Seagate SkyHawk AI drives point the way to the future in storage

Seagate SkyHawk AI drives point the way to the future in storage
For the past ten years, Seagate Technology’s SkyHawk surveillance drives have consistently delivered best in class performance for video surveillance systems around the globe. Now Seagate is taking the next step in its evolution with the launch of SkyHawk AI — the world’s first, purpose-built drive for artificial intelligence (AI) - enabled surveillance solutions.

How is AI Revolutionizing the Video Surveillance Market?

The basic concepts behind AI were conceived way back in the 1950s. However, much of this remained in the realms of academic research or science fiction — until today. With more powerful and cheaper GPUs alongside practically unlimited storage of data (text, pictures, videos, etc.), AI is becoming a reality with the development of machine and deep learning.

Deep learning is an approach that takes machine learning to the next level with less manual feature coding. Through the use of artificial neural networks that loosely mirror the way neurons work together in the human brain, a system is “trained” by exposing it to a large pool of pictures. It can learn to identify objects in any given picture (e.g., vehicles), provide details (e.g., vehicle make and color) as well as make decisions.

So what role does it play in video surveillance? While most systems on the market can detect basic motions, sounds and faces, deep learning provides a richer spectrum of search observations and video analysis like face detection/recognition, scene analysis and much more. Hence, AI use cases are on the rise, increasingly being used to analyze crowds or traffic, identify irregularities or suspicious behavior through assigned commands or learning from past mistakes.

According to IHS reports, there is a growing trend among hardware manufacturers to include analytics and sensors on devices with greater GPU power at a lower cost. Built-in AI in NVRs, in particular, offer many benefits. Intelligent AI NVRs continually learn, improving its ability to identify objects by specific parameters and descriptions. Data analysis can be performed on both live stream and uploaded video data, while objects of concern are tagged automatically to decrease time spent on searching through playbacks.

This ability to capture more knowledge and insights enables more accurate alerts and forensics as well as dramatically reduces time to action. Apart from security, this can be leveraged in fields such as in retail to understand customer behavior and shopping experience, in transportation to manage traffic, and in manufacturing and industrial plants to improve operational efficiency.

How does AI impact storage requirements?

There is no question that AI brings with it a lot of benefits; however, it is important to note that AI takes a heavy toll on traditional systems. Since even the most basic neural networks are very computationally intensive, intelligent AI NVRs require higher performance, stronger GPUs and more robust storage than previous generations. Purpose-built AI surveillance storage is needed to reliably deliver always-on video workloads that simultaneously record and analyze footage from multiple HD cameras. The drive must also be capable of delivering faster access to needed surveillance footage for operational efficiency and rapid AI computation.

Additionally, the accuracy of AI in video surveillance environments relies on the quality of the recorded footage: high resolution, sharp video footage with no dropped frames is essential for good results. The drives must reliably store both video and AI knowledge streams; while delivering high quality, high resolution footage.

SkyHawk AI Drives

To answer this growing need in the market, Seagate unveils the SkyHawk AI HDD, the world’s first, purpose-built AI drive that that will offer surveillance professionals the bandwidth and processing power needed to support growing workload needs as well as simultaneously support GPU analytics

Superior Data Storage and Access

Under normal operations, the SkyHawk AI drives are capable of handling up to 64 HD video surveillance streams and 16 AI streams, but can intelligently adapt to support the scale of AI streams required for the user’s unique environment. With Seagate’s ImagePerfectAI firmware, image quality is ensured with no dropped frames, all the while preserving AI (machine and deep learning) knowledge.

What makes SkyHawk AI ideal for CPU/GPU-intensive computational AI workloads is its high throughput and enhanced caching. This delivers low latency and excellent random read performance to quickly pinpoint and deliver video images and analysis. This also ultimately enables efficient, real-time AI operations to be conducted at the edge for faster decision making with backend SAN surveillance.

Increased Workload and Reliability

SkyHawk AI drives support a 550 TB/year workload rate (more than 3x the workload of standard surveillance HDDs) and comes with 2.5M hours MTBF. The drives feature an advanced hard drive design for low power usage and rotation vibration (RV) sensors, supporting RAID configurations with the ability to scale to 16+ bays.

Increased Peace of Mind

Bundled with every SkyHawk AI drive is a 5-year limited warranty and Seagate’s two-year data recovery plan which is activated at the time of purchase — no registration required. Done in-house in a private lab, Seagate Rescue services boast a greater than 90 percent success rate in recovering data that was corrupted due to natural disasters, data corruption or viruses.

AI Drives: the Wave of the Future

The future holds vast opportunities for AI and storage. Huge amounts of data are being harvested through the Internet of Things (IoT), but creating actionable information from it is difficult without the use of data analysis and AI tools. Purpose-built drives, like Seagate’s SkyHawk AI, that are designed to deliver high performance storage amid computationally heavy workloads are necessary for organizations to be able to harness the full potential of AI.

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