Q&A With Colin Broadberry: The Thinking Behind Broadberry’s New YellowVision Line of IP Video Surveillance Storage Solutions

Hi Folks –

Back in September 2013, I blogged about how Broadberry (a long-time Windows Storage Server partner) and Mirasys—a video surveillance solution provider—were partnering to use Windows Storage Server 2012 as the storage component of a complete video surveillance solution. In this post, I’d like to share the perspective of Colin Broadberry, Managing Partner of Broadberry Data Systems.


Colin had some great insights on these two related Windows Storage Server topics:

  • Broadberry’s experience selling Windows Storage Server to date, including how Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 is being received by customers.
  • Broadberry’s new YellowVision line of IP video surveillance solutions, of which the video storage servers run Windows Storage Server 2012 R2.

Here are pics of a YellowVision video recording server and viewing station.


But that’s enough from me. Following are the answers to some questions we recently asked Colin:

What types of customers does Broadberry focus on?

We try to keep our focus very wide, as we recognize that servers and storage now play a role in every aspect of our lives—from ISPs and cloud hosting to IP video surveillance, education, financial, TV and media, and so on. Even though those sectors have very different businesses, their storage requirements are actually very similar in that they all need fast, reliable, cost-effective, easy-to-manage storage.

What made you focus on the video storage market?

The market for IP surveillance storage has continued to grow quite rapidly over the past few years, with HD cameras becoming the norm. Video storage needs are growing just as fast, with performance and high availability being key requirements. For example, when we worked with Mirasys to deliver a video storage solution for a large hotel last year, that solution had to support more than 500 high-resolution cameras, with all video retained and readily accessible for 90 days—resulting in a required 500 terabytes of storage capacity.

What exactly does Broadberry’s new YellowVision line include?

YellowVision is our new brand of dedicated video surveillance storage and viewing appliances. At a high level, the line consists of four components:

  • YellowVision COBRA Video Recording Servers, which are powered by Intel Xeon processors and are tuned for enterprise IP video surveillance storage. They’re capable of supporting all major brands of IP video management software, including offerings from Mirasys, Genetec, Milestone, and Axis.
  • YellowVision PYTHON Video Storage Servers, which are designed to be used in conjunction with 3rd Party Network Video Recorders and COBRA Video Recording Servers to provide expanded storage, supporting high data rates and RAID level reliability.
  • YellowVision ADDER Storage Expansion Units, which are JBOD expansion arrays that can easily be daisy-chained to one of our storage servers.
  • YellowVision VIPER Viewing Stations, which are based on our workstation offerings and are also tuned for video surveillance applications.

Why did you base the YellowVision PYTHON storage servers on Windows Storage Server?

Value-for-money has always been an advantage of doing business with Broadberry, and Windows Storage Server enables us to continue delivering this benefit in the video surveillance storage space. Licensing is a great example; Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Standard supports an unlimited amount of data and doesn’t require any client access licenses, allowing customers to save a good deal of money. Windows Storage Server also facilitates ease-of-deployment, ease-of-management, and ease-of integration with existing IT infrastructures, all of which add to the value that we can provide to customers.

Why should someone buy from Broadberry?

There are several reasons why people buy from us:

  • Our YellowVision and other products can be custom-configured, which allows customers to fine tune each system to their exact needs, including the largest range of drives and networking options available.
  • Our open platform means that customers can add more drives from any manufacturer or supplier, providing peace-of-mind that they won’t need to deal with vendor lock-in.
  • We’ve been selling Windows Storage Server for close to a decade and know how to help customers get the most from it. For example, our SSD caching options can improve system performance by more than 300 percent. We also offer rear-mounted, hot-swap, mirrored SSD drives for the OS, which improves overall system performance without taking up valuable data-storage drive bays.
  • Our CyberStore WSS model line upon which YellowVision storage appliances are based was voted “Best Storage Appliance” for the last 3 years by PC PRO Magazine, so customers can be confident that the product is as good as it sounds.

How have your Windows Storage Server offerings been received by customers?

Sales of our CyberStore WSS range based on Windows Storage Server been stronger than expected, especially since all the great new features released in Windows Storage Server 2012. We’re winning more and more deals for larger-capacity, higher-end systems, to the point that we’re taking a good deal of business away from the traditional SAN market. For example:

  • One of our Financial Trading customers wanted a super-fast, 20-terabyte storage server with at least 200,000 IOPS, and was quoted £80,000 ($130K) from a Fortune-100 server OEM. We sold that customer a Windows Storage Server solution that used enterprise-class SSDs for caching for £25,000 ($40K), and the customer found that it delivered 300,000 IOPS. One month later, that same customer bought three more systems!
  • A major university wanted to reduce the amount of money it was spending on new storage capacity. Two weeks after they deployed one of our systems running Windows Storage Server, they had used its Data Deduplication feature to reduce the amount of disk space being used by 70 percent. Needless to say, they were delighted with the results. We do a good deal of business in the education sector, and are seeing more and more customers use Data Deduplication to save on storage costs.

What have been some other strong selling points?

There are several reasons why customers are consistently choosing Windows Storage Server over traditional SAN solutions:

  • Ease of integration with existing Windows-based IT infrastructures has definitely helped us close many deals; Windows Storage Server can be managed by using the familiar Server Manager interface, and it integrates seamlessly with existing Active Directory user permissions.
  • Speed-of-deployment has been another strong selling point… people love how Windows Storage Server is preinstalled and preconfigured prior to shipment, so that it can be deployed in as little as a few minutes.
  • Configuration is just as quick and easy; for example, setting-up Data Deduplication is as easy as selecting a volume and ticking a box. You can’t get much easier than that.

So seeing a trend away from the classic SAN?

Most definitely. Customers today are demanding more than just high availability, high performance, and strong scalability. They also want higher-level features such Work Folders, data deduplication, storage tiering, and more—all of which enable greater value delivery and are provided by Windows Storage Server out-of-the-box, at no added cost. With traditional SANs, if they offer similar features, you’ll pay a lot extra to get them.

What can we expect from Broadberry in the future?

We’re really excited about the future of our CyberStore WSS range. In April 2014, we’ll be launching new high-availability solutions, including some Cluster-in-a-Box offerings. And we’ll be the first company in the world that enables you to fully configure complete high-availability solutions online. Of course, we’re still in the process of rolling out our YellowVision product line, which you can find at http://www.yellowvision.co.uk.

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My thanks to Colin for sharing his perspective on Windows Storage Server—and for being such a strong Windows Storage Server partner for the past decade. If you’re interested in learning more about Broadberry Data Systems, you can check out the company’s website at http://www.broadberry.co.uk. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out this great review of Broadberry’s CyberStore 424S storage appliance running Windows Storage Server 2012 R2.

Scott M. Johnson
Senior Program Manager
Windows Storage Server