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Challenges in choosing SD cards for security cameras

Challenges in choosing SD cards for security cameras
To ensure the reliability of a surveillance solution, choosing the suitable SD card for security cameras is a must. Besides knowing how to choose the right SD card, there are some challenges we have to be aware of.

To meet the growing need of security cameras, companies like Micron, Western Digital (WD) and Samsung have developed surveillance-grade memory cards, specifically for security surveillance purposes.

Unlike standard retail SD cards, surveillance-grade SD cards are built to withstand extreme weather (i.e., temperatures from -25 degrees Celsius to 85 degrees Celsius), continuous recording of up to two to three years and often incorporate health monitoring capabilities. These cards generally come in storage capacities of 32 GB up to 128 GB, depending on the manufacturer. All these specifications are meant to meet the demands of 24/7 video surveillance.

Last year, Micron introduced its ultra high-density surveillance-grade edge storage solution. The solution is built on a 64-layer Micron 3D TLC NAND technology. “Our newly released and highly dense memory devices enable greater capacity in a smaller space — with more effective power usage — enabling up to 30 days of surveillance video storage in the camera itself, depending on bit rate and hours of recording per day,” Lin explained.

Other features of Micron’s surveillance-grade microSD card include two million hours mean-time-to-failure (MTTF), or 0.44 percent annualized failure rate (AFR), which is equal to or better than most surveillance hard disk drives; special firmware designed for continuous video recording that minimizes frame drops; and technology to self-monitor and provide usage information and expected useful life remaining.

Other companies like WD and Samsung have also developed surveillance-grade SD cards. WD’s Purple microSD card is made specifically for surveillance camera use. Earlier this year Samsung Electronics introduced its PRO Endurance microSD card, which boasts up to 43,000 hours of continuous video recording.

4 things to consider when choosing an edge storage solution

Joey Lin, Senior Segment Marketing Manager at Micron Technology, named four things to consider when choosing an edge storage solution for security cameras.
Storage on the edge for security cameras has evolved from being a backup solution to now being used as primary storage. Choosing the right edge storage solution, however, comes with challenges. Lin outlined the following to consider when selecting a solution.
  1. Service level agreement (SLA): The first consideration for any systems integrator (SI) or system architect is selecting from products that are certified to last the length of their service agreement or contract. This varies regionally and by application, but typically three or more years. Anything less is inviting a truck roll and a much higher expense in replacing the card in the field.
  2. Storage capacity: The second consideration is selecting a card capacity that will provide sufficient video archiving. Is your edge storage solution able to store up to two weeks, or even one month, of video archives at the target resolution, with the chosen compression techniques? In today’s video surveillance industry, 1080p resolution is a basic requirement for an IP camera, and 4K will likely be so in the future. With continuous recording of high-quality surveillance video, you will need a higher density storage device to meet basic data storage and archiving requirements.
  3. Recording performance: The third consideration is selecting an edge storage solution that is able to meet your SLA for data quality. Continuous video recording into a storage device can cause frame drop issues. Your edge storage device must optimize its recording performance for surveillance usage to reduce the risk of data loss.
  4. Health monitoring: The fourth consideration is selecting an edge storage solution that is able to report a card’s life usage. When a card wears out its life cycle, it will cause system failure (i.e., stop recording) or a potential risk of data loss for a period of time during which the card is not able to work properly. To minimize the risk or reduce additional maintenance costs, the edge storage solution should be equipped with a health monitoring feature that can notify users in advance from a predictive maintenance usage perspective as to when they need to replace the card.

Pushing memory cards further

As the need for video surveillance continues to grow, SD card manufacturers will need to address the growing need for surveillance-grade memory cards. Camera resolution will only continue to improve and SD cards capable of handling such high resolutions and heavier data flows will be required to ensure a high standard of security.

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