Today we announced a new networking solution to simplify IoT video surveillance and security. Video surveillance has become a mission-critical element of security strategies in smart cities, utilities, transportation, universities and other highly distributed environments. The Pluribus IoT Video Security Fabric, based on the Adaptive Cloud Fabric architecture, makes deploying and managing networks for video surveillance and IoT more cost efficient and secure while radically simplifying operations. The solution is designed to support end-to-end video surveillance systems, including the Dell Technologies IoT Solution for Safety and Security.
In many ways, IoT video security networks, which aggregate traffic from geographically distributed IoT cameras to monitoring, collection and analysis sites, have similar requirements to other distributed networks, from multi-site data center fabrics to the distributed cloud and service provider edge, including:
- Comprehensive end-to-end automation and visibility with strong analytics
- Compact, low power, low cost options for space- and power-constrained sites
- Interoperability with existing network infrastructure
- Deep network slicing and segmentation for security
- Highly available with sub-second reconvergence
- 10, 25 and 100G wirespeed performance
These characteristics alone make IoT video networks a great fit for the Adaptive Cloud Fabric, which provides a uniquely powerful and cost-efficient solution for building automated, software-defined multi-site network fabrics with built-in network virtualization, network segmentation, network monitoring and visibility.
The Multicast Imperative
IoT video security networks also face another significant challenge: streaming from hundreds or thousands of IoT high definition cameras simultaneously to multiple receivers. Why is streaming to multiple receivers required?
- Redundant collection: In many security applications, it is increasingly unacceptable to risk losing video coverage for an extended period of time due to single points of failure in the network or collection and monitoring systems. While resilient networks and hot standby failover approaches may minimize outage time and lost video, simultaneous redundant recording at two or more separate collection points can eliminate even more video loss events.
- Multiple users: Video information may be useful to different users, such as control room operators, local security or public safety teams, remote monitoring sites or even third-party authorities. Enabling each user group and monitoring site to quickly access any stream they need to see not only requires replicating the stream, it also requires dynamic, on-demand provisioning.
- AI-enabled video analysis: Powerful new video analytics, often assisted by artificial intelligence (AI), increase the volume of video that can be effectively processed to identify security concerns or environmental anomalies. However, AI requires tremendous processing power and video streams may need to be routed to multiple edge locations, centralized locations or to the cloud, where the analytics can be performed in near-real time.
In these situations, a multicast-enabled IP network is highly desirable to ensure efficient forwarding of all video streams to the desired receivers, to reduce overall network capacity demands and unpredictable bandwidth spikes that can result in lost data and to dynamically reconfigure multicast streams to add or remove sources and receivers on demand.
One industry leader in networked security systems confirms the trend to multicast, noting that “multicast video is becoming an increasingly attractive proposition, particularly as surveillance and control systems become larger and more complex and cameras with higher resolutions are deployed.” “Multicasting can deliver significant cost savings and long-term investment protection as it reduces bandwidth requirements and optimizes network resources, which are crucial to avoid overloaded capacity and contention.”
Building a Better Multicast
There’s just one problem with multicast: typical IP multicast architectures are complex and very expensive. Traditional approaches, based on the Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) protocol, require a costly router to be deployed and configured at every hop in the network (Figure 1). PIM-enabled routers with multiple 100G interfaces needed to carry hundreds of high-definition video streams can be prohibitively expensive. Configuring multicast on every node, box-by-box, can be operationally challenging and require specialized expertise that may not exist in most organizations deploying IoT video. If a performance problem arises, troubleshooting can be exceedingly complex and time consuming.
Now there’s a better way: the Pluribus IoT Video Security Fabric solution with Multicast Fabric virtual routing function (VRF).
The Multicast Fabric VRF is an innovative virtualized service incorporated into the Adaptive Cloud Fabric. It implements a highly-efficient, SDN-enabled distributed multicast forwarding approach with dynamic multi-stage replication at the fabric edge devices. It’s completely PIM-free, runs on cost-effective open networking switch hardware and enables efficient multicast streaming from IPv6 or IPv4 devices over any IPv4 unicast transport (Figure 2), so expensive routers are no longer needed. The multicast streams can be easily redirected to new endpoints, yet the IT team only needs to deal with simple IP transport to support the highly automated and easy-to-manage IoT Video Security Fabric.
Even better, the Multicast Fabric VRF architecture scales easily to thousands of IoT endpoints and multicast streams with secure segmentation and fabric-wide visibility for every flow and, as with all services in the Adaptive Cloud Fabric, end-to-end service provisioning is automated with one-touch fabric-wide commands.
Finally, the IoT Video Security Fabric solution can completely segment the network via a VXLAN overlay so that high definition cameras and other IoT devices, as well as their associated traffic streams, are completely isolated from mission-critical application traffic. For this to work effectively, the VXLAN tunnels must be terminated on the aggregation switches at the ingress because there is typically no compute device at the camera location to provide a virtualized VXLAN tunnel endpoint. This advanced network segmentation allows the use of a common network for IoT video and other traffic, achieving capital and operational efficiency, while virtually eliminating the attack surface presented by hundreds or thousands of IoT cameras and devices connected to that same network fabric.
For more detailed information on the technology behind this breakthrough approach, check out the Pluribus Technical Brief, Distributed Multicast Forwarding for Video Security Applications with the Adaptive Cloud Fabric.
Putting it Together
As you can see, the Adaptive Cloud Fabric and the new Multicast Fabric VRF are at the core of the IoT Video Security Fabric solution, but of course a complete solution requires other components.
Pluribus developed this solution with Dell Technologies and it is currently available on Dell EMC PowerSwitch open networking switches, which deliver high performance and cost-efficiency for high-bandwidth applications from the data center to IoT video streaming.
Dell also offers a complete portfolio of products for security and surveillance so, as noted above, the new IoT Video Security Fabric solution extends the capabilities of the Dell Technologies IoT Solution for Safety and Security.
Finally, the IoT Video Security Fabric solution is fully supported in our Pluribus UNUM graphical network management platform for complete life-cycle network and service management and the UNUM Insight Analytics software for comprehensive network and flow monitoring, analysis and troubleshooting. In particular, we have extended the flow monitoring and analytics capabilities built into Netvisor ONE and Insight Analytics in order to support multicast UDP traffic typically used for IoT video streaming.
Putting it all together, we have a complete solution that provides breakthrough efficiency and simplicity for IoT video networks to address video security and surveillance applications across vertical markets and around the globe.
Watch our webinar, “Breakthrough Efficiency for IoT Video Security Networks.” Register here to watch on demand.
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About the Author
Jay Gill is Senior Director of Marketing at Pluribus Networks, responsible for product marketing and open networking thought leadership. Prior to Pluribus, he guided product marketing for optical networking at Infinera, and held a variety of positions at Cisco focused on growing the company’s service provider business. Earlier in his career, Jay worked in engineering and product development at several service providers including both incumbents and startups. Jay holds a BSEE and MSEE from Stanford and an MBA from UCLA Anderson.