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INSIGHTS

Storage in video surveillance: A look at the current and future trends

Storage in video surveillance: A look at the current and future trends
Storage is critical in a video surveillance system. What are the latest trends in storage and how should the user decide which solution to get? This series will address those points.
Storage is critical in a video surveillance system. What are the latest trends in storage and how should the user decide which solution to get? This series will address those points.
 
Storage is an important element in video surveillance. It makes sure that video is property stored and can be accessed anytime. Indeed, with video datasets constantly growing due to higher resolution and longer retention periods, storage is needed more than ever. According to MarketsandMarkets’ forecast, the global video surveillance storage market size will grow from US$7.5 billion in 2020 to $10.2 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 6.1 percent.
 
So what are some of the current solutions and future trends in storage? We take a closer look below.
 

Storage device

 
From a device perspective, network video recorders (NVRs) are still the most popular solution. “NVRs that use hard disk drives (HDDs) remain the most popular hardware globally for video storage because of their cost effectiveness, simplicity of installation and ease of use. Today HDD NVRs are almost like little computers with a raft of internal error correction technologies that make them incredibly robust and reliable. However, quality varies, and users should look for reputable manufacturers that approve HDDs for video recording,” said Peter Kim, Global Technical Consultant at IDIS.
 
With the increasing popularity of cloud-based video surveillance, more and more NVRs now come with cloud capabilities. “NVR complete with cloud solutions is enabling people to view live or recorded footage remotely over the network, simply by logging into their computer, phone or tablet. Should an alarm be triggered, an email notification can be sent to a device, and the user can remotely verify, save a snapshot or immediately email the footage to authorities,” said Stefan Lundberg, Senior Expert Engineer at Axis Communications.
 

Storage medium

 
From a storage medium perspective, as aforementioned, the hard disk drive is still the mainstream. "Hard disk drives are still the mainstay of almost all video surveillance storage – even in the cloud. There have been some shortages of high-capacity hard disks due to component shortages and a technology shift in cryptocurrency which used massive amounts of storage, although the collapse in cryptocurrency values has significantly decreased the demand for high-capacity drives for those purposes. Solid-state storage has not progressed as expected some years ago, as it has remained too expensive for mass-storage applications such as video. It has also suffered from the worldwide component shortages. Therefore, hard disks are still the king of video surveillance storage applications,” said Alastair McLeod, CEO of Veracity.
 

Software-defined storage

 
Software-defined storage (SDS) relies on a computer program for managing data storage resources and functionality and has no dependencies on the underlying physical storage hardware. It’s becoming a more popular storage infrastructure in the IT world due to several factors, including a growth of unstructured data, the availability of high-performance servers and the popularity of cloud. Increasingly, it’s caught on in the video surveillance industry as well.
 
“SDS is slowly starting to show some good footing in the video surveillance space. With an agnostic approach to hardware and flexibility of workloads, this option provides great benefits to those who are well versed in how to manage this type of storage infrastructure. Although this approach introduces another layer of complexity, the benefits of SDS can exceed traditional storage environments,” said Eugene Kozlovitser, CTO at BCD. “With the ability to distribute workloads between low-performing and higher-performing systems accordingly, SDS does offer enough elasticity to cater to a broad spectrum of customer service needs. And with every software vendor offering a different approach to this concept, there is a large variety of choices out there for any scale of deployment.”
 

Hyperconverged infrastructure

 
Meanwhile, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), a software-defined unified system combining compute, networking and storage elements in a single platform, is also gaining traction in video surveillance. “HCI is the foreseeable next step in the video surveillance market. Although a slower inception of the technology, the growth trend has been promising based on some recent market analysis, and more customers are looking to adapt to this model much more quickly and align with the concept of video surveillance as a service (VSaaS),” Kozlovitser said.
 

Lower energy consumption


Since a storage system consumes a lot of energy, lowering energy consumption has become a priority. “A key trend which will finally emerge as being critically important in surveillance storage systems is energy consumption. Veracity have been arguing this case for many years, but with the recent dramatic increases in electricity costs, many more customers are going to see this as a critical factor in their choice of solution,”  McLeod said. “Lower power consumption means lower heat dissipation, and therefore lower-cost A/C systems can be used with lower running costs. Further, lower power consumption means that lower capacity UPS (uninterruptible power supplies) can be employed, again lowering capital and running costs whilst increasing efficiency.”
 

Increased datasets

 
It’s important to point out that storage for video surveillance is hugely impacted by the amount of video data, which has become bigger than ever due to higher resolution and longer retention times.
 
“Across a wide range of vertical market sectors, we are seeing organizations required to store video for longer durations, sometimes significantly longer. For example, in the U.S., regulations state that cannabis operators must store surveillance footage for 90 days across cultivation and logistics sites as well as dispensaries. This is also the standard retention time for a variety of sectors in the Middle East, most notably banking and finance,” Kim said.
 
He added: “In addition to longer retention periods, the volume of data being generated is also increasing significantly. A few years ago, many users were upgrading to Full-HD systems; now we are seeing 5MP cameras becoming the norm as customers look for the additional benefit of AI-powered video analytics. For wide-area surveillance such as public spaces, parking lots, large perimeters, and stadia, 4K PTZ cameras are also becoming the go-to solution.”
 
Needless to say, bigger data takes up more space in storage, incurring higher storage cost in the process. Luckily, advances in technology, especially in the area of compression, have been able to address this issue.
 
“Video compression algorithms are used to encode the original information by reducing and removing redundant information. These algorithms locate regions in the video that have already been transferred, so that redundant sending in the next image frame can be avoided. The algorithms also identify places in the video where details can be removed without reducing the visual quality,” Lundberg said.
 
“Advances in technology have meant that the overall cost of data storage has decreased. The switch from H.264 to H.265 over the last decade brought about a 50 percent reduction in costs, and with the addition of intelligent codecs an additional 30 percent reduction has been achieved, with storage requirements brought down significantly,” Kim said. “In addition, users can choose to use motion adaptive transmission (MAT) technology on specific cameras to gain savings of up to 90 percent on storage and bandwidth compared to older H.264 systems. When switched on – and many users neglect to do this – MAT technology can be a particularly effective tool, restricting transmission during live surveillance to periods without movement in the scene.”
 


Product Adopted:
Storage
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