March Networks uses Sun servers for IP video support

Ottawa-based March Networks Corp. is teaming up with Sun Microsystems Inc. to bring its intelligent video management software to Sun Fire x64 servers.

March Networks’ VideoSphere, the IP video company’s flagship video surveillance software suite, allows customers to deploy all-IP video or hybrid video networks – including those which using analog and IP cameras. With the partnership, enterprises can use Sun Fire X4500 and X4150 servers to run their video surveillance recording and storage capabilities, as well as, optimize its use over IP networks.

“[Video surveillance] is quickly becoming an IP-based solution,” Peter Wilenius, vice-president of corporate development at March, said. “Whether it’s a pure IP play with IP cameras or it’s a hybrid solution like a network video recorder (NVR) that integrates your interface with your existing install base of analog cameras, VideoSphere addresses these installations.” Wilenius said NVR solutions are typically found in remote sites, such as bank branches or retail stores, where the camera count is relatively small. An all-IP installation, on the other hand, fits better in a “green field,” corporate campus type setting, he said.

“The key is to be able to bridge all of those types of installation,” Wilenius said. “Most customers don’t have a homogeneous solution. They have best of breed components across it, so video management can really tie that together.”

In teaming up with Sun, he said, the Sun Fire portfolio provides an effective way to handle high-density video surveillance applications. “You could have hundreds or thousands of cameras and you’re obviously consuming a lot of storage if you’re using mega pixel video,” Wilenius said. The Sun Fire servers are among the fastest and most reliable available, he said, and will ensure high resolution video is easily retained in a cost-effective manner. “Partnering with Sun makes sense because this is where the channel will ultimately go,” he added.

According to one ABI Research analyst, the deal gives March the opportunity to expand its technology partnerships, as video surveillance increasingly requires expertise in the wireless LAN, server and network storage spaces. For Sun Microsystems, the benefit of teaming up with an established video IP player, gives it a similar opportunity to grow.

“The rationale for the infrastructure companies to partner with March is really to be the camel’s nose under the tent, especially because there’s a tremendous upside opportunity down the road for infrastructure growth,” Stan Schatt, vice-president and research director of wireless connectivity at the Oyster Bay, NY-based research firm, said.

While only about 12 to 15 per cent of systems today are shipping with IP, Schatt expects IP to eventually surpass analog-based by 2012. “What makes March a good partner for Sun is that it currently supports hybrid systems, as well as all-IP,” he said. “So, given the large install base of analog out there today, this makes a lot of sense.”

The use of intelligent video management software also allows companies to take advantage of video analytics – which gives users the ability to monitor and secure areas with security cameras. Using the technology, Schatt said, organizations can use video footage to determine anything ranging from potential threats to possible marketing opportunities.

“In a banking environment, video analytics can look at a face and go back and see whether the person is on a wanted list, identifying the threat before it happens,” he said. “In the retail industry, it’s even more interesting, because what it can do is actually go in and measure eye ball contact with objects and figure out which product displays are working in the store.”

For Sun, he added, teaming up with companies in the fast emerging video analytics and management space, allows them to increase their server presence beyond the peripheral of the network.

“All of this processing power has to take place at the core of the network,” Schatt said. “So for a company like Sun, what this does is open up the opportunity of getting more servers in the data centre.”

March Networks and Sun Microsystems will demonstrate the VideoSphere Intelligence Video Management system at this week’s Interop Las Vegas conference at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

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