Difference between a normal hard drive and surveillance hard drive!

Many of you might have a feeling that they can use a normal desk top hard drive for their surveillance needs. They go with this logic thinking that all hard drives are same and operate in a similar manner. But this assumption of them is quite wrong.

Traditional, desktop hard drives are made to operate only for 8 hours a day and 6 days a week. So, the overall work load will be at the most 10%-20% and their performance will be low to moderate. Therefore, they usually exhibit low mean time between failures.

While a surveillance hard drive forms a central component to the digital storage of surveillance video. It can be used in a DVR, NVR, Video Server or a Video Management System in order to work 24 hours a day and 7 days week. These hard drives need to be always active, in order to keep video evidence live.

Generally, a surveillance hard drive usage will be moderate to high and any kind of hard drive disruption will affect multiple users. Therefore, hard drives makers offering such drives will often offer them with high mean time between failure ability. Some hard drive makers like Seagate will also offer a firmware, as a rescue service plan to recover the data from the failed hard drive caused due to mechanical failure or accidental damage.

Therefore, for all your mission critical surveillance needs, please use an exclusive surveillance or enterprise class hard drive. And instead of doing it yourself, it is better to go for a video management system or a video server, offered by reputed data storage vendors like DNF Security. These vendors use certified hard drives and other hardware components to drive their appliances. Therefore, factors such as reliability, scalability can be optimized to the fullest with these appliances. If it is a small scale video surveillance need and involves few numbers of analog cameras, then it is better to go for a DVR embedded with a surveillance hard drive.



Remember, if you are the user, it is your duty to ask the vendor or installer, regarding the components and hardware used in the surveillance installation. You should insist on a solution, which is highly customizable, scalable, reliable and easy to manage.


  • If the involvement is less than 10-12 cameras, then analog camera installation along with a DVR is recommended.
  • If the installation requires more than 15 cameras, then it is better to go for IP cameras and utilize an NVR. This offers a good scope to upgrade in future.
  • If the installation involves large number of analog and IP cameras, it is better to use a hybrid NVR, which can entertain analog and network camera recording.
  • For all large scale installations taking place in public places like airports, bus transit facilities and such, it is better to go for IP camera installations. But usually, we observe that the IT head carries out the surveillance operations with a mix-up of analog and IP camera involvement.
  • To be specific, almost 4-5 years ago, all large or small scale surveillance installations had analog cameras in place. But due to the development in technology and utmost benefits, a trend for IP cameras is now being observed. Therefore, in order to keep up with the current trend, surveillance managers are either replacing their equipment with IP from analog or trying their best to integrate both technologies with the help of hybrid NVRs and video management systems.


  1. Hi there
    NAS hard drives are more expensive than Surveillance. I have a server in my home that rarely put pressure on its hard drive at a time. But it’s on 24/7. May I ask if the surveillance version is a good choice instead of NAS which is more expensive?
    What is the feature that NAS version has and surveillance doesn’t which make it more expensive? Is it because of the ability to work hard and serve several computers at time? If it’s so since I am the only user of my server I think surveillance version would serve me good. What’s opinion on this?

    Thank you in advance.

  2. I brought wrongly PC based hard disk for Hikvision Net DVR. DVR does not recognize it. Can someone please guide as to how this can be possible. Thank you.

    • You need to find out the lowest to highest capacity that the NVR supports, if it says minimum 1 TB and up to 4 TB and you add a 500 Gb it will not recognize it. Also if you will have the recording 24 HS. a day, consider a WD Purple NV, they are supposed to handle better than Hard drives for computers.

  3. hai i buy hikvision 2mp camera 2.and dvr kit.i nee one tb hard drive .which company hard drive is best to buy please .give right solution to me.by raja.

  4. I just bought an 8 channel Funlux NVR NS-S81A-S for my (currently) 3 camera Funlux system. Now I’m going to buy a surveillance hard drive. Do you need to install an operating system for these hard drives or are they just recognized automatically as the storage device by the NVR? Thanks.

  5. When I worked with VHS tape machines for ATMs (and not that long ago!) there was a similar misunderstanding. Some home users thought they could use a standard machine with a on/off mechanism. No good: Early failure.
    Good article; useful.

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