Surveillance, storage and your options

June 2010 Cyber Security

Vassen Naicker examines the non-glamorous side of surveillance.

A report by IMS Research, released two years ago: the ‘World market for external storage used for video surveillance’ predicted that by 2012, 3,3 exabytes of storage would be needed to store digital video from a new surveillance deployment.

Two years down the line and it would seem that this predication remains relevant and accurate. The video surveillance market, driven by the rapid advancement of technologies such as IP TV, has become a bona fide storage market to play in, with potential for strong business success.

A phenomenal amount of data and external storage will play a key role in managing this information. As increasing amounts of video surveillance moves onto the network, boasting formats and equipment that record in, among others, high resolution, the resultant need for storage capacity is skyrocketing.

The explosion

Key to this evolution has been video surveillance’s shift from analogue to digital and from primarily tape-based systems to hard drives. In turn, this has allowed for the deployment of software to analyse high-resolution images, greatly improving the impact of surveillance in today’s challenging security climate.

When looking at some of the foremost developments as a result of digitised surveillance IP video surveillance, wireless networking, higher resolution colour systems, biometrics, smart sensors and intelligent networks are definitely important technologies to highlight.

Again, the abovementioned require huge amounts of storage and hard drives engineered to thrive in a high duty cycle system. Moreover, these storage systems need to offer both the capacity and a low cost per gigabyte.

Typically, one camera recording continuously x 1 Mbps x 1/4 of a year will require 1 TB of storage. Quite obviously this figure grows the more cameras you add, creating large storage space requirements. And while digital video surveillance systems are used in a myriad of environments such as banking, entertainment and retail, it is more beneficial to utilise hard drives built specifically for surveillance applications, therefore, offering enhanced reliability and capacity.

The solution

Practically, today’s surveillance hard drive should enable IPTV, IP video surveillance, CCTV and SDVR (speaker-dependent voice recognition) to in turn deliver a range of features and capabilities such as high resolution image quality, streaming video for cameras and video archiving with ultra-fast data access and on-demand video playback.

As mentioned, surveillance solutions also require more gigabyte for less money. Fortunately, there are today greener alternatives out there that significantly drive down the amount of power used, therefore, saving on high energy bills and doing its bit for the environment.

Typically, the latest enterprise-class drives would offer 2 TB of capacity coupled with 64 MB cache, dual processor and significant areal density. Throw in some significant energy savings, and you have one mean hard drive to meet your surveillance requirements.

Moreover, these drives also offer reliability rated at 1,2 million hours MTBF (mean time before failure) in high duty cycle environments.

With this all said, it is possible to build surveillance storage systems that do meet all the needs for high capacity, consistent performance while driving down costs and keeping trend with the predicted 3,3 exabyte storage in two years time.

For more information contact Drive Control Corporation, +27 (0)11 201 8927,,

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