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Video storage leads to hyperconvergence for law enforcement agency

Ann Bednarz | June 20, 2017
HCI platform combines VDI, long-term storage and video storage arrays.

Hyperconvergence wasn’t on Philip Lisk’s mind a decade ago, when the Bergen County Sheriff's Office started using technology from Pivot3 to store data from video surveillance cameras.

“We were trying to store video in an IP world. That’s how we got to know Pivot3,” says Lisk, director of IT at the largest law enforcement agency in New Jersey’s Bergen County, which sits across the Hudson River from New York City. A 12-year veteran of the BCSO, Lisk supervises its networks and serves as the technical consultant to the entire county for video and data security.

Well before the term "hyperconverged infrastructure" was coined, BCSO chose Pivot3 for its converged server and SAN solutions, engineered specifically for storing petabyte-scale video workloads. Yet as the technology matured over the last several years, and BCSO kept up with upgrades, the deployment evolved from a tactical video-centric project into an enterprise HCI platform that’s set to handle many of the agency’s IT workloads going forward, including its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

For BCSO, video surveillance was the gateway to hyperconvergence, which promises to simplify data center operations by combining compute, storage and networking in a single, software-driven platform.

“We’re getting the best of the video stuff, along with the best of the VDI world, now running in one large array of servers,” he says. “It’s been a very natural progression for us.”


Booming storage demand

Over the past decade, storage requirements have spiked at BCSO, which employs 700 officers and staff members in seven locations, including the Bergen County Justice Center and Bergen County Jail. The sheriff’s office started with 100 cameras to monitor doors inside the jail, and today it operates more than 3,000 cameras installed in the county jail, courthouse and other facilities. More cameras are on the way as the county adds in-car and body cameras for officers. Over time, BCSO has expanded its storage capacity from 1 petabyte to more than 2.5 petabytes.

At the same time, the IT department gained additional end users to support when the county consolidated another administrative unit into the BCSO. Aging and outdated user equipment was the impetus for Lisk and his team to implement VDI to streamline the county’s IT infrastructure and eliminate its siloed data systems.

BCSO evaluated a handful of tech vendors and ultimately chose incumbent Pivot3 – largely for its ability to run multiple workloads on the same hyperconverged system. Running the county’s VDI solution on Pivot3’s HCI appliance clusters allow BCSO to combine VDI, long-term storage, and video storage arrays within a single hyperconverged platform. The ability to buy only what the BCSO needs now, and scale as it grows by adding additional nodes sealed the deal, Lisk says.


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