Turnkey IP Video Appliance Runs On Windows Embedded Server
Founded by former members of the Israeli Defense Forces, NICE Systems Ltd. has its roots in security. IT departments wanted a low-maintenance turnkey version of the company’s NiceVision ControlCenter video surveillance software. Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems delivered the right solution, with high levels of availability and reliability, along with support for remote access and management. The Windows Embedded headless appliance is easy to manage and has a low cost of ownership. Situation
Based in Israel, NICE Systems is a world leader in advanced digital video recording and analytics systems. The company’s NiceVision ControlCenter software and other CCTV technologies are used around the globe by such organizations as the U.S. Federal Reserve, China’s Ministry of Railways, the New York City Police Department, Las Vegas casinos, and 85 of the Fortune 100.
NiceVision ControlCenter™ is a suite of software applications that provide management tools for controlling multi-site video surveillance operations. It helps operators detect, verify, resolve and investigate security events quickly and effectively. With NiceVision, hundreds of operators can access thousands of cameras in an instant, enabling highly collaborative control room environments, empowering individual operators, and keeping remote teams connected.
NICE sold software-only versions of NiceVision ControlCenter, but enterprise customers were asking for a turnkey bundled solution that would include hardware, an operating system (OS), and pre-installed applications.
“All of our products and services run on Microsoft technology for seamless integration with customer IT systems, so we needed a Windows operating system for this device,” recalls Sandy Gilad, Director of Software Group, NICE Systems. “Desktop operating systems were not an appropriate solution because IT departments want a headless hardware appliance that requires minimal support and resources.”Solution
NICE was looking for an operating system for a device dedicated to a specific function. Licensing experts at Microsoft provided the right answer with Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems.
“Windows Server 2003 for Embedded Systems was the obvious choice because it provided strong data storage performance, which is critical for video, while also delivering excellent application performance and the low-maintenance attributes of a server versus desktop system,” says Gilad.
||Windows Embedded Server enables unprecedented reliability for our device; its high availability architecture ensures non-stop surveillance under any condition for mission-critical applications.
Sandy Gilad, Director of Software Group, NICE Systems
Windows Server 2003 for Embedded Systems licensing allows Original Equipment Manufacturers, such as NICE, to develop dedicated server solutions, while leveraging the powerful security, reliability, and availability of Windows Server.
“We didn’t do any customizations to the Windows Embedded OS,” states Gilad. “We used the default settings with some after-installation modifications.”
Other Microsoft technologies that connect to or integrate with the NiceVision appliance include SQL Server 2005, Active Directory, and the .NET Framework.
According to Gilad, Microsoft’s online technical resources provided timely technical support. “We used MSDN and the MSDN communities daily,” he explains. “Microsoft TechNet was our source for advanced Sysinternals utilities and technical information, which really helped us manage, troubleshoot, and diagnose our Windows Embedded Server system and applications.” Benefits
The final product—NiceVision Net—offers an enterprise class, scalable IP video solution. Using Windows Embedded Server resulted in multiple business and technical benefits for NICE Systems and its customers.
Included as part of the Enterprise version of Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems, Microsoft Cluster Service (MSCS) allow servers to work together as a single computer cluster, to provide failover and increased availability of applications. NICE software engineers leveraged MSCS to achieve total redundancy for NiceVision Net. If one server appliance fails, another one automatically wakes up and takes over. Customers benefit from having a higher level of availability and no single point of failure in their video security system.
“Windows Embedded Server enables unprecedented reliability for our device,” claims Gilad. “Its high availability architecture ensures non-stop surveillance under any condition for mission-critical applications.”
Windows Remote Desktop is another important component technology included with Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems. “Because the NiceVision Net appliance has no monitor, keyboard, or mouse, customers utilize Windows Remote Desktop to create remote connections for service, maintenance, and upgrades,” explains Gilad. “Customers love being able to use products and technologies that are familiar, and Windows Embedded Server works just like Windows Server.”
||All of our products and services run on Microsoft technology for seamless integration with customer IT systems, so we needed a Windows operating system for this device.
||Sandy Gilad, Director of Software Group, NICE Systems
Built in support for Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) Service provides additional customer benefits. “The Windows Embedded Server operating system polls the hardware components to get SNMP maintenance indications, alarms, and other notifications,” declares Gilad. “Windows simply lowers the overall cost of product ownership for IT.” For Nice Systems and its customers, Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems has been the right operating system choice. “Windows Embedded Server enables my company to provide our customers with an appliance solution while still retaining all the reliability of Windows Server,” concludes Gilad.
The Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Platform SDK allows systems integrators to quickly and easily integrate third-party security products such as alarm and access control systems. “Integrators are a key part of how we sell this product,” explains Gilad. “The Platform SDK gives them familiar Windows programming hooks to achieve connectivity.”
For Nice Systems and its customers, Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems has been the right operating system choice. “Windows Embedded Server enables my company to provide our customers with an appliance solution while still retaining all the reliability of Windows Server,” concludes Gilad.
In sum, Windows Embedded Server enables NICE System’s NiceVision Net with:
- Low cost of ownership
- Powerful, familiar development tools
- High availability and reliability
Keyword: Server; Embedded Server