or IOPS with what is really required for M&E workflows: streaming performance.

Fast throughput or high IOPS will not provide you with the performance you need in a workflow with real-time access requirements. In a typical post production workflow, there will be multiple clients attached to storage, and at times those clients will all be accessing that storage simultaneously.

When concurrent data access occurs, traditional metrics of MB/s and IOPS will not answer the question: “Do I have a enough performance for this set-up?” Determining the answer to that query requires knowing several key factors: the number of streams, their resolutions and frame rates, and if multiple streams are writing simultaneously to the storage.


Finding a solution to both the file system and hardware issues mentioned above will lead you to more money and make you a happy customer:

  • No loss of system performance
  • Fewer housekeeping tasks
  • Improved space and resource management
  • Maximized storage system stability, reliability and predictability
  • More time for creative endeavors

Recommended Post-Production Storage Solution

For more information on how to find a solution that meets these needs, learn more about the Bright Technologies solution with Nexsan.


Among the priorities for efficient storage management is an appropriate protection architecture. This paper examines how to architect storage subsystems to provide efficient protection as part of the backup and recovery process.
Key Considerations for Backup and Recovery
Among the priorities for efficient storage management is an appropriate protection architecture. This paper examines how to architect storage subsystems to provide efficient protection as part of the backup and recovery process.
(Physical Protection)

  • RAID 1
  • Primary Copy Recovery
  • “Instantaneous”


RESTART—Protection Tier: 2
(Physical Protection)

  • Point in Time Copies
  • Protection from Corruption, Data Loss
  • Journals & Logs
  • Local and Remote


RECOVERY—Protection Tier: 3
(Physical Protection)

  • RAID 1
  • Disk Library Primary Backup Target
  • Tape is now used for Portability, Geo-Seperation


LONG TERM SECURITY—Protection Tier: 4
(Logical Protection)

  • Archive
  • Compliance
  • Regulatory
  • Authenticate
  • Authorize
  • Administration
  • Audit
  • Single Instance Storage
  • Automated Replication
  • Scalable
  • Green


We all know how important it is to protect the crown jewels of any business—the data. Chief among IT challenges for data protection are the ever-growing rates of data and associated volumes.The question is, given changes in both business objectives and technology options, are IT departments protecting both in ways that make sense today? While data growth rates are a primary concern to business and technology leaders, business leaders are also very concerned with the cost of protection in a challenging economy. These challenges are driving business and IT leadership to look for ways of achieving the best possible cost, performance, availability and reliability for protecting their data and their business.

The Protection Architecture

To build an appropriate protection architecture, the business value of the applications protected must align with technology that results in a cost justified level of protection. Not every application deserves the highest level of protection money can buy. That seems reasonable and most would agree. To that end, the classification figure on page 3 is an example of how a classification schema can be organized. There are four major parts to a protection architecture. Each area has value differentiation. Protection Tiers
1 and 2 are focused on being able to failover or restart after a hardware failure, data corruption, or data loss and are accomplished using mirrored or point-in-time copies of volumes. This solution brief is focused on Protection Tier-3, which concerns itself with considerations for backup and recovery.

The overall objective of backup and recovery is to offer the ability to recovery from any failure or data loss within a specified period of time. The process of backing up, especially to disk, is generally highly automated after initial setup across applications, platforms and virtual environments. Historically, backing data up was largely the exclusive domain of tape rather than disk. Breakthroughs in disk technologies and pricing have led to very dense arrays that are power, cost and performance efficient. This has caused a shift in the primary target of a backup or recovery from a tape library to a disk library. In fact, according to a 2010 survey by the Enterprise Strategy Group, 62 percent of organizations currently back up to disk-based storage and then to tape; 18 percent back up to disk only; 20 percent continue to back up directly to tape1.

1Source: The modernization of backup: More disk, less tape by

Top Five Backup and Recovery Considerations to Disk

  1. Backup Fast – Backing up to Nexsan storage systems allows fast, efficient and automated protection. Not only is disk hardware fast, but software that allows for Synthetic Full backups greatly enhance performance.
  2. Recovery Faster – Recovery from Nexsan allows for aggressive Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs), partially because all RAID protected disk arrays can read faster than they can write. In addition, being able to only read the blocks required greatly reduces recovery time over tape.
  3. Reliability – Nexsan builds ultra reliable arrays with many layers of protection and no single point-of-failure architecture.
  4. Simplicity – Nexsan storage systems are purpose-built to be easily managed to reduce or eliminate the administrative burden of managing backup applications and tape devices.
  5. Cost Efficiency – By using Nexsan’s dense storage packaging and AutoMAID™ for power savings, organizations can reduce expenses significantly.
Classification: The Protection Architecture

Protection Tier Classification Availability RTO RPO

Mission Critical Data (RAID 5 RAID 10)

• Critical to an enterprise, continuous access

• Highest performance, near zero downtime

99.999% 1 min 0

Business Critical Data (RAID5)

• Very important to the enterprise, frequently accessed

• High performance, high availability, less than four-hour recovery

99.99% 1 hr 15 min

Accessible Online Data (RAID 5 or RAID 6)

