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Pivot3 Acuity streamlines streaming video with automation

Pivot3 Acuity refresh injects health analytics and tools to orchestrate system-wide HCI upgrades. The vendor targets organizations with dense streaming media.

Hyper-converged vendor Pivot3 sharpened its focus on streaming media with enhancements to the Acuity software platform.

Acuity 10.8 features management tools to simplify end-to-end system upgrades and analyze the heath of Pivot3 Acuity deployments. The advances build on Pivot3's Intelligence Engine, a suite of automated system management tools. It marks the first major release by Pivot3 since enacting a round of layoffs in March due to the pandemic, which is changing how companies procure and manage storage.

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) consolidates compute, network and storage in an integrated appliance, topped with a virtualization layer. HCI systems let users scale storage and processing independently within a single management pane.

Whereas most HCI vendor products are geared for mainstream data centers, Pivot3 Acuity is engineered for petabyte-scale capture of video data used for physical security and surveillance.

Pivot3 uses erasure coding to cache data and stripe it to disks spread across multiple Acuity nodes. Airports, casinos, educational campuses and metropolitan transit systems are listed among Pivot3's roughly 2,600 enterprise customers.

Orchestrating Pivot3 HCI systems management

Bruce Milne, a Pivot3 vice president and its chief marketing officer, said Acuity 10.8 gives media-intensive shops more automation and intelligence to minimize IT management.

"File storage is nice and compartmentalized, but streaming media is like an escalator. It just keeps coming. Most of our customers are very focused on security, but they are not necessarily IT specialists. Having more automation and intelligence is highly valued, because it helps them maintain distributed-but-unified deployments of video surveillance and security," Milne said.

Pivot3 Acuity HCI node
Pivot3 Acuity hyper-converged infrastructure node

Pivot3 Acuity adds an Upgrade Manager to automate system-wide upgrades, inclusive of firmware, operating system and application layer. The increased redundancy, coupled with Acuity's self-healing capabilities, was added to help ensure customers won't drop video frames during upgrade cycles.

"Our customer can't afford to not be ingesting video," said Mike Koponen, a Pivot3 senior director of product and solutions marketing.

The Pivot3 HCI update comes as organizations struggle with lifecycle management as part of digital transformation, said Bob Laliberte, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.

"Across every industry, organizations are trying to maximize data availability, especially for things like streaming video surveillance. As these organizations get more distributed, the goal is not to have your team focused on mundane tasks, but to focus on driving innovation," Laliberte said.

Pivot3 HCI system health

Native analytics added in v10.8 measure the performance health of Pivot3 Acuity clusters and compares it to industry best practices. Koponen said the analytics enables "exhaustive" health verification spanning individual components to virtual performance groups of Pivot3 clusters.

The system collects data anonymously and uses telemetry to stream it to the Pivot3 Support Cloud data lake. A recommendation engine presents users with a set of automated options to boost system performance.

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