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Article Type: Technology Focus          Published: 07-2015         Views: 1080      



We live an increasingly surveillance-heavy society, which brings with it challenges to storage technology providers, explains Nick Spittle, General Manager, Storage Products Division at Toshiba Electronics Europe

Video surveillance is big business. According to research by Transparency Market Research, the total video surveillance and video surveillance-as-a-service (VSaaS) market is expected to reach a value of US$42 billion by 2019, with a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 19.1% from 2013 to 2019.

With the growing popularity of video surveillance for monitoring industrial processes where human observation could be potentially hazardous, the monitoring of traffic to help emergency services and alert transport safety officers to incidents as well as numerous applications in retail environments, there is an increased demand for storage devices. The surveillance industry continues to transition from analogue data capture and storage on VHS -style tape based systems, towards digital data capture and storage on HDD-based systems. With the introduction of IP-based video surveillance systems that generate high quality video storage demand have become more acute. Transparency Market Research predicts the total IP-based video surveillance market will grow rapidly between 2013 and 2019 with a CAGR of 24.2%.

With historical surveillance footage becoming increasingly important due to legislation, data is being stored for longer and longer. In combination with the increasing quality of video being collected, storage of surveillance data is becoming a real challenge.

In a similar manner as the migration of general data storage to the cloud, VSaaS has started to emerge as an alternative to local storage and involves the management and archiving of video footage captured by IP-based surveillance cameras on cloud-based storage.

Figure 1 depicts the main types of storage architectures currently in use, highlighting the main storage systems (analogue audio video recorders (AVRs), digital video recorders (DVRs), network video recorders (NVRs) and IP-based storage area networks (SAN).

The HDD is the central data storage component of digital surveillance systems. Innovations in speed, capacity and interfaces have dramatically reduced HDD cost per gigabyte and enable HDDs to handle large amounts of data very quickly.

One potential shortcoming of HDDs is the reliance on mechanical moving parts that come with some risk of failure. While solid state drives (SSDs) offer an appealing alternative in terms of speed, resilience and no-moving parts, they are more expensive than HDDs and not yet a viable alternative to systems generating large volumes of surveillance data.

In order to increase the throughput performance and reliability of HDD-based systems, multiple HDDs can be used in what is known as a RAID array. RAID provides redundancy by storing data on multiple drives, ensuring that any single drive failure does not stop the storage system working and that no data is lost.

There are various ways that RAID setups can work, with RAID levels 5 and 6 most commonly being used for surveillance systems as they provide a balance between data redundancy and total capacity needs.

As shown in Figure 1, the most suitable type of storage system depends on the number of cameras and the quality of the surveillance data recorded.

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