• Necessary to the enterprise, infrequently accessed, cost sensitive

• Online performance, high availability, less than eight hours of recovery

99% 3 hrs 1 hr

Nearline Data (RAID 6)

• Non-Changing Data, Backup/Recovery – Unmanaged archive, cost sensitive

• Disk performance, automated retrieval

96% 24 hrs 8 hrs

Compliance Data (RAID 6)

• Managed Archive

• Enforced record retention and verifiable data integrity Discovery

• CAS Classification, index and search capabilities

• Audit

100% 48 hrs 0%
Item Disk Tape
Compression 2:1
(typically less)
Deduplication Y
5 Year Replacement Y Y
Removable and Portable Y
Performance Advantage Y
Reliability/Availability Advantage Y
Cost Advantage Y
Management Complexity Advantage Y
Encryption Y Y
(Write Once Read Multiple)

Recovery Time Objective
Mapping Protection Class to Technology


There continues to be industry noise that has positioned tape as an enduring, if not advantageous, technology for backup and recovery. The facts simply do not support such claims as all benefit categories favor Disk, except data portability. (See analysis in sidebar). For a detailed breakdown of the tape versus disk debate, read Nexsan’s white paper, “Making Cents of Tape vs Disk.”

The first major consideration for architecting an appropriate backup and recovery approach is in setting objectives. The two objectives that matter are the Recovery Time Objectives and the Recovery Point Objectives. The Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is the duration of time within which a business process must be restored after a disaster (or disruption) to avoid unacceptable consequences associated with a break in business continuity. The second important measurement is the Recover Point Objective. In a disaster, there will generally be lost data. The Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is the time (relative to the disaster) to which you plan to recover your data. Once defined, it specifies the minimum frequency in which backup copies must be made.

Once the RPO and RTO objectives are set, a storage administrator can employ the appropriate technology to meet the objective.

Best Practices

A well-founded protection architecture starts as a classification process to determine the value of an application when it is running and the impact of an application when it stops, which is used to set the RTO and RPO objectives. Protection tier-1 would typically represent the smallest amount of overall data and justifies a solution using a hardware RAID mirror or a software mirrored copy for failover.

A tier-2 protection scheme is used to protect from corruption or data loss and is part of a rapid recovery, thought of as a restart.

A tier-3 protection scheme uses backup data located on a disk library with advantages for reliable, high performance recoveries or offsite copies on tape result in days or weeks of time for a recovery.

What is important about this architecture and strategy is the idea that the value of data must be assigned to determine a recover point and time objective. That can be mapped into a solution capability which can then be used to choose the right technology to rovide an effective protection architecture and an effective business rationalization plan.

Disk Best Practices

Nexsan’s approach to the protection architecture is grounded in proven principles of matching the right technology to deliver the right data at the right time for the right cost. Because Nexsan designs and builds ultra reliable – Easy, Efficient, Enterprise-class storage, organizations can depend on their data meeting Service Levels for Protection and Recovery objectives at a price point that will please the business. Nexsan has solutions for Tier 1, 2 and 3. Using Nexsan storage in tier-3 allows for ultra reliable, high performance backup and recovery.

Easy, Efficient, and Enterprise Class

Nexsan arrays have been purpose-built to make it easy to select, configure, purchase, deploy, manage, and support storage arrays easily and efficiently. All Nexsan arrays have management features built-in to make them easy to deploy and manage so IT professionals can concentrate on the big picture.

Nexsan storage arrays are power efficient, space efficient and cost efficient.

With as much as 15 drives per rack unit into a chassis, and the most energy efficient storage available on the market, Nexsan drives down costs significantly. AutoMAID, which is built into every Nexsan array, saves up to 87% on power and cooling compared to other arrays.

Nexsan has achieved an unparalleled level of reliability with their industry leading reliability rate, hot-swappable devices, multi-path IO and no single point-of-failure architecture. The risk to business continuity is an important consideration when choosing a data protection solution.

It is important to use efficient applications as a part of the backup process. Most of the major backup and recovery applications are now designed to write directly to disk and offer added value through deduplication. Deduplication reduces the overall amount of storage required frequently by 20:1, which is about ten times better than compression on tape. Many backup and recovery applications also offer the ability to encrypt the data that is going into the backup repository for security of data at rest.


Nexsan storage arrays make backup and recovery fast, reliable and cost efficient by eliminating performance and management bottlenecks and reducing the overall amount of space, power and cooling otherwise required. Nexsan storage arrays offer the perfect balance of easy, efficient, enterprise-class storage purpose-built for the mid-market and are ideal as in integral part of the protection architecture.

Waste. By the time you finish this paper, the storage infrastructure within your data center will have just pushed up to 70% more carbon into the atmosphere and consumed up to 70% more power than it needed to. Discover how you can maximize storage power efficiency without sacrificing storage performance or incurring special costs to get it.
Guide to Green Storage
Waste. By the time you finish this paper, the storage infrastructure within your data center will have just pushed up to 70% more carbon into the atmosphere and consumed up to 70% more power than it needed to. Discover how you can maximize storage power efficiency without sacrificing storage performance or incurring special costs to get it.

