What's New in Video Storage

Blog Date:  8/31/2011
Author:  Ray Coulombe

There is arguably no higher cost component in a video surveillance system than video storage equipment. Coupled with the proliferation of CCTV cameras, the ability of network-based video systems to enable easy viewing of live and stored video at multiple locations has driven video storage to higher levels of importance and utility. There is no doubt in my mind that not only will the number of stored bytes of video data continue to rapidly increase, but also that offsetting advancements in a number of areas will keep costs reasonable.
Start with the cost of the storage media itself. In 1950, the cost per megabyte of storage was approximately $10,000. In the early 1980s, that cost had fallen to less than $500; by 1990, under $10; and by the late 1990s, about a penny. In 2001, we saw the cost per gigabyte less than $5; under $1 in 2004, and less than a dime in 2010. Today, you can purchase a 3 TB SATA drive from Amazon for $159. Granted, these are only drive costs and do not reflect the hardware and software around them to make them work, but the downward trend in raw storage costs continues. This will only fuel the appetite to store more.
Storage in the cloud — which I use myself — has come of age. While this topic is the subject for another article, it is worth mentioning that centralized cloud-based storage can provide enhanced levels of redundancy and security (if properly implemented), while offering the opportunity for new services such as analytic-based search.
What about those cases where you really do not need to store all the video that is generated by every camera? For this, there is storage on the edge, using flash, SD, or CF, for example, capable of storing hours of video and streaming in conjunction with an alarm event, including pre- and post-alarm.
Also emerging is solid state drive (SSD) technology. Currently, about $2 per GB, Moore’s law would predict a roughly 50-percent cost drop per year. Still significantly higher priced than magnetic SAS or SATA drives, SSD technology offers higher performance (approximately 200 times the read speed) and great potential in an edge device. Somewhat surprisingly, a quick check of the power consumption of 1 TB SSD and SATA drives showed no appreciable difference.
Other important developments are occurring in the software that manages and searches stored video. Storage appliance vendors have made great strides in their software/OS to optimize video storage and retrieval. Managing the block transfers of video data and minimizing fragmentation improves the overall data reliability of the stored video.
Link to Complete Article as it appeared in Security Technology Executive Magazine


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