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Dude, Where's My Migration Path?

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Whenever cemented proprietary technologies face the profound upheaval caused by effective, standards-based solutions, the user cry goes out: Where's my migration path? How can I get from where I am to where I want (or am being forced) to go without utterly losing my existing investments or having to immediately spend a fortune on new technology?

That's been the question for users ranging from folks with extensive collections of vinyl LP record albums to hospital IT departments trying to merge data from dozens of disparate proprietary systems into a single medical record to today's enterprise security environment as it evolves to open, Internet Protocol-based systems. At ISC West last week, several vendors offered various answers to the security IP migration query.

The embedded base of proprietary analog hardware and software supporting security functions is considerable. That reality was reflected in announcements like the one from Bosch Security Systems, which launched its Divar XF hybrid recorder, which simultaneously supports both analog and H.264 IP cameras. Further, users with Divar XF DVRs already installed can update their existing units via firmware downloads to gain the hybrid capability, RAID-4 storage support and user management features.

In a similar vein of using existing assets to smooth the road to IP, Altronix Corp. announced new models of its HubWay video/data/power transceivers. These transceivers work with the type of backbone network cabling, such as Category 5 Ethernet, found in most enterprise networks today. Sending video, data control protocols and power for IP cameras over a single structured cable eliminates the need for coax cable, plus the costs of additional wiring.

On a broader scale, Avocado Security claims its Avocado Security 3.0 will help users integrate "scores" of existing surveillance equipment and related devices regardless of brand, functionality or age--a task easier said than done. This technologically agnostic approach enables users to get more life and wring more information out of their existing systems, says Avocado. The company promises its approach--which uses more than 100 application programming interfaces (APIs) to hook into all those diverse systems - will distill intelligence useful not just to security but to sales, marketing and operations.

Similarly, companies like Orsus, Quantum Secure, Proximex and other IP-centric firms with comprehensive security management solutions don't try to convince users to toss out existing systems but instead build software bridges among and between them.  Migration strategies and solutions like these might insulate users from the limitations of installed proprietary systems--an issue Security Squared will be looking at in more depth in coming weeks.

--Show reporting by Steven Titch; analysis by Sharon J. Watson

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