Key Questions to Ask: Which vendors offer the most ecologically friendly storage solutions?

  • Which vendors offer green solutions?
  • What kind of solution do they offer?
  • How are they different from other vendor offerings?

How much of a reduction in power consumption and carbon production can be expected over a typical array?

  • Are claims validated by lab reports?
  • Can claims be substantiated by customers in the real-world scenarios?

Are there performance penalties to be expected in exchange for power efficiency?

  • What kind of applications can their green storage technology support?
  • Can the vendor’s green storage technology be leveraged in SAS environments as well?

Do green storage technologies incur additional expense?

  • Is the vendor’s green storage technology included with the cost of storage, or is it additional expense?
  • Are there associated license fees?


It’s what your data center is making of your energy and money right now with today’s storage arrays. By the time you finish this paper, the storage infrastructure within your data center will have just pushed up to 70% more carbon into the atmosphere, onsumed up to 70% more power and up to 70% more cooling than it needed to. Over a year, a typical 42TB storage solution will push 8.9 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere that otherwise could have been completely eliminated by a power efficient storage subsystem that meets or exceeds all the same performance, reliability and cost requirements demanded by your business.

It’s easy to ‘tune out’ those kinds of talking points as IT professionals have grow more and more cynical of vendor marketing that always seems to over-promise and under-deliver. But if green initiatives play a role in your organization’s priorities, power consumption solutions to the storage infrastructure are one of the easiest to implement and, thus, belong at the top of IT consideration.

Clearing The Air On Green Storage

In an age of energy awareness, somehow the storage infrastructure within data centers has largely flown under the radar. Public awareness of ecological conservation is turning off lights, replacing incandescent bulbs, innovating greater levels of vehicle fuel efficiency, all while IT professionals continue to purchase and use the same growing amounts of storage that are consuming more power and pushing more carbon than they did ten years ago.

In a world that has moved from incandescent to fluorescent, the vast majority of data enters are still using the same wasteful, storage systems that haven’t kept pace with ower efficiency progress. Sure, vendors want to jump on the “green bandwagon”and laim “green storage” when, in fact, the only thing green about their storage is the color of the box it came in and the additional cost of the software you had to buy. It’s become arder and harder for IT professionals so see through the green smoke screen of vendor marketing.

The dirty secret is that some storage vendors feel justified to make a “green claim” when making the most minor of power efficiency improvements, e.g. a slightly improved power supply or the promise of a piece of software to utilize less storage which just costs you more money in the end. The way some companies try to stake a claim in the “go-green” trend is akin to a monster truck going green with recyclable seats.

Storage vendors try to reduce the wattage of a fan while their disks needlessly spin at full speed when idle and call it a “green solution.” And of those who spin down, most deliver a green storage benefit that comes at the price of performance — a price not many applications can afford.

The world of green storage marketing is so upside down that one storage system, which reduces power consumption by a meager 1%, can sit right next to another storage system that can reduce power consumption by a whopping 70%, and both are marketed as “green solutions.” More than ever, IT professionals have to look past “green claims” and inspect actual consumption reduction.


Eliminate Waste

By utilizing power efficient storage systems, IT professionals can reduce this figure by 70%

  • The storage infrastructure in most data centers consumes roughly 40% of the total power distributions

The Green Opportunity In Today’s Storage Infrastructure

The economic and environmental responsibility of our age is demanding more from disk storage vendors. A lot more. That’s why companies like Nexsan are revolutionizing the storage industry with up to 70% in energy savings without a storage performance penalty—“Speed with Green.”

One of the reasons that storage energy waste has largely flown under the radar in the data center is because so much attention has been placed on the largest consumer of energy and capital expense in the data center—servers. However, with the advent of server virtualization and blade servers, IT professionals have made significant power improvements on the server level. Now that the server power problem is being addressed, attention has turned to the second largest consumer of power in the data center—storage.

While servers may be the largest consumer of power in the data center, storage is not far behind accounting for 40% of all power consumption in the data center. Kevin Kettler, CTO at Dell conducted a power inventory of his company’s primary data center and found that storage arrays consumed just 3% less power than the application servers.

With application servers becoming more efficient, it’s just a matter a time until storage becomes the top consumer of power, the largest producer of carbon and most significant source of waste in the data center. And with 50% aggregate data growth year over year, the power inefficiencies of today’s arrays can hardly be tolerated any longer from both an ecological and economic perspective.

To understand the gravity of the problem, one must understand the power footprint of today’s data center. It is estimated that 1.5% of all the energy consumed in America comes from data centers, which is equivalent to the power consumption of 5.8 million households and exceeds to the total power output of all the coal power plants in the U.S.1

40% of the power consumed by a data center comes from its storage infrastructure. What if you were told that 40% of your storage power consumption could be dropped by up to 70%, 40% of your data center cooling could be dropped by up to 70%, 40% of your carbon production could be dropped by up to 70% and 40% of your power distribution inefficiency could be dropped by an additional 70% at the meter? The cumulative effect of a storage subsystem that is 70% more power efficient than a typical storage system reduces the total ecological footprint exponentially.

