The need for reasonably priced storage to handle the large storage demand from 4K body cams being acquired by police departments is leading VARs who have not focused on these verticals to move into the space, and has also led StorageCraft to design a custom storage solution for it.
The demand for body-worn cameras in U.S. law enforcement has risen dramatically. So has the cost of storing the video surveillance footage that they generate. Accordingly. StorageCraft has designed StorageCraft for Law Enforcement, a solution specifically designed for law enforcement surveillance.
“There is great pressure to increase the number of bodycams in almost every county,” said Shridar Subramanian, vice president marketing and product management at StorageCraft. A recent study by the Major Cities Chiefs Association and Major County Sheriffs’ Association in the U.S. shows that 95 per cent of large police departments there are either using body cameras now or are committed to using them. Many smaller jurisdictions in the U.S. also feel compelled to adopt the technology. To date, they have been much less common in Canada, with most projects still in the pilot stage.
In the U.S., however, pressure for adoption is leading to major cost issues, because of the convergence of three factors.
“First, the number of bodycams is growing rapidly,” he said. “Second, the bodycams themselves are getting cheaper, and the resolution, is getting better. 4K is becoming more common and less expensive. so many get it now instead of 1080. The third issue is that the amount of time they have to retain the data is growing. Traditionally, with video surveillance, it was common to retain it for a couple of days. But law enforcement now tends to retain it for much, much longer. The result of these factors is that while it costs less now to buy the cameras, it costs more to store the data. Now, if it costs $500 to purchase a body camera, it will cost much more than $500 to store all the data.”
Subramanian said that none of the usual alternatives are good ones for law enforcement, with their large needs and limited budgets.
“With traditional secondary storage, they still have to make a new capital investment up front, and they also need to predict how much storage they need as well,” he stated. “The alternative of cloud storage, even in archival tiers, or specialized services, starts off less expensive, but gets increasingly expensive as they go along.”
StorageCraft for Law Enforcement starts with as little as 10 TB of storage, which can then scale up to petabytes in the same cluster. An entry level configuration of two StorageCraft OneBlox 4312 scale-out distributed object store appliances with 96TB of storage starts at less than $17,000. It can be installed and available in less than fifteen minutes.
“What StorageCraft here allows is an ideal combination, where the customer can have their cake and eat it too,” Subramanian said. “It is on-prem, but pay as you grow. It’s object storage underneath, and a file system on top. It’s easy to scale, and easy to grow, and you can keep adding nodes without a forklift upgrade. We sell the box without the drives, so they can put any drives in that they want.”
StorageCraft sells entirely through channel partners, and Subramanian said that the go-to-market for this will be much broader than just law enforcement or even video surveillance-focused VARs.
“We expect that it will be broader than that,” he said. “A lot of traditional VARS are moving into this space because there is a strong opportunity, often some bundling the storage with video cams and body cams as a one-stop shop. Given that almost every country and sheriff’s office in the U.S. is looking to bring these in, we expect that more partners will be moving into it.”