Backing up Video with Network Attached Storage

Backing up Video with Network Attached Storage

By Henry Washburn

Following an initial full backup, incremental backup solutions only back up the 1s and 0s that have changed on disk (physical or virtual) since the previous backup. Some files are easier to back up incrementally than others, like documents or spreadsheets, even databases, assuming you have some way of pausing transactions for a minuscule amount of time. Video files, on the other hand, are very difficult to back up incrementally.

The Problem: Video files are added to, updated, changed, deleted and recreated constantly. They are also notoriously tough to compress. If a video is re-rendered, an incremental backup solution sees the data as completely new and takes a full backup of the file.

A Real World Example: Many police departments have to deal with storing video feeds from dash or chest cameras. In one day, they might store a terabyte of video, multiplied by a month and you’re dealing with roughly 30 TB. The police station would most likely look for a ~45TB server to handle a month’s worth of video.

The Old Solution: Get a really big storage array or tape system and archive videos at the end of each month.

The Problem with the Old Solution: The system tends to be costly and difficult to maintain. There are costs associated with not just the hardware, but the maintenance and data center fees, remote hands, etc and that is only one location of data. Most of the time, to handle compliance, data has to be stored in more than one location. It adds up for the end user. Finally, accessing archived files is complicated and time-consuming.

So, is there a low-cost, effective backup solution for videos?

It’s simple, and Datto has offered it for years: Network attached storage (NAS). Datto devices can be provisioned to serve as a NAS share on a local network. Each Datto NAS share has built in and customizable snapshotting with ZFS since each share is essentially an individual ZFS storage location. All that needs to be stored within the NAS share are the latest versions of videos and the snapshotting will handle the data change over time. Once the snapshot has occurred, the device will automatically send those snapshots to Datto’s secure cloud data centers (in the US, Canada and EMEA you can replicate to an additional Datto datacenter as well).

That is all well and good but how does it reduce cost and improve access to videos?

So, if the police department has to protect terabyte of video daily, they might choose to keep data for seven days locally and store older data in Datto’s datacenters indefinitely. That would mean they only need an 18 TB device, cutting the size down almost half of the original estimate, and therefore the hardware cost. Even if the police department wanted to keep daily snapshots for 30 days and then keep data indefinitely offsite, they could still go with a 60 TB server. The device would cost more up front, but the total cost of ownership would still be low because all the data center maintenance is handled by Datto.

To ensure ease of access, all Datto devices have a user interface built-in on the local devices. Access to data both locally and remotely happens in as little as six clicks.

Move on from local storage inefficiencies to an up to date storage array with Datto and ZFS.

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