Veracity on limitations of RAID in video surveillance

Veracity on limitations of RAID in video surveillance

For a long time, RAID has been the primary storage technology in video surveillance due to its redundancy features. In RAID 5, for example, data is written to all disks in the array, and data integrity is ensured even with the failure of one HDD.

Yet more and more, the limitations of RAID have become more obvious. As the disk increases in capacity, the rebuild process takes longer than ever. The complex rebuild process also runs the risk of the second disk going down, which for RAID 5 means the failure of the entire array. On top of this, writing data to all disks in the array consumes power heavily. All this presents unique challenges for video surveillance end users amid 4K and longer retention periods in certain regions.

“More and more countries are requiring much more than the standard 30 days or one month storage. All of the Middle East, for example, is either 120 or 180 days. When you multiply that across 1,000 HD cameras, which are recording 24/7, that starts to become a massive amount of storage,” said Alastair McLeod, CEO of Veracity.

In fact, IT service providers have increasingly moved away from RAID and opted for non-RAID disk architectures such as JBOD, and according to McLeod, that makes it all the more necessary for video surveillance players to follow suit. In fact, Veracity has already done so with its linear array of idle disks (LAID) and sequential filing system (SFS) technologies, which are featured on its COLDSTORE storage devices.

What makes Veracity’s solution unique is that in LAID, only the disks that are being written to are powered. All the others are powered off. This boosts the system’s power savings manifold.

“The power consumption of our system is about one tenth of that of RAID systems, so 10 times less power,” McLeod said. “If you take the expected lifetime of the system, which could be anything from seven to 10 years, the power savings are huge.”

Meanwhile, the SFS technology uses a mirrored pair-writing mechanism that writes data to a pair of disks simultaneously for redundancy. Should one disk fail the data on it is preserved; there is no need to rebuild. The mirrored pair-writing process then shifts to the next disk pair. The process repeats itself and ensures data writing resilience.

Veracity already has had a lot of success with this technology in North America and Europe. It has recently stepped into the Middle East, where requirements for longer video retention as mentioned above make Veracity’s solution even more suitable.

“The bigger the storage, the bigger difference it makes in the total cost of ownership depending on which technology you are using,” said McLeod. “If you go down the RAID 5, RAID 6 route, you're locked in to high power, short lifetime, lots of cooling and air conditioning, and very expensive UPS. If you go down the route such as our system, you get extended equipment lifetime, extended disk lifetime, very low power, low cooling cost, and low UPS capital cost.”

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