Burbank Police CCTV

Burbank Police Dept. Replaces Analog Media with JetStor RAID Arrays

Video surveillance is a boon to police departments and other government agencies, but the video often needs to be preserved as potential evidence for investigations. For users of analog systems, this means recording video on bulky tapes, a challenge for the police department of Burbank, CA, the “media capital of the world.” 

The Burbank Police Department has been using analog cameras to safeguard its headquarters, requiring staff to replace videocassettes every eight hours as they became filled and then to store the tapes. Storage was time-consuming, labor-intensive, and inefficient, but replacing the entire analog system with an IP solution was too costly.

Read more below about how the Burbank Police Department deployed an IP video storage solution with JetStor RAID Arrays that supports its analog cameras and all but automates the archiving of video footage.

Burbank, CA. Police Department Streamlines Video Storage With an IP Solution and a JetStor Raid Array

Often called the “media capital of the world,” Burbank, California, is one of Los Angeles County’s storied cities. “A city built by People, Pride, and Progress” according to its motto, Burbank is home for the headquarters or production facilities of such media and entertainment leaders as Warner Bros. Entertainment, Warner Music Group, NBC Universal, The Walt Disney Company, the Cartoon Network, Viacom, Nickelodeon, and PBS.

The stylish Burbank Police and Fire Headquarters Facility, the police department’s headquarters, is worthy of Burbank, featuring an atrium and a statue of a police officer and firefighter outside.

The Burbank Police Department’s mission, of course, is to protect its community of some 103,000 citizens and this starts within the Burbank Police and Fire Headquarters Facility. The building has long relied on an NTSC video surveillance system to monitor the entire site, including its jail in the basement that houses up to 73 felony and misdemeanor arrestees, and the parking lot outside.

The system uses an analog matrix switch that enables officers to view any of the feeds coming from some 32 cameras. The state of California, however, mandates that surveillance video be stored for a year as evidentiary records, compelling the Burbank Police Department to preserve its analog video on VHS tapes.

The department used time-lapse video so all the cameras did not record at once, but each VHS tape could store only eight hours of video, requiring officers to replace them three times every day. Moreover, the department had to store many boxes of recorded tapes, which consumed a lot of space, and sorting through all the tapes to find any one in particular was laborious. “The analog video system became a time-consuming administrative headache, and the department wanted a more modern and efficient system,” said Casimir B., Professional Services Engineer for Enterprise Security, Inc., an Anaheim, California-based provider of access control and video surveillance systems. “With our experience delivering video surveillance for law enforcement and Homeland Security needs, we proposed a storage solution that has proven itself for such mission-critical deployments.”

One JetStor SAS 516iS 16-bay iSCSI RAID Array with 2 Tb disks from Advanced Computer & Network Corporation (AC&NC). VideoEdge Network Video Recorder on a Dell PowerEdge R710 Server IP Storage for the Burbank Police’s Analog Video Surveillance System

• JetStor SAS 516iS iSCSI RAID Array with gigabit iSCSI links to the network video recorder
• Five American Dynamics VideoEdge IP Encoders
• American Dynamics VideoEdge Network Video Recorder
• Dell PowerEdge R710 Rack Server 

Enterprise Security designed and installed an IP video storage system in which the Burbank Police Department’s analog video streams are digitized and saved on a JetStor SAS 516iS RAID Array. The security vendor increased the number of cameras to 39 for greater visibility throughout and around the police station.

Rather than intermittently saving video feeds, all of the streams are now continuously stored on the JetStor solution. As a result, the police department has a complete evidentiary record of all activity within its headquarters for investigations and court proceedings. “The practical, economical way to store thousands of hours of video is digitally, but replacing the entire analog video system, including the cameras, would have been expensive,” said Casimir. “Instead, we preserved the existing hardware and replaced the VHS recorders with an IP storage solution.

The JetStor economically archives a year’s worth of video, even though we added additional analog cameras for greater security coverage.” The JetStor array also eliminates the need to manually replace VHS tapes every eight hours and then warehouse them. “The police department went from a very labor-intensive system,” said Casimir, “to one that is fully automated, freeing officers to concentrate on their law-enforcement tasks.”

The decision to retain the analog surveillance cameras and matrix switch meant their video streams had to be converted to digital files for storage on the JetStor RAID array. To this end, Enterprise Security installed five American Dynamics VideoEdge IP Encoders that receive the video from the switch, convert them to digital files, and compress them to conserve bandwidth.

From the encoders, a Gigabit Ethernet switch delivers the digitized video to a Dell R710 server that supports an American Dynamics VideoEdge Network Video Recorder (NVR). The NVR sends the data over gigabit iSCSI links to the JetStor system for storage, as well as provides streaming feeds that officers monitor in real-time. “JetStor solutions are economical alternatives to the products of other storage vendors,” said Casimir. “We’ve long partnered with AC&NC and our customers are very happy with its solutions.”

The JetStor array stores over 71 gigabits of digital video every day, and its 27 terabyte capacity ensures a year’s worth of storage. At the end of the year, the oldest files are overwritten with new video data. Additionally, the JetStor system is configured for RAID 5, which uses block-level striping with distributed parity data. RAID 5 protects the police department against data loss while providing high-speed read/write performance. “We use the JetStor GUI RAID manager application to administer the array, but once a JetStor chassis is set up, which is easy to do, it runs transparently,” said Casimir. “Burbank’s JetStor has been rock solid. It simply gets the job done.”

The Burbank Police Department proved that existing analog surveillance systems need not be entirely replaced to cost-effectively meet government mandates for video storage. NTSC video can be digitized and archived on high-speed JetStor RAID arrays, meeting tight budgets and security and forensic demands.

“JetStors offer the reliability, economy, and performance to satisfy law enforcement and Homeland Security needs,” said Casimir. “We’re going to deploy them when we virtualize our own server environment. Maybe that’s the definitive statement to make about JetStors; we use them ourselves.”

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