What to look for in a hard drive meant for video surveillance?

Market research firm IHS estimates that in United States of America, one surveillance camera has been installed for every eight people. The research firm also estimated that US was ranked as the second largest market for video surveillance equipment, worth $2.8 billion. The said information and analysis provider also included in its estimate that US has an obsession not only for just a video, but also for security camera capabilities such as HD and 4K.

However, the same research firm also pointed out the fact that the market is missing an equally crucial component that can make or break the effectiveness of an entire surveillance system and that happens to be “Storage”.

Unfortunately, in a trend of DIY many surveillance professionals are using the wrong drive in a surveillance system. Rather than being designed for continuous capture of HD or FHD video from multiple cameras, a drive that is not optimized for surveillance systems can drop frames, or even consume more power, generating more heat to create a major reliability issue.

This could also drastically reduce the life of a drive, adversely affecting the read and write operations in a surveillance system. These solutions may cost the customer less upfront initially, but eventually could affect their businesses on performance, reliability and even on reputation scale.

Therefore, here are specific things to look for when evaluating whether a drive has been designed with surveillance in mind.

  • Always it should be on- A surveillance system must work on 24×7 basis and if the drive hasn’t been designed for constant, never ending R/W operations, then it won’t support the surveillance system on full scale.
  • Performance reliability- Some surveillance systems include drives like WD’s purple surveillance class HDD family. This includes special technology called “All Frame” that improves playback performance and works with ATA streaming to reduce errors and frame loss. One can opt for these drives populated surveillance systems as they offer performance reliability to the core.
  • RAID enabled- RAID is for protecting data in the event of hard drive failure and so users seeking surveillance storage should insist on systems which include RAID supportive hard drives.
  • Low power consumption- Drives which consume less power will automatically lead to cut down in Opex costs. That is why going for a surveillance system which offers drives which consume low power can prove helpful in lessening the costs involved in deploying surveillance.
  • High camera count support- Normally, surveillance related storage needs to maintain data for longer periods. All thanks to the growing number of threats like terrorism, crime….etc where video evidence is termed as crucial. Therefore, look for a system that has drives up to 6TB of capacity on single drive.
  • Extensive compatibility with cameras– Needless to say, the drive one selects needs to work with the cameras one is planning to install. One that works with most of the different cameras a user could install will make it easier to keep the right drive on-hand, regardless of current installation scenario. They are many instances where drives used in DVRs and NVRs stopped recording camera footage, due to compatibility issues
  • Drives need to be Rugged- Drives need to have tarnish resistant PCBA protection if they need to live and perform continuously in harsh environments.

Considering the importance of storage in surveillance systems, users may also find it helpful to use an IP camera storage capacity calculator to help determine how much storage is needed for the length of time the data is to be maintained for a particular surveillance system.


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