Surveillance storage selection

April 2014 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

In the recent past, security and surveillance were topics that were mainly discussed by those in the industry, and by decision makers in large- and medium-sized businesses. Flash forward to present day and the audience has increased dramatically – these very same topics are fast attracting the attention of end-consumers and small business owners, as concerns about addressing security come to a boil.

Before a consumer or small business owner makes the investment in a surveillance system however, he should do his due diligence in terms of research, so he can make an informed purchase.

One major component of every surveillance system is, of course, the cameras. Buyers should opt for kits that offer nothing less than a high definition (HD) camera that can capture images at a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels or even a full high definition (FHD) camera that can capture images at 1920 x 1 080 pixels. And, whether HD or FHD, the cameras should also be able to capture images at a rate of no less than 30 frames per second (FPS).

An equally key component of surveillance systems is the storage being used – in fact this component is what can really make or break the effectiveness of the entire system. If a system is being purchased without storage, the buyer should avoid the temptation to go out and purchase the cheapest hard drive he can find. In most cases this will be some sort of desktop drive that is not designed for 24/7 use, won’t be able to capture HD or FHD video from multiple cameras without dropping frames and isn’t designed to consume less power and thus generate less heat.

This last point is a major concern in terms of reliability, as excessive heat can drastically reduce the life of a hard drive and can also adversely affect read and write operations when the drive is being used in the surveillance system.

A buyer should, ideally, look for hard drives that offer surveillance-relevant optimisations, such as AllFrame technology, which not only improves playback performance but works with ATA streaming to reduce errors and frame loss. The drives should also be designed for 24/7 usage and offer features such as IntelliPower, which enables a drive to consume less power and thus generate less heat. This is ideal when a drive is going to be installed in a passively cooled storage enclosure, whether on its own or in-conjunction with several other hard drives.

Considering the high importance of storage in surveillance systems, vendors such as WD, have introduced dedicated tabletop surveillance drives that boast the aforementioned technology optimisations. The recently introduced WD Purple drive family has been compatibility tested with hundreds of surveillance systems and offer up to 4 TB of capacity on a single drive. Purple drives are uniquely designed for mainstream surveillance systems and offer a blend of performance, reliability and cost – the drives are recommended for use in systems with between 1-to-8 drive bays and where between 1 to as many as 32 HD cameras are used.

If you’re mulling over how much storage you need, it’s worth visiting vendors’ sites to see if they have a capacity calculator that you can use.

For more information contact Kalvin Subbadu, WD, +27 (0)83 277 7634,

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