More than the camera

July 2014 IT infrastructure

The evolution of everything-over-IP and the increased affordability and availability of bandwidth have created unprecedented convergence in the information technology (IT) space. Traditional IT resellers are now empowered to sell a huge range of new solutions that in the past were not considered to be the domain of IT. Some examples of this are the now-ubiquitous Internet connectivity with traditional data-over-IP, well-known voice-over-IP (VoIP) solutions and video-over-IP, which includes live streaming and video on demand.

Another increasingly popular option is CCTV, which is now available over IP. This enables users to install a full camera surveillance solution on their existing network, without the expense and complexity of requiring a complete additional network. However, when it comes to CCTV, whether IP-based or not, hardware is critical – and this doesn’t only mean the cameras. The hard drives used inside digital video surveillance solutions are critical, as without them the camera is unable to record. Ensuring customers have the right hard drive inside their video solutions is essential for customer satisfaction.

“Many IT resellers have noticed their margins getting tighter, and have shifted focus towards selling additional solutions such as IP-based CCTV. This is a perfect fit, as with their existing knowledge of networks they are able to adopt this new technology easily. However, as with any new technology, there are challenges, and one of these is ensuring that installers use the right hard drives within CCTV solutions,” says Geoff Malkin, CCTV product manager at Syntech.

“This decision is often price-based – a standard desktop drive is typically cheaper than a purpose-designed surveillance drive. This can have disastrous consequences though, as desktop hard drives simply are not designed to function in the CCTV environment, which demands 24/7 operation. The result is that desktop drives fail prematurely, which can damage the reputation of the installer, the product, even the reseller. Education in this matter is key,” he adds.

Aside from premature failure, using the incorrect hard drive in a CCTV solution can cause a number of performance issues. This includes missing video during playback, slow or jittery playback and problems with the digital video recorders (DVRs). DVRs may fail to operate correctly, or even restart themselves at random, because the hard drives used in them are simply not optimised for the environment. A purpose-designed surveillance drive runs more quietly and cooler, incorporates advanced technology and is built to handle the demands of operating in a 24/7 environment.

“In light of these challenges, reseller education is a core focus for WD. Our Power of Choice product line offers different drives to target specific storage needs and with a unique easy-to-understand colour code to ensure they buyer always pick the correct drive. The WD Purple drives are designed and built with surveillance in mind to ensure faster access, smooth and seamless functionality, and robust operation in a highly demanding environment. They are also available in large capacities to ensure that sufficient recording time is available for today’s high definition IP-based cameras,” says Kalvin Subbadu, sales manager, components, WD South Africa.

Surveillance drives need to have the ability to handle a continuous operation. Whether the recordings are being accessed remotely or directly from the video recorders, there is a constant need to have this information in real time. In addition, the drives need to be able to read and write at the same time – while video is being retrieved from the hard drive it still needs to have the ability to record new events. A drive that simply stops midway through recording in order to playback footage is of no use in a security environment, as it causes unacceptable vulnerabilities.

“When creating a surveillance solution for the end user, there are also several other factors that the reseller should take into account. These include the volume of drives that the recording device can take, along with the suggested maximum hard drive capacity. The drive capacity will also be determined based on the type of recording to be managed, including the definition of video footage. It is also important to remember that many older model DVRs are unable to handle drives of a capacity larger than 1 TB, however newer models may be able to handle up to 4 TB drives. Ultimately, the responsibility for ensuring that end users implement the correct hard drives falls upon the reseller, as they bear the burden for customer satisfaction in the end,” Malkin concludes.

For more information contact Syntech, +27 (0)21 514 5300,,


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