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Taser Builds Cisco-Based Data Warehouse

Built on Cisco's Unified Computing System, the cloud-based virtual data warehouse stores police videos for evidence.
Smith said Taser realized the value of video evidence in incidents in which its Taser shock gun was used and added a videocam to its device that captures evidence in incidents where the gun is used. At other times, however, the evidence it collects "is mostly of shoetops," he said wryly. Taser has sold 35,000 units of the model. To collect evidence in incidents when the gun is not intended for use, the officer must still draw it and point it at the subject, a filming technique with obvious drawbacks.

Yogesh Saini, Taser's senior VP of global Internet services, and his team established the video upload system and data warehouse for Evidence.com in 98 days, using two chassis of Cisco blade servers moving video over 10 Gb Ethernet. Sixteen Xeon 5500 (Nehalem) blade servers are loaded on the chassis. A selling point to Taser was their capability to host 384GB of memory, needed for dealing with large amounts of video, Saini said.

The servers run VMware ESX Server virtual machines at a ratio of 15 to one per physical server, each capable of sustaining the bandwidth and data movement required to move high volume video. Cisco Nexus 7000 Series switches are part of the data handling system. The Evidence.com warehouse was built using an IBM storage area network.

Evidence.com will charge $5,700 per officer over a three year period to use the videocam system. The average eight hour shift results in two hours of video capture, or 2-2.8 GB of data. Each agency will decide how long it wishes to retain the data.

Any shooting incident involving a police officer typically costs his department $250,000 to $300,000 in evidence collection, said Smith. A videocam system that collects easily retrievable video evidence during the incident is likely to offset some of that cost, he said.