If video cameras are the eyes (and these days, also often the ears) of an organisation’s security surveillance system and network cabling and switches its nervous system, and video management software the brain, then the video data storage system acts as the backbone, supporting the entire system. And at up to 30% of total surveillance system costs, to allow you fast and dependable access to evidence footage, it pays to do your research and invest wisely on video storage.
Below, global surveillance and security industry company, Veracity provides a high-level guide to what organisations, especially large enterprises or government regulation-driven operations, should consider when working with and briefing consultants and installers on their critical video surveillance system storage needs.
Storage capacity vs image quality
The capacity demands and limitations of any video data storage system are dictated by users striking a balance of capturing the desired image quality (in megapixels) from video cameras at an acceptable frame rate (FPS), across the total number of cameras on the network and in addition to meeting the requirement for retention of this video data.
Bigger capacity systems allow higher data budgets – enabling higher resolution images, higher video frame rates, which allows users to get the best out of their expensive high-definition IP camera investments.
Hard disk reliability
Research regularly identifies hard drive failure as one of the top six security industry issues, withtemperature, vibration and wear being hard disk killers. So do your research and compare how different manufacturers’ video storage systems consider and attempt to mitigate this issue.
Video data retention time
Due to government regulation requirements in several sectors and countries, there may be a legal requirement to reliably retain video data for a specific period of time. This is often the case for police applications, prisons, stadia, pharmaceutical production, ports food production, specialised plant farming and body-worn cameras. Retention periods can be as much as 180 days, or longer.
System Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Think beyond the initial purchase cost and focus on the overall cost to your organisation of running and maintaining the storage system. Sequential storage systems, for example, have a far lower TCO than RAID-based systems, due to extended disk lifetimes, lower power consumption, lower cooling and power backup costs
In addition to storage design, the choice of VMS (video management software) plays a major factor in the TCO as many VMS platforms require recurring annual licence fees (per camera). This all adds up when you have hundreds of IP cameras as part of your network.
Guaranteeing accessibility of your video data
In recent years, cloud-based video storage – known as VSaaS (Video Storage as a Service) – has become popular, but it is not for everyone. Large enterprise systems are already struggling for increasing demands on available data bandwidth to support the IT requirements of their operations. The large megapixel video data rates now common in modern surveillance networks and even with the latest compression, run the risk of pulling down entire networks.
Such enterprise users tend to prefer video storage to be physically located on-site. The benefits of this include greatly reducing the risk of having no access to video data at critically important times and reduced recurring costs for increasing data utility infrastructure and fees.
Ensuring cybersecurity of video data and your networks
Cyber-attacks are a growing and major threat to the networks of all organisations. As a key part of any organisation’s “network”, modern video surveillance systems are made up of numerous IP cameras and devices, which to varying degrees, all expose the network to the potential vulnerability of a cyber-attack. Therefore, like any network-connected device, video storage systems need to play their part to secure the cyber-robustness of the wider network and the integrity of the evidence data they hold.
Veracity’s COLDSTORE range of video storage systems
Veracity’s COLDSTORE video storage systems benefit from a unique mirrored-overlapping pair writing pattern called a Linear Array of Idle Disks (LAID) plus a special Sequential Filing System (SFS) offering significant advantages over traditional RAID technology with LAID, disks are used sequentially, with all the disks not in use being switched off, saving power and thus greatly reducing temperature and wear. With SFS, users get the double benefit of increased speed of disk reading and writing, while vibration is massively reduced, helping to minimise wear. Users can expect the life of hard disks within COLDSTORE systems to increase by up to ten times longer than they would in an equivalent RAID system.
With typical maximum power consumption as low as 40 Watts on some models, COLDSTORE systems deliver as low at 0.15W per TB power to storage performance, which enable power savings of over 90% in comparison to other RAID-based systems.
COLDSTORE products embedded with the latest version of Nx Witness VMS. COLDSTORE’s products provide continuous recording of all RTSP and ONVIF Profile S compatible IP cameras. Also, worth considering that VMS platforms such as Network Optix’s “NX Witness VMS” have no recurring licence fees.
Veracity offers its COLDSTORE NVR cybersecure recording platform, aimed at remote sites and/or “zero-trust” networks. Such recording devices are designed to eliminate cyber-attack surfaces, with all data routed through a single IP port, helping to ensure separation of internal and external networks. This approach effectively secures insecure cameras and devices from external attack.
RAID vs SFS – Data capture technologies
It is worth emphasising that IT data and video data are critically different – with video data being recorded in real-time, i.e., sequentially and as it happens. RAID technology (redundant array of inexpensive devices) was originally designed for storing IT data, therefore, using such technology for video data applications effectively turns this into “IT” data and loses some of the advantages of SFS technology (sequential filing system), which is perfectly suited for video data (and other sequential or real-time data such as audio and analytics meta-data). As modern surveillance applications require large storage capacities, RAID systems are not very well suited to the largest capacity disk drives available, due to longer rebuild times and unrecoverable read-error rates. When considering RAID systems, video data system designs must account for the much-reduced throughput (data rate) when rebuilding a disk (a RAID volume) – i.e., this must be considered the maximum throughput, otherwise recordings will have gaps when a volume is being rebuilt.