Tyrone Chambliss, Director of Brand Protection & Security Systems, Flex will be speaking at The Great Conversation in Security on March 5 & 6 in Seattle, Washington. We discovered he had taken into account the 'ilities' (IT's mandate for systems that support mission critical requirements of the organization including availability, reliability, scalability, maintainability, and cyber defensibility). His experience is documented in this case study on deploying enterprise video storage.
In today’s ultra-connected world, new business models bring highly profitable routes to
revenue. To seize these opportunities, modern organizations are undergoing a digital
transformation that is placing intensified demands on IT departments. Flex Inc., founded in
1969 as Flextronics Inc., has skillfully navigated this new paradigm to become the second
largest electronics and original design provider in the world, providing innovative engineering, manufacturing, real-time supply chain insight and logistics services to a wide range of customers, including some of the largest, most well-known brands in business, such as Apple, Cisco, Microsoft, Lenovo, Dell, Nike and Barracuda.
Today, Flex is a highly differentiated technology solutions company that serves more than
a dozen markets and has deep technical expertise and leading-edge facilities around the
world. One of its notable differentiators is its “Sketch-to-Scale™” platform, which enables
customers to reduce development costs and lead time to commercialization, while accelerating time to market and time to scale.
The ability to provide both physical security of production processes through video
surveillance and access control, as well as to protect the valuable intellectual property of
both the company and its customers, are critical to Flex. The failure to meet requirements
because of poor system performance, changing environments, failed hardware/data loss,
etc., would compromise their ability to meet customer service level agreements (SLAs).
It was in this environment that Flex embarked on a massive upgrade of its video surveillance
system across their global facilities. Key evaluation requirements included scalability,
reliability, and the ability to seamlessly integrate with leading video management software
in use by Flex.
“We conducted proof-of-concept testing with enterprise SAN and direct-attached storage
NVR vendors, but it was Pivot3’s hyperconverged technology that caught our attention. It
outperformed other systems and integrated exceptionally well with our video management
software,” said Tyrone Chambliss, Director of Brand Protection & Security Systems, Flex.
Flex selected Pivot3’s hyperconverged platforms, which are specifically optimized for
video surveillance workloads to provide the highest levels of performance, resiliency and
scalability. With Pivot3, Flex is able to store critical video surveillance data without loss,
protected from failures and always available when needed. Flex has deployed more than 75
Pivot3 appliances at more than a dozen Flex locations worldwide, securely storing over 7PBs
of video data from roughly 5,000 cameras.
“Our Pivot3 video surveillance storage solution protects our video data, allows us to proactively monitor our systems, alerts us to any issues and works seamlessly with our video
management software,” said Chambliss. “We can now monitor activity in real-time and see
what is happening across the video network so we can prevent issues, rather than deal with
them after they’ve already occurred.”
“Our expectations have progressed from real-time video monitoring to immediate alarm
response with video integration,” said Chambliss. “NVRs can’t deliver that type of solution,
and enterprise SANs don’t give you that level of performance. Pivot3’s approach combines a
VMS-agnostic system with performance and resiliency to meet our requirements.”
While traditional video surveillance is vital to brand protection and security, Flex is also
moving towards using video surveillance as a more advanced business tool. To verify
employee attendance, Flex uses video surveillance and their time tracking solution together
to provide video of employees clocking in and out of work. In another unique application,
Flex is considering video surveillance for what Chambliss calls “product accounting.” The
surveillance solution is used to ensure that all parts that enter a manufacturing line are
present at all stations on the line and match the production at the end of the line. Said
Chambliss, “If we start with a 10,000 piece order at the beginning, we need to ensure we
have 10,000 pieces at the end of the line. If not, we can use our surveillance system to
find the variance and identify the station where the incident happened. This type of loss
prevention has immediate business benefit.”
“Video surveillance is vitally important to our business,” said Chambliss. “Pivot3 plays a
critical role in ensuring our data is protected, properly backed up and readily available when
Pivot3’s ability to linearly scale capacity and performance allows Flex to meet growing data
storage needs as it expands operations, adds camera counts, shifts toward higher resolution
models and meets extended data retention requirements. The unique architecture of
Pivot3’s HCI surveillance solution ensures all video data is accessible centrally regardless of
physical location. In the event of hardware failures, virtual servers automatically restart on
another appliance with no user intervention. With Pivot3’s built-in server failover, previously
recorded video and security data remains fully accessible.
“My centralized team can easily monitor the status of my Pivot3 infrastructure around the
world, including all servers, CPU, memory, system performance, and power using Pivot3’s optimized vCenter plug-in,” said Chambliss. “Since we deployed Pivot3, it’s proven to be
very reliable and the customer support has been exceptional. It has also exceeded our
expectations from a performance level. We plan to deploy Pivot3 HCI solutions in more
locations to protect our video investments, allowing us to ensure the same high comfort
level across our sites.” At the same time, the Pivot3 architecture simplified administration for
Flex and reduced the need for its staff to have advanced IT skills.
Pivot3's management capabilities allow multiple Flex teams to share ownership of the
solution. "Our ability to manage our video surveillance solution across IT, security and other
departmental teams is essential to ensuring the system not only works technically, but also
is solving our day-to-day business challenges effectively and efficiently,” noted Chambliss.
“Our customers have extremely high expectations for us, and we now have an ideal
infrastructure in place to support their needs,” concluded Chambliss. “Equally important,
beyond the technology, the Pivot3 team itself has been exceptional. Pivot3’s knowledge
of video surveillance is unique. They deeply understand our business requirements and
actively work with us to ensure we have the optimal solution to meet and exceed our
customers’ requirements. We consider Pivot3 a true partner.”
Pivot3 improves the simplicity and economics of the enterprise datacenter with industry-
leading hyperconverged technology. By collapsing storage, compute and networking on
commodity hardware, Pivot3 provides a software-defined solution that enables customers
to scale to massive volumes and gain twice the performance of competing solutions, all at
drastically reduced infrastructure requirements. The result is predictable, prioritized data
and application performance based on business value. Pivot3 has over 2,200 customers
around the world and has deployed more than 16,000 hyperconverged infrastructures in
multiple industries such as healthcare, government, transportation, security, entertainment,
education, gaming and retail.