Rapid technology advances in recent years have driven the maturity of previously budding applications, such as PCs, video and the Internet, enabling their growing use in surveillance applications today. Kevin Lee discussed Seagate solutions and advantages at the Global Digital Surveillance Forum (GDSF), part of SecuTech Expo 2007 in Taipei, Taiwan.
Thanks to the convergence of video and information technology, wired and wireless networks that link together computers and video surveillance solutions are quickly gaining ground.
However, greater adoption of digital video surveillance solutions entails massive volumes of video data, driving a growing need for scalable surveillance storage solutions. Business operators are faced with numerous hard-disk drive (HDD) choices for surveillance systems operating in a variety of environments.
Today's surveillance HDD user must answer these tough questions: Which HDDs are best for different surveillance applications? What is the best interface and the optimal storage capacity for different systems under different operating environments?
The Growing Importance of HDDs in Digital Surveillance
Today's video surveillance systems must deliver full-motion video, captured continuously in real time and often employing high-definition frame resolutions.
In addi t ion to the widespread availability of wired and wireless networks that link together computers and video surveillance solutions, surveillance users can also leverage new applications, such as hardware-based IP video and softwarebased video analytics, to expand the impressive capabilities already delivered by video surveillance systems.
Furthermore, a growing number of solution providers offer systems that link advanced digital cameras and video software with existing networks employed for access control, intrusion detection and cyber security. Such enhanced systems enable users to search and filter activities in a video events database, isolating only those images in which user-specified details occur.
As surveillance technology continues to advance, the industry is rapidly moving towards the introduction of integrated security products, consolidating operator consoles, digital imaging and HDD-based video storage in one comprehensive security solution.
Choosing the Right HDD for Your Surveillance System
Storage systems have become an increasingly important component of video surveillance technology. Indeed, many enterprises seem prepared to spend more on storage technology than server technology for surveillance systems.
As HDD technology continually advances, HDDs