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Donbass Arena kicks off EURO 2012 with Overland SnapServer

When England and France renew their footballing rivalry at the stunning Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine, the security will be high on the agenda. With EURO 2012 group games involving England, France and co-hosts Ukraine taking place here, as well as one of the quarter finals and one of the semi-finals, ensuring the safety of supporters and stadium employees is of paramount importance for Union of European Football Associations (“UEFA”) and the local team of IT and security specialists at the arena.

 

Date: 18 Jun 2012

Donbass Arena is the first stadium in Eastern Europe designed and built to UEFA elite standards. Planned long before Ukraine won the EURO 2012 bid, together with Poland, it is the home stadium for Ukraine’s top club FC Shakhtar Donetsk - a regular competitor in UEFA’s Champions League and Europa League.

The 400 million Dollar arena hosts up to 51,504 supporters, including 45 corporate boxes and countless restaurants, bars, cafes and service stations. As such an iconic and prominent venue, the Donbass Arena is heavily reliant on video surveillance to help maintain security. But in the run-up to the Euro 2012 tournament, management decided it needed to upgrade and improve its video surveillance system to meet high standards of safety.

Taking a decentralised approach
Initially the CCTV system configuration, including 600 MOBOTIX and Bosch CCTV cameras, were operated by five Dell PowerEdge M600 servers. These were connected to disk arrays with fibre channel running Windows Server 2008 in a single data centre. But a number of issues arose that led the arena’s technical group to opt for a decentralised infrastructure.

Alexandr Kayun, Security Systems Engineer at Donbass Arena, explains: “The video data from the MOBOTIX cameras was typically generated in a large number of small files; as many as several million on one volume. These large number of files on one volume and the fragmentation of the logical volumes was caused a dramatic decrease in read/write performance to a speed of less than 10Mbps, which lead to frequent data loss.”

But moving to a new decentralised infrastructure meant changes had to be made to the Bosch system, which was reliant on the centralised management of video archives running on an additional Windows based NVR-server (Network Video Recording). In a decentralised infrastructure it was not necessary to have iSCSI support and an additional Windows server for NVR. Since there were no built-in tools for iSCSI in the NVR-server, and the available third party utilities did not work properly with the Bosch cameras, it was an easy decision. In order to eliminate the need to use NVR and allow use of the Bosch and Mobotix cameras simultaneously, it was necessary to use iSCSI.



Overcoming the challenges
After deciding to decentralize the entire IT infrastructure, the team at Donbass started to split out the servers in groups of 10 with a comparably small capacity deployed across a number of different data centres. But the challenge was finding the right sort of file server. Each one needed to support and run 50 to 100 MOBOTIX cameras, have a read/write performance of at least 200Mbps, support RAID 1, 5, 50, and include built-in tools for monitoring the file server with the ability to generate email alerts and provide between 5 and 20TB of disk space.

After carefully examining all of the solutions on the market, the SnapServer by Overland Storage was chosen. Next to CIFS, and SMB, SnapServer also supports iSCSI access within a windows environment, meaning that as soon as the servers were deployed, the Bosch cameras that only worked with iSCSI could be connected to the decentralised structure.


A winning solution
The Donbass Arena installed 12 SnapServer’s in nine different data centres. The number of cameras per server is dependent on the wiring of the cameras and ranges from 45 to 65. The number of disks per server is determined by the amount of cameras and the video storage period (currently 31 days). Each 2TB server has between 6 and 12 SATA drives using RAID 5 and RAID 50 and is able to use NFS, SMB and iSCSI data access protocols. There are 93 disks in all and a total capacity of 127TB, with 104TB in use.

“Implementation was quick and simple,” said Alexandr Kayun. “It took the arena’s technical team only two weeks to install and configure the 12 SnapServers in our nine data centres, connect the cameras and users and set up the email alerts. The simplicity and ease of deploying the SnapServer’s with Overland’s user-friendly web interface meant that we were able to handle the installation and configuration work ourselves.”

This ease of use extends to adding extra capacity, which the old infrastructure was limited to only 100TB. Now with the SnapServer solution deployed, new cameras and users can be added quickly and easily without the need to restart or shut down the servers. Donbass Arena is already planning to add two Overland SnapServer DX Series appliances in the near future, which will add DynamicRAID to the feature set, making storage provisioning easier than ever.

With such a high exposure event-taking place at the Donbass Arena, the spotlight is on the facilities to ensure it offers the most secure environment. The new decentralised IT infrastructure approach overcomes all the challenges and means Donbass Arena has been able to implement an easy and cost-effective solution based on the SnapServer solution by Overland Storage, which will keep football fans safe during EURO 2012 and for many years to come.

 

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Tags: ICT, BC/DR, Disk/RAID/Tape/SSDs, Tiered Storage

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