Effective storage of surveillance footage

CCTV Handbook 2014 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

Storage models have to be able to cope with both the sheer volume of surveillance footage acquired as well as ensure its integrity and accessibility. While there is still a place for DVRs and NVRs in the foreseeable future, this is destined to make way for options like SSD or edge storage.

Graham Goldridge, regional sales director for MEA, UK and France, says that as a software company NUUO offers both Windows and embedded Linux NVRs. The Linux offering can take on-board a maximum of 32 TB of storage, but the company does understand that the system integrator requires additional storage, so they then adopt ISCSI/SAN/DAS using EMC, HP and Proware for example.

According to Brian Wynberger, national technical manager at Reditron, the use of different storage formats is very market/application driven. The largest portion of the market is still using DVRs and NVRs, with larger drive capacities like 3 and 4 TB becoming available, they gain the advantage of longer periods of storage. For larger systems, the trend is to use the storage array to store all video images. This option is becoming more attractive as hard drive capacities increase at reduced prices.

Bruce Askham, surveillance and forensic security manager at Dell says that the size of an installation as well as the resolution of the cameras will play a large determining role in the need for DVR/NVR as opposed to alternative storage mechanisms. He adds that the retention period of data and the frame rates required will also influence the choice of storage.

Nigel Steyn, subject matter expert for EMC, says that for the meantime, while the South African government is not imposing regulations concerning the adoption of megapixel cameras, it is still acceptable to use DVRs and NVRs for storage in small to medium sized installations of CCTV, whilst the larger enterprise installations are best suited to EMC Isilon architectures. However, as megapixel cameras gain popularity, their bandwidth greedy nature will require alternative methods of storage.

Arrays designed for video

Wynberger points out that traditional storage array suppliers make their standard products available for use in CCTV systems. It is however up to the CCTV manufacturer to make sure these are integrated into the storage/recording management software for use in a CCTV system. There are companies like Promise that are providing storage arrays more specifically for the video industry and more CCTV suppliers are including storage arrays or NVR/servers with a larger number of hard drive bay capacities in their portfolios.

Steyn believes that the DVR manufacturers are putting less effort into upgrading their products as these will eventually become obsolete. Products like EMC’s Isilon are providing a suitable alternative for easily deployable surveillance footage storage.

Askham says that some of the traditional video management solution (VMS) companies are collaborating with hardware developers to find workable solutions for the security surveillance industry.

With regard to software management in storage offerings, Askham says that this is not so critical if you are using a good VMS, as the system will already be handling and manoeuvring data. Steyn agrees that storage offerings should not need to offer management capabilities as the CCTV system should be doing this. To reduce costs on systems, manufacturers are looking at ways of removing some of the non-essential technology such as reduplication capabilities.

SSD hardware is costly

Askham says that the benefit of SSD (solid state disks) for storage is that they are incredibly fast. However, cost is a factor and for the interim, a multi-tiered approach with VMS coupled with SSD for specific applications, will have to suffice.

Goldridge says that NUUO does not use SSDs locally since they find that the Seagate SV35 Series or the new Seagate Constellation HDD for surveillance is best suited for reading and writing for video.

Wynberger continues that the capacities of these SSDs are too low for use in CCTV applications. SSD would be useful for specific applications and small systems like mobile applications where robustness of storage is important.

He adds that edge storage will reduce the number of physical DVR/NVRs being used in the system. With large capacity arrays it makes storage close to the source of the video more feasible, in combination with good VMS software.

Wynberger believes that for many sectors of the market there is still the question of costliness of storage arrays over that of DVRs and NVRs. There is also the question of redundancy. Most DVR/NVRs in a system offer better redundancy than a single edge storage solution for all video. Edge storage by nature provides protection against failure but this comes at a price.


NUUO, +27 (0)11 475 3254, [email protected], www.nuuo.com

Reditron, +27 (0)87 802 CCTV(2288), [email protected], www.reditron.co.za

Dell, +27 (0)11 549 4035, [email protected], www.dell.co.za

EMC, +27 (0)11 581 0000, [email protected], www.emc.com


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