Casino Places Big Bet on High Def Video Storage

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The stakes are high in the gaming world. That’s why Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Barbara County, Calif., is serious about security, so much so that the casino recently invested heavily in a state-of-the-art surveillance system, including megapixel video cameras and a high-definition storage system.

For large-scale environments like Chumash Casino Resort that must comply with regulated surveillance policies, considerations such as performance, quality, reliability and cost are big considerations. The resort boasts 94,000 square feet of round-the-clock Las Vegas-style gaming, plus a hotel and spa, dining facilities and an entertainment venue.

To complement its demanding surveillance application, Chumash turned to Pivot3’s High-Definition Storage system for nearly half a petabyte of video storage (see Pivot3 Makes Video Storage a Snap).

The new surveillance system is used in the casino’s sensitive money handling areas such as gaming tables, the vault, cashier windows and kiosks.

Going Shopping for Storage

In 2007, the casino wasn’t looking to replace its extensive surveillance system. But when the company got word from the vendor of its high-quality digital video recorders that the product was no longer being supported and replacement parts would be difficult to find, it was time to find new equipment, said Mark Meske, director of surveillance and compliance at Chumash.

Attending an industry gaming expo, Meske learned about megapixel IP cameras and Pivot3 storage. “We needed to know if this solution could be applied to our casino application,” he said.

Chumash has more than 1,000 cameras on the gaming floor and satellite areas, plus non-gaming areas such as the hotel, parking lots and showroom.

To find out if the system was suitable, Chumash ran an eight-week pilot project with the help of Pivot3 and a systems integrator. During that time, two megapixel cameras from Arecont Vision were positioned over the casino’s gaming tables, utilizing storage from Pivot3.

According to Meske, the solution delivered. “All our people who saw it said we had to have it,” he said, noting that the system’s definition allowed viewers to count the freckles on someone’s hand.

The megapixel system had six times the quality of the casino’s existing system — and also six times the storage requirements.

System cost was a big concern, however, so the company did some comparison shopping.

Meske went back to the two vendors the casino was doing business with at the time to see what their latest state-of-the art solutions offered. While he was able to find a high-definition video product, neither vendor offered a viable high-capacity storage solution. “At most, they offered traditional classic hard drives with multiple arrays,” he said, a solution that wasn’t economically feasible.

The Pivot3 High-Definition IP storage system, which uses a clustered storage array, made economic sense.

According to the vendor, clustered IP storage for video surveillance applications reduces deployment costs, supports up to sixteen times the data streams, simplifies configuration and management, and offers high-availability.

The Pivot3 High-Definition Storage is built on Pivot3 RAIGE (RAID Across Independent Gigabit Ethernet) technology that aggregates capacity and bandwidth.

“The storage is also compact, taking up half of the space of our previous storage servers,” said Meske.

All Systems Go

The superiority of the megapixel cameras and Pivot3 storage compared to other solutions on the market led the casino to make an initial purchase of 100 cameras and half a petabyte of storage capacity.

The company expects to replace up to 10 percent of its existing surveillance infrastructure with the megapixel technology a year.

“It’s the future,” said Meske.

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Lynn Haber
Lynn Haber
Lynn works as an editor-at-large meeting with new and established channel partners in the IT and telecommunications ecosphere. She works to understand what motivates partners, vendors, and distributors as they navigate growth in a dynamic industry. Lynn has worked as a business and technology writer for magazines, journals, and online media, and has authored hundreds of articles on technology, communications, business management, employment and careers, industry, and products.

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