A single watt saved on the drive level does more than just save power consumed by the drive; it ripples throughout the entire cooling infrastructure, power distribution infrastructure and ultimately slashes the carbon production from all three sources. For every watt saved on the drive level, roughly 3 watts end up being saved at the meter.2 (for more, see the “Power/ Density Paradox” White Paper).

1Source: Report to Congress on Server and Data Center Energy efficiency Public Law 109-431. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR program
2Energy Logic: Calculating and Prioritizing Your Data Center IT Efficiency Actions, Emerson Network Power



  • Utilize power efficient storage arrays
  • Increase existing storage utilization with virtualization and thin provisioning
  • Reduce storage with deduplication and compression
  • Consolidate data to more power efficient tiers

Building The Green Storage Infrastructure

It’s this level of ecological impact that Nexsan’s AutoMAID™ technology is saving on the environment which has forced the conversation around the responsibility to utilize power efficient storage. Following Wikibon’s Lab Report on AutoMAID, Pacific Gas and Electric company started offering rebates to data centers that leverage Nexsan’s exclusive AutoMAID technology. Real-world customers like CalTech, who store 2 petabytes of critical NASA data on Nexsan storage, depend on AutoMAID level 1 and level 2 to dramatically cut their power consumption while meeting all their performance requirements (for more, see the Nexsan case study, “CalTech relies on Nexsan reliability and Power Efficiency to Store Two Petabytesof Critical NASA Data”).

Whereas companies ignored the benefit of old MAID technology due to performance limitations, AutoMAID has changed the game by delivering “Speed with Green” — up to 70% energy savings with sub-second second response times to the first I/O and full speed to every subsequent I/O to deliver power efficiency even in the most performance intensive environments.

Up to this point, the largest efforts to reduce storage power consumption and carbon production have revolved around data reduction efforts (via deduplication, compression) and increased storage utilization (via thin provisioning and storage virtualization).

Most industry outlets talk about the virtualization of servers and storage as the best way to “green” a data center. However, as much as it is a step in the right direction to lower the number of arrays being used, it still doesn’t address the inherent power inefficiencies of today’s storage systems. It’s akin to a policy to reduce traffic without addressing the fuel efficiencies of the vehicles on the road. A much more holistic approach is to reduce traffic while increasing fuel efficiency.

That’s why technologies like thin provisioning and virtualization should be considered the LAST step in moving toward a green data center, whereas the FIRST step is utilizing storage systems that consume less power and cooling to deliver the lowest carbon footprint per storage density.

AutoMAID Comparison

Ordinary Disk Array Nexsan SATABeast Difference
No AutoMAID Annual kWs 770,179 479,297 60.69%
Using AutoMAID 1 & 2 Annual kWs n/a 132,777 480.05%
Annual Cost @ $.12 kW (compares ordinary disk with Nexsan’s AutoMAID 1 & 2) $92,421 $15,933 480.05%

Not to mention, the downside to a deduplication or thin provisioning implementation is the associated additional expense to use the technology. On the converse, AutoMAID spin-down technology comes free on all Nexsan storage units to deliver 70% reduction in operating expense and carbon production over a typical storage array that would otherwise be purchased to keep up with data growth demands.

Some would argue the reason for the lack of adoption of green storage, and the associated ecological and economic benefits, has to do with the fact that data centers are performance dependent and that green technology represents performance limitations.

The assumption is true if referring to early green technology like MAID (Massive Array of Idle Disks) that was introduced by Copan. The idea was good, but the performance penalties of an “On/Off” approach were so significant that only a handful of applications could leverage the technology. Similar “On/Off” technologies are used in other storage array offerings today.

However, with the advent of MAID 2.0, otherwise known as AutoMAID™, Nexsan realized the collision between power inefficient arrays with data center performance priorities and innovated “Speedwith Green” — spin down technology that could be used in any environment with most applications. By delivering the benefits of green without performance limitations, AutoMAID delivers a level of flexibility that slashes power consumption and works in every environment — from transactional on SAS, all the way down to archive and backup on SATA.

As much as the economic advantage of AutoMAID can be easily understood, just as valuable, but less understood, is the ecological advantage.


Over the course of a year, a typical 42tb storage solution will push 8.9 Metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere that could have been completely eliminated by an equivalent nexsan power efficient storage system.

The Carbon Footprint Of Today’s Storage Arrays

Ecologically, since the industrial revolution, increased amounts of greenhouse gases have been emitted into the atmosphere — dramatic increases in CO2, methane, tropospheric ozone, CFCs, and nitrous oxide. The concentration of CO2 alone has increased by 36% since the mid-1700s. These levels are considerably higher than at any time during the last 650,000 years — the period for which reliable data has been extracted from ice cores. Less direct geological evidence indicates that CO2 values this high were last seen approximately 20 million years ago. Fossil fuel burning has produced approximately three-quarters of the increase in CO2 from human activity over the past 20 years. The remainder is due to land-use change — deforestation in particular. The issue of climate change has sparked debate about the benefits of limiting industrial emissions of greenhouse gases verses the costs that such changes would entail.

EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, announced in Copenhagen that the agency had finalized its finding that greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, pose a threat to human health and welfare.The EPA will soon begin regulating greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants, factories and major industrial polluters. Data center regulation is only a matter of time. In the U.S., The House has already passed a bill that would cap U.S. carbon emissions at 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. The Senate is considering similar legislation.

While global warming is not solved by any single action, the balance is dependent upon the cumulative effect of everyone doing their part. As individuals, the responsibility trickles down to things as simple as turning off a light or moving to a high-efficiency bulb to decrease one’s carbon footprint. In the data center, the problem is drastically larger, but, in many ways, very simple to solve.

Green Storage Best Practices

A variety of best practices can help us better understand efficiency. In storage, there are three things to consider to improve energy efficiency:

  • The additional energy consumed because of inefficient devices
  • The additional capacity required because of inefficient management
  • The additional floor space required because of inefficient packaging

Concentrating on these three areas of data center efficiency, Nexsan has focused its engineering efforts on solutions that cut costs and lead the industry in ecological leadership.

For example, consider a typical 42TB storage solution. Nexsan’s SATABeast can reduce each key metric by more than half when it comes to power, cooling and CO2 emissions when compared against other storage arrays on the market with, or without, virtualization and thin provisioning. Table 2 is based on a modest configuration. SATABeast uses a dense package and offers a 70% reduction in power over a typical disk array. With SATABeast, users have the ability to get more capacity onto a floor tile while reducing power consumption at the same time.

In ecological terms, the savings are also impressive. For example, by reducing power and cooling consumption by 70%, the amount of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere drops from 12.8 metric tons to 3.9 metric tons. That is essentially equivalent to the amount of energy used to power 7.73 single-family homes. Note that the above savings is considered with only a modest amount of storage capacity.

Energy Cost Comparison

Year 1 ECO Metrics Typical Disk Array Nexsan SATABeast Difference
Power (kWh) 13,447 4,097 70%
Cooling Power (kWh) 12,102 3,688 70%
CO2 Metric Tons 12.8 3.9 70%
Storage Density (Disks per U of space) 4 10 60%
3-Year TCO (CAPEX & OPEX) $205,521 $104,008 49%


With the convergence of our current ecological challenge, we are all faced with our own individual responsibility. No single action can solve all of the problems we face today, but we can’t ignore that the best solution lies in the accumulation of many small changes.

By harnessing the power of Nexsan’s AutoMAID technology in disk arrays followed by consolidation and virtualization, as well as deduplication, IT professionals can greatly reduce their data center carbon footprint while cutting costs as well.

Our contribution is relegated to the areas we directly influence.

So here are some recommendations to help you get started:

  • Start an ECO-management initiative
  • Set your AutoMAID policy to save power on your disk array
  • Store data more efficiently; look into virtualization and thin provisioning to maximize the capacity you already have after you have purchased an energy efficient array
  • Utilize technologies like deduplication to reduce the amount of data stored
  • Consolidate infrequently used data and use higher levels of energy saving technology against that data
[rev_slider Disaster-Recovery]
Key Considerations for Disaster Recovery
A Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plan is specific to the circumstances, priorities and expense of an organization, this presents a broad range of challenges. This brief outlines mid-market best practices for developing a disaster recovery strategy.
  1. Plan for Success – Whether by fire, power outage, hardware or human failure, or an act of God, setting rigorous standards for recovery service levels that are cost-efficient is the first order of business. Procedures must be well documented, detailed and up-to-date, as a critical step.
  2. Virtulization – Although virtualization is not required to have a tenable Disaster Recovery Business Continuity plan, it simplifies it by providing a robust, reliable and secure platform that isolates applications and operating systems from their underlying hardware. This dramatically reduces the complexity of implementing and testing DRBC strategies.
  3. Automation – Reliability in the backup and recovery process is increased proportionally to the extent human intervention is reduced. Automation also enables the unstoppable progression of changes in the primary data center to be mirrored synchronously in the backup location.
  4. Cost Efficiency – The protection architecture is often over-built with a premium solution applied across the board. That creates sticker shock and impacts an appropriate protection architecture at both the primary and secondary sites. Classify the necessary protection for each site to achieve a cost-efficient overall solution.
  5. Test-Often – Not only do you need an effective plan for a broad spectrum of failures, you need to TEST it… often! Several analysts have reported that many organizations never test their DRBC plans, or test them so infrequently as to be ineffective. The more frequently you test, the higher the probability of a successful recovery. Test at least once a quarter.

Defining The Tiers of the Mid-Market

Recent tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis have refocused attention on disaster recovery among business leaders and IT managers. While the broader scale of disaster recovery planning includes facilities, power, cooling, communications and people, data recovery remains key to business continuity. The tasks associated with the data center are a specialized and complex discipline that requires unique planning and management.Large scale, regional and localized disasters require comprehensive business continuity plans that include the use of a secondary data center located far enough away so that it will not be impacted by the disaster at the primary site. A secondary site can obviously be very expensive, causing some to minimize the expense by using external vendors that offer disaster recovery services. In either case; whether you choose to have a secondary site or co-located services, the need to organize and move data from the primary site to the secondary site remains if you want your business to survive. When it comes to disaster recovery planning, without a plan, you can plan on your business failing.

The Disaster Recovery Architecture DRBC for the Mid-Market

A Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plan is specific to the circumstances, priorities and expense versus the value decisions of the organization. This presents a broad range of unique challenges for the mid-market. While the “mid-market” is not strictly defined, it is not difficult to categorize. In an effort to provide context and guidance for how strategies must adapt to meet mid-market needs, we will look at the mid-market in three segments; Bottom Tier, Middle Tier and Top Tier.

Bottom Tier
This mid-market tier is comprised of organizations that are generally able to serve all their data needs with a single small-to–medium size storage array. They typically do not use advanced storage management capabilities but, like all businesses, are in need of highly available, high-performance storage that is easy to manage.

Middle Tier
The middle tier of the midmarket is represented by businesses that have multiple, sophisticated applications with varying demands (in terms of performance, availability, protection, recovery, etc.) to serve their users. Typically, multiple processes and procedures will be used for storage management in a storage infrastructure that is itself often tiered. This tier will likely have multiple virtualized servers managing capacities in the hundreds of terabytes. Performance, reliability and manageability are critical to their business objectives.

Top Tier
These are organizations that are more proactive in designing infrastructure with service level management, resulting in the definition of standard service levels. They will define data classes and policies in the management structure. Policy-based storage management processes are usually standardized. Compliance is managed and enterprise content management is linked to storage optimization. This tier frequently has multiple consolidated and virtualized servers with extended virtualization and Storage Resource Management (SRM). They will commonly have a tiered storage infrastructure to meet performance and protection requirements, including an archive for legal and business protection. At this tier, performance, reliability and manageability are at the peak of the requirements. These organizations will typically manage hundreds of terabyte or even petabytes of data.

The Disaster Recovery Architecture DRBC for the Mid-Market

Building a data protection architecture appropriate for DRBC objectives is an extension of building a backup and recovery plan as covered in the Solutions Brief titled “Backup and Recovery.” Suffice it to say, the principles are the same – understand the business value of the applications being protected and align that with technology, resulting in a cost-justified level of protection. Not every application deserves the highest level of protection money can buy. An organization must develop a classification schema to organize the value of an application’s data and the performance levels for recovery. However, a DRBC plan extends beyond storage and additional consideration must be given to the servers and networks.

Disaster recovery implies the need to restore full operation after extensive repair to an existing center, or to build a full recovery at a secondary site. Assuming that time is of the essence, a DRBC recovery strategy should be targeted for a secondary site to achieve the fastest possible recovery to maintain business continuity. When thinking about an optimal storage architecture strategy, organizations must also consider their tier within the mid-market. Each tier faces increasingly complex challenges in achieving a recovery. The least complicated bottom tier may simply have a bucket of tapes or may write to a secondary array at a remote location. This approach could include the higher tiers as well. Below is an introduction to the basic protection architecture to be used at a primary location along with the strategy used to synchronize operating systems, applications and data at a secondary location.


Protection Tier Classification Availability RTO RPO

Mission Critical Data (RAID 5 RAID 10)

• Critical to an enterprise, continuous access

• Highest performance, near zero downtime

99.999% 1 min 0

Business Critical Data (RAID5)

• Very important to the enterprise, frequently accessed

• High performance, high availability, less than four-hour recovery

99.99% 1 hr 15 min

Accessible Online Data (RAID 5 or RAID 6)

• Necessary to the enterprise, infrequently accessed, cost sensitive

• Online performance, high availability, less than eight hours of recovery

99% 3 hrs 1 hr

Nearline Data (RAID 6)

• Non-Changing Data, Backup/Recovery – Unmanaged archive, cost sensitive

• Disk performance, automated retrieval

96% 24 hrs 8 hrs

Compliance Data (RAID 6)

• Managed Archive

• Enforced record retention and verifiable data integrity Discovery

• CAS Classification, index and search capabilities

• Audit

100% 48 hrs 0%

The Basics of a Protection Architecture

The protection architecture is an infrastructural organization composed of layers of protection as a tradeoff against time and money. As an example, a subsystem RAID protection scheme is great for an individual disk failure, but it has no value if a water main breaks on top of the disk array and the entire subsystem is lost. Also, if a virus invades the subsystem, or if critical files are lost, deleted or corrupted, there must be a way to recover. There are four major Protection Tiers in an effective architecture with some areas of differentiation. Protection Tier-1 provides volume failover. If the primary volume fails, the server is able to recognize and “failover” to a surviving volume. Protection Tier-2 allows for rapid restart in case of a hardware failure, data corruption or data loss by using mirrored or “point-in-time” copies of volumes. Protection Tier-3 considers backup and recovery when “point-in-time” copies have also failed and recovery is necessary versus a restart. Protection Tier 4 is a logical layer of protection used for compliance regulations, governance and long-term archiving.

Each tier features tools that are used to provide local layers of protection. Architectural adjustments must be made to accomplish DRBC. This is differentiated from what is done locally by adding the ability to move data in each of the Protection Tiers to a secondary site. There are tools and techniques available to move data to a remote location for each of the tiers in the protection architecture.

Cold, Warm, or Hot Site

There are also ways of looking at the various Protections Tiers largely based on the frequency with which you update data. These views of the Protection Tiers are measured as Recovery Point Objectives (RPO). RPO determines how much data is willing to be put at risk between updates. This is sometimes referred to as “Cold,” “Warm” or “Hot” sites. A “Cold” site environment is turned on once to have software installed and configured then turned off until needed. This view of Protection Tier-1 assumes you are bringing data with you.

A “Warm” site is a backup site that is turned on periodically to receive updates from the server being backed up, thus reducing the amount of data at risk. You still have to bring data with you, or have it located nearby for a recovery. “Warm” servers are often used for replication and mirroring as “point-in-time” copies of data, mapping to protection Tier-2 in the protection architecture.

A “Hot” backup site receives constant updates and is on “Hot” standby, ready to take over immediately in the event of the need for a failover. This view of Protection Tier-3 offers little to no risk to data. If the “Hot” site is nearby, or if certain technology options are used, it can even be configured to share workloads and thus, simply picks up the workload in the event of a primary failure. In this event, the user is completely unaware of a failure and business continuity is absolute. Protection Tier-4 adds logical layer protection to this type of “Hot” site architecture to ensure compliance.

Amount of Data

Recovery Time Objective

Best Practices

A well-founded DRBC protection architecture starts as a classification process to determine the value of an application and its data when it is running and the impact of an application when it stops. This determination is used to set the Recovery Time Objectives and Recovery Point Objectives. The DRBC plan uses various software and hardware technologies to move data from a local Protection Tier level to the same remote tier level. Once that is done, the system is configured as a Highly Available Clustered System. A recovery at the remote site is equivalent to what it looks like locally, including the appearance that no failure has occurred whatsoever.

From a local point of view, Protection Tier-1 would typically represent the smallest amount of overall data. In this case, mirroring data with a hardware RAID or software solution for failover is cost justified. That is good news as it reduces the amount of mission critical change data that must be written to a remote site. Even so, if the remote site is farther than 6.2 miles away, using Fibre Channel is out of the question. iSCSI must be considered for synchronous or asynchronous data transfer at distances greater than 6.2 miles. Beyond the physical interface, there are various methods that can asynchronously move applications and file systems data great distances from a system point of view.

Tier-3 of the protection architecture would use anything from copies on a disk library, for reliable, high-performance recovery that ranges from minutes to hours, to offsite copies on tape allowing recovery that would be measured in days or weeks. What is important about this architecture and strategy is the idea that you must first map the value of data, which offers a recover point and time objective. That can then be mapped into a solution capability requirement used to choose the right technology that will provide an effective DRBC architecture with an effective business rationalization plan.

Disk Best Practices

Consider some best practices using a Nexsan disk solution within the protection architecture and for DRBC. Nexsan’s approach to the protection architecture is grounded in proven principles of matching the right technology to deliver the right data, at the right time, at the right cost. Because Nexsan designs and builds Easy, Efficient, Enterprise-Class storage, users can depend on data meeting Service Levels for Protection and Recovery objectives at a price point that will please the business.

Since many of today’s mid-market data centers have, or will soon deploy, virtualized servers, Nexsan has focused on implementing integrated virtualization capabilities for management that also aid in the objectives of DRBC. For example, Microsoft offers a number of capabilities for managing virtual machines and virtual storage. Nexsan management software integrates with these Microsoft capabilities. It is through this integration with Microsoft virtual storage management capabilities that Nexsan supports not only Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization system but also virtualization systems from other vendors including VMware, Citrix and Symantec.

Systems with multiple controllers need to handle the dual issues of array ownership and SAN load balancing in order to optimize performance. Host systems with advanced MPIO software, such as VMware’s ESX and ESXi, along with Windows Server 2008, can access a Nexsan storage array and discern the subtle but important difference between an active disk port and an active port on a service processor – thanks to Nexsan’s implementation of ALUA. Because I/O requests are sent only to active service processors, this enables optimal performance and avoids the overhead of switching controllers.

Nexsan has achieved an unparalleled level of reliability, adding tremendous value at both local and secondary recovery sites. Nexsan can be used as storage building blocks when matched within a larger scheme of technologies such as virtualization, advanced file systems and high-performance applications. Together, these create a complete solution that can be used to plan a rock-solid DRBC for any tier within the mid-market. DRBC applications that involve distances outside the reach of fibre channel, Nexsan offers a storage array specifically for iSCSI networked storage. This enables a simple implementation of a DRBC plan without the hassle of requiring advanced file systems and applications. Top and middle tier mid-sized organizations may already have advanced file systems and applications in place and may not need Nexsan’s iSeries product for iSCSI connectivity. On the other hand, some middle and bottom tier mid-market customers may find Nexsan’s iSeries ideal.

Top-tier, and many middle-tier, mid-market customers will already have virtualization, clustered high availability file systems and applications in place. Nexsan provides a variety of purpose-built, ultra-high availability disk arrays that serve multitudes of customers seeking best-in-class solutions that are cost-aligned with the needs of constrained business practices common in the market.

Customers looking to include a long-term archive as part of the DRBC plan find that Nexsan offers the very best technology available anywhere: the Assureon Archive Storage System. Assureon enables organizations to meet regulatory demands while ensuring data does not corrupt or worse yet, deleted before its time. If Assureon discovers lost or corrupted data during regular background maintenance sweeps, it will fix it first then let you know that a problem has been handled.


Achieving the right protection architecture for your Disaster Recovery Business Continuity plan requires serious attention to a myriad of details. IT professionals should never have to worry about their storage. Nexsan offers reliable solutions as a trusted partner to help build a DRBC architecture regardless of where your organization fits in the mid-market. Nexsan is known for Easy, Efficient and Enterprise-class storage – an important consideration when the survivability of data is the fulcrum that balances the survivability of your business.

[rev_slider Digital-Surveillance]
See why video streaming bandwidth is a key requirement of high-resolution surveillance systems—and how high-density storage arrays can help.

Increased camera resolutions are becoming a key strategic consideration for surveillance, providing the ability to cover far more area, zoom in on people or objects without loss of detail and deliver sharp image quality for use by video analytics solutions. Many organizations require higher-resolution video to ensure compliance with insurance providers, maximize loss recovery and strengthen deterrence of criminal acts.

Unfortunately, high-resolution video also comes at a steep price, requiring many times more storage capacity than lower-resolution video captured utilizing older technology. For example, traditional standard definition (SD) cameras record at 4CIF resolution [704 x 576 pixels (NTSC) and 5 frames per second (fps)]. High definition (HD) cameras commonly record at 1 megapixel (MP) (1280 x 800) or 2MP (1920 x 1080) resolutions, and 30 fps is typical. Thus a 1MP camera can require over 15 times the storage capacity of an SD surveillance camera.

But higher capacity requirements are only part of the challenge—HD recording also places enormous demands on the throughput performance of today’s surveillance storage solutions.



Simply put, a surveillance storage system’s video streaming bandwidth must be sufficient to consistently support and sustain write capabilities for multiple high-resolution feeds across a network. Note these bandwidth requirements can be daunting—just as an HD video requires vastly more capacity when it’s stored, it also demands far more bandwidth when it’s ingested into the storage system.

But that’s only part of the story; as noted above, a surveillance storage system must simultaneously support multiple high-resolution streams. That can mean recording dozens—sometimes hundreds—of parallel video streams, consuming huge amounts of bandwidth. What’s more, many surveillance environments can require 24×7 video monitoring, which boosts bandwidth utilization even higher. Depending on the number, duration and actual resolution of the incoming video streams, a storage system may struggle to keep up, significantly increasing the risk of dropped frames.

By their very nature surveillance video images are transitory; should inadequate storage bandwidth cause frames to be dropped, any information contained within them is lost forever. As video evidence often plays key roles in civil and criminal proceedings, the loss of such information can have devastating financial and legal consequences.

Spindle Density is Key

Deploying a storage solution that combines the enormous capacity and superior bandwidth that surveillance usage demands requires a storage system utilizing high-density architecture. Simply packing a conventional storage array with a multitude of high-capacity hard drives can yield vast amounts of capacity, but it will take up significantly more space, consume more energy and require more cooling than a properly-engineered high-density array. More importantly, it will deliver lower performance per U than a high-density array.For example, a high-density array can hold the same number of hard drives in 4U of rack space that would require 12U of space using conventional storage arrays. This ability to hold more drives in a given space enables greater spindle density which is key to obtaining maximum throughput. In short, performance increases when IO requests can be spread across more drive spindles. This greater bandwidth is also critical to ensure rapid access to stored videos when needed for use as evidence or by video analytics applications.

The ability to deliver superior bandwidth in a space-efficient array is significant; because surveillance video solutions are deployed in a wide range of physical environments, they often must be installed in confined locations with little available floor space. Storage arrays that may present an acceptable footprint in conventional data centers are simply too bulky and inefficient for use in the cramped control rooms that confront many security professionals.


E-Series High Density Storage: E-Series combines high-density capacity with superior bandwidth for recording multiple streams of high-definition video without dropping frames, which is crucial for evidentiary acceptance. A single E-Series system can record digital video surveillance at a rate of 2.4GB/s, and has been specifically designed to handle hundreds of parallel surveillance streams from high-resolution video sources without frame loss.

E-Series for DVS