What to look for in surveillance storage and how to determine whether a drive has been designed with surveillance in mind?

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Usage of surveillance cameras is growing rapidly, which results in growing surveillance HDD market. Market research company IHS estimates that one surveillance camera has been installed for every eight people in the U.S alone, it`s about 40million. It is backed up by stats from 2014, according to the IHS Video Surveillance Intelligence Service Market Insight report from August 2015, the U.S. was ranked as the second largest market for video surveillance equipment, worth $2.8 billion.

One surveillance camera has been installed for every eight people in the U.S alone

Storage – is crucial component that can make or break effectiveness of an entire surveillance system. Video capabilities such as HD and 4K uses massive amounts of hard drive capacity. But it`s not all about the capacity, other factors like price, reliability, video processing capability and heating comes in. If a drive is not optimized for surveillance systems it will consume more power, generate more heat, read and write speeds will be reduced and it can drop frames. A lot of money can be saved in long term by choosing a hard drive exactly for the task. 
Surveillance storage offer high performance, efficiency and capacity that has been tested in harsh surveillance environments.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: 

There are specific things to look for when evaluating whether a drive has been designed with surveillance in mind:

  • Surveillance Always On: Surveillance system is meant to work 24×7, so must the drive. If the hard drive hasn`t desgined for constant, never ending R/W operations, it won`t be able to keep up for long. 
  • Performance Reliability: Some drives, like WD’s Purple surveillance-class HDD family, include special technology (called AllFrame in this case) that improves playback performance and works with ATA streaming to reduce errors and frame loss.
  • RAID-enabled: RAID configuration is main key to data safety. A drive with this capability can use two or more HDDs to create a safety net for failed hardware by ensuring that the image is still being captured even if one drive isn’t working. This lessens interruptions in productivity and decreases the chance of data loss.
  • Low power consumption: At first nobody thinks about power consumption, but it makes a big difference if you dozens of hard drives running all the time. Having a drive that calculates the optimum seek speeds won’t generate as much heat, even in passively-cooled storage enclosures, making it more reliable and friendlier to customer’s wallet.
  • High camera count support: You need to think long-term, high number of  surveillance cameras will require high storage use. Also, very often more surveillance cameras are added to the system later. It is recommended to look for atleast 4tb hard drives, 6tb hard drives recommended. 
  • High system bay count support: The right surveillane hard drive will include hardware vibration sensors to enable higher drive-count systems as well as higher system and HDD workloads.
  • Compatibility with cameras: Hard drive that works with most of the different cameras is recommended, because you need to ensure that drive you select works with the cameras you are planning to install. Hard drive that works with many different cameras will improve entire system flexibility in long term. 
  • Rugged exterior: In case the drive will need to live and perform continuously in harsh environments, you want one with tarnish-resistant PCBA protection.
  • Easily upgradable: Customers will ask to upgrade or expand their existing surveillance systems. Surveillance hard drive will more easily scale up with a system and make the job easier.
No doubt, that storage is crucial to surveillance system, use capacity calculator to help determine how much storage capacity is needed for the lenght of time data is to be maintaned for a particular surveillance system. Many storage vendors, like WD (Western Digital) offer calculators and drive selection tools to help find the right drive and capacity for particular surveillance system.


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