One of the most ambitious projects to be undertaken on the Las Vegas Strip in over a decade, Resorts World Las Vegas is a massive complex spanning more than 117,000 square feet of gaming space and three separate hotel brands.
- Cost-effectively support thousands of networked surveillance cameras with small staff
- Ensure video recording and management servers remain online and operational with minimal downtime
- Ensure data is not just being stored but also that previously recorded data is available at all times
- Comply with strict gaming and regulatory requirements
- Fully test and deploy surveillance system in a compressed six-month schedule with on-going testing as required
THE SCALE COMPUTING SOLUTION
- HC3 software can be deployed quickly and is easy to manage
- Self-healing, intelligent automation enables IT and security surveillance teams to spend less time on menial tasks
- Integrate with Milestone XProtect VMS and other third-party operational technologies
- Support advanced video storage and analytics capabilities
- Modular cluster architecture provides instant scalability
- Instantly scalable: 4,700 digital cameras are currently supported across eight Scale Computing clusters with plans to scale out to up to 14,000 cameras once the property is complete
- Plug-and-play deployment: Pre-configured and standardized builds of infrastructure components enables accelerated deployment as new cameras are brought online
- Seamless redundancy: Automated failover of clusters ensures downtime is minimized as there is no single point of failure
- Streamlined virtualization: Simple, fast and cost-effective virtualized environments that can be set up in seconds compared with VMware
A Modern Casino Demands an Intelligent Infrastructure for Video Surveillance and Security
Adams joined Resorts World Las Vegas in January of 2021, six months ahead of a much-anticipated scheduled opening in June. However, they had to wait until construction was almost finished before they could begin installing and connecting the initial lot of 4,700 cameras that were part of the first phase of the project rollout. With the construction wrapped by early June, Adams and his team had a few weeks to get everything operational before the Gaming Control Board would inspect and certify their surveillance system – without this certification, they wouldn’t be able to open. The fact that his team didn’t have to spend hours every day manually configuring each cluster meant they could focus their energy on more strategic priorities. Given the scale of this hardware deployment, Scale Computing even worked with integration partners to allow delivery of fully racked and cabled systems ready for easy integration into the datacenter environment.
But keeping this growing network of digital cameras online and operational is merely one aspect of what this infrastructure must support. The video security and surveillance infrastructure must also be able to seamlessly integrate with a host of third-party software solutions such as their Milestone XProtect Recording Servers, most of which run in their own VM and are distributed across nodes on multiple HC3 clusters. This infrastructure must also be able to be integrated with other core Operational Technologies (OT) such as access control systems and alarm systems – all of which must be connected to each other on a continuous basis to be operational.
Moreover, not every camera in their surveillance network records at the same resolution or retains footage for the same length of time. As Adams explains, “for our table games, we need to record at a higher resolution and frame rate so that observers can discern details like the suit of a card and the chip colors to confirm that payouts are correctly recorded, whereas other areas of the property might not require the same high-resolution footage. Retention requirements also vary depending on the area of the property we are monitoring. For instance, we typically retain footage from cameras monitoring the ATMs and high cash out slot machines for as long as 45 days. So, it’s really important that our infrastructure can handle these diverse capabilities and requirements.”
Although Adams didn’t have any previous experience with Scale Computing, he was quickly impressed by the intelligence embedded within the platform. As he recounts, “the automation and AI capabilities that Scale Computing provides are lightyears beyond those of VMware and Windows in terms of the ease of configuration and maintenance. Moreover, the learning curve is far easier than other systems which means we can get everyone on the team up to speed and keep them on the same page.”
Building virtual machines at my old property was a process that might take between 10 to 30 minutes per instance. With Scale Computing it takes just 20 seconds - a vast improvement especially when downtime is not an option.— Scott Mungall, IT Technical Lead, Northern Marine
Building an IT Foundation for the Innovations of Tomorrow
The intelligence and self-healing capabilities of Scale Computing’s HC3 Platform has also meant that Adams and his small team can spend less time grinding away on manual tasks such as break/fix emergencies and hardware maintenance and more time focused on strategic initiatives, which is all the more critical given the team’s limited headcount and the many competing demands placed on them on a daily basis.
In his previous life as a surveillance technician at another mega-casino on the Las Vegas strip, Adams remembers the challenge and expense of managing his VMware environment, “building VMs at my former property was a process that could take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes per instance – multiply that by dozens of virtual machines and it really takes a toll on productivity. With Scale Computing, once we create a ‘golden image’ of what the machine should look like it simply becomes a matter of copying and pasting that image and the entire process takes less than 30 seconds. The fact that Scale Computing does a lot of the backend setup and configuration beforehand means that it’s just a matter of spinning up the VMs on our end and we’re operational.”
As with any new system, there’s always a learning curve to account for - especially for technicians whose experience has been focused on surveillance systems. “Because the Scale Computing platform is so automated, there really isn’t all that much to teach our staff. We were able to get everyone on the team certified on Scale Computing in a single morning. It was also really helpful that the team at Scale Computing built a training platform that mirrored our actual production environment so when we had questions, the sales engineer could provide answers specific to how our particular environment is set up.”
While the team hasn’t had an opportunity to conduct a full ROI analysis at this point, Adams anticipates that their team will save a significant amount of capital just by avoiding VMware’s annual licensing fees which can easily run into five figures on an annual basis. Beyond surveillance and security, Adams also anticipates that they will introduce a number of experiential enhancements that leverage their digital surveillance network: “Once our network is fully deployed, we’ll be able to do things like use our digital surveillance cameras for a wide range of video analytics such as facial detection and heat mapping to identify high traffic areas which can be used to improve the guest experience.”
Easy to deploy, simple to manage, and cost-effective
Northern Marine immediately noticed enhanced performance and simplified management as soon as the solution was deployed. With the Scale Computing rollout, Northern Marine was able to build a single virtualized server, export it and send it to all of the vessels, saving around four hours per build. Other immediate benefits included:
Simplified and reduced management time
Complete redundancy – always on 24/7
Snapshot replication and backup
Ready for future deployments at sea
90% less time to rebuild: Restoring a system/VM on a vessel, for example after a cyber-attack, takes a fraction of the time, with less hours and stress for crew and shore-based support staff
90% less time to install a Docker application: Installing a new Docker application takes a fraction of the time compared to the same installation on the old Hyper-V environment
While the team hasn’t had an opportunity to conduct a full ROI analysis at this point, Northern Marine is looking forward to deploying more Scale Computing HC3 Edge clusters in the future.
Although the initial acquisition cost for an HC3 cluster is higher than what we used to pay, the difference is paid back, spending less hours during the installation preparation and deployment onboard of a vessel. The total costs, also saving on license cost, are fractionally higher than a single server solution.— Scott Mungall, IT Technical Lead, Northern Marine