Dublin Airport Authority turns to virtualisation for CCTV data storage

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) is planning to use virtualised servers to store CCTV data for easy retrieval and improved management

Dublin Airport Authority will virtualise and automate its CCTV data storage by 2013 for easy retrieval and simplified data management.

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) owns and operates Ireland’s three largest airports in Dublin, Cork and Shannon.

“We have about 270 terabytes (TB) of CCTV data,” said David McCabe, technology solutions manager at DAA.

The IT team is required to store and secure all CCTV footage for 30 days to meet data protection and security-related regulatory compliance.

Until now, the airport authority used physical servers and disks to store CCTV footage. But DAA’s recent virtualisation project has enabled the IT team to deploy new dedicated SAN (storage area network) to virtualise the CCTV data storage and maintenance procedures.

As the organisation used HP’s converged infrastructure service for its virtualisation project, it will use HP SAN for the CCTV project. It will include a combination of VMware’s and HP’s server and storage virtualisation tools.

The savings of using virtualised servers for CCTV footage is substantial, said McCabe. If DAA were to simply replace its ageing physical servers with new ones, it would need 20 physical servers for storing the CCTV data.

“Each server would cost us about €3,500,” McCabe said. The IT team decided to use HP blade servers. “We need only eight blades and each costs about €3,000 yielding us big savings,” he added.

Cutting and simplifying datacentre space

Using high-density virtualised servers will enable it to cut down on the datacentre space used by the physical disks that currently store the data.

With the new system, the data from the cameras will go straight to DVRs (digital video recorders) and stored in the new HP SAN. “The new SAN has the capability to automatically overwrite data after 30 days,” McCabe said.

This automation will enable the IT team to comply with regulations while optimising its datacentre storage space.

The project will also simplify storing the critical data across two of its datacentres. 

“Backing up 270 TB of data will take us weeks and it is not practical, so we store the same data across two datacentres” McCabe said. This way, it can retrieve data from one datacentre if the other fails.

While DAA did not share the exact cost of virtualising CCTV servers, it is likely to be between €3m to €4m.  

DAA’s IT team is currently developing the design and strategy for the next-generation CCTV virtual servers to improve instant retrieval and the project is scheduled to go live by summer 2013. 

“We have the kits ready, but as it involves highly critical data, we are dedicating more time to the planning and design stage and will complete the project by June 2013,” McCabe said.

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