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Sony Ups Storage, IP E-Surveillance Ante

Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony Monday unveiled several new products for the enterprise storage, backup and electronic surveillance markets.

Sony made the announcements at the ASIS Security Conference opening in New Orleans.

The company said its created a "heterogeneous backup" solution which makes up its new "Corporate Data Protection bundle." The enterprise storage solution combines Sony's StorStation specialized server with NetVault 7.0 backup software from BakBone Software, along with Sony's "2U slim Advanced Intelligent Tape (AIT) library."

"Sony's new StorStation Data Backup and Recovery system (StorStation DBR) can virtualize diverse data storage configurations into pools -- tape, optical and SAN included -- to simplify management and make the most of available storage space. By sharing tape drives and other hardware resources, users can increase availability and protect their data through failover of backup files from the preliminary drive to a standby drive," Sony said in a press release.

Sony said the system is able to "create block-by-block disaster recovery images of clients without re-installing their operating systems. The StorStation DBR system even lets users perform file system replication to tape at a local or remote site," Sony said.

Sony says its DBR solution include the FSV-M5 specialized server with 720 GB capacity, gigabit Ethernet connectivity and hot swap HDD RAID protection, along with the 2U AIT library with up to 4.1 TB of native storage capacity.

Sony said its line of "corporate data protection bundles" will be available starting in October with prices around $20,000. Sony said its solution will work with a variety of operating systems "including Linux, and Microsoft. Windows. 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP and Server 2003."

On Monday, Sony also said it is teaming up with Cisco Systems to launch what it its calling a "fully integrated IP surveillance solution."

"Sony Electronics today announced that it has developed a plug-and-play, fully integrated IP monitoring solution together with Cisco Systems. The new IP surveillance solution combines Sony's IP video monitoring cameras, servers, and sophisticated software (Real Shot Manager) with Cisco's networking infrastructure," Sony said.

The Sony-Cisco electronic surveillance system is targeted at schools, facing problems with violence and vandalism.

"Sony and Cisco have created a solution that allows Sony's IP Surveillance cameras, its robust surveillance software application and information gathering technology to be integrated with Cisco's routers, networking infrastructure and software. Each of the cameras and other sensors provided by Sony has its own Internet Protocol address, making it as easy to monitor school facilities as it is to surf a web site," Sony said.

"Embedded-web servers in the IP Surveillance cameras allow up to 50 simultaneous feeds using 25x optical zoom lenses and 12x digital zooms. Working through the Internet infrastructure, users can control the cameras or access information from PCs, laptops or even handheld PDAs. All the information generated by the cameras is in fully Internet-compatible formats, which means that still and video images can be monitored, recorded and printed anywhere on the network by authorized personnel," Sony said.

The system utilizes a variety of technological components, including Sonys networked cameras, FSV-M5 network attached storage servers along with Sonys Real Shot camera manager application software over Cisco's networks. Cisco brings its Catalyst 3550 Series switches, Cisco Aironet Access Points, PCMCIA wireless LAN adapters, PIX 500 Series firewalls, VPN's and CiscoSecure ACS for Windows.

Grossmont Union School District, spanning 11 high schools in San Diego, decided to be the "initial reference site" for the Sony-Cisco IP-based, electronic surveillance system.

"Initially, plans for the pilot campus system for Grossmont consisted of four Sony SNC-RZ30N Pan/Tilt/Zoom network cameras connected to a Sony Network Attached Storage server running Sony's Real Shot camera manager application software over the Cisco Systems network. The system's 720 GB storage capacity holds approximately 30 days worth of archived images," Sony said.

In a separate announcement on Monday, Sony Electronics said it is out with two new "professional multi-format video monitors for security, surveillance."

"Sony Electronics is screening two new professional multi-format Trinitron color video monitors, models SSM-14L1 and SSM-20L1, which offer high performance, robust reliability and versatile functionality for cost-conscious security applications," Sony said.

"Sony's new 14-inch (model SSM-14L1) and 20-inch (model SSM-20L1) (viewable areas, measured diagonally) monitors display 600 TV lines of resolution and feature adjustable color temperature. Other highlights include selectable 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios, both NTSC and PAL operation and two video inputs," Sony said.

Sony says the two monitors are scheduled to be available in November, with the SSM-14L1 for $580, and the SSM-20L1 for $1,050.

In late August, Ingram Micro started a new marketing program called "Target: Surveillance" focused on the enterprise surveillance market.

Ingram said it expects an expansion of the market for networked monitoring equipment in several sectors, including education, government, military, transportation and retail.

Ingram Micro said its marketing push would be in tandem with several manufacturers, including Cisco, Sony, Hewlett-Packard , wireless network device maker Proxim and Axis, a network camera maker.

Ingram cited research projections saying there will be a huge increase in IP-based camera monitoring. Ingram Micro said research forecasts the network camera market in the U.S. to be worth $500 million by 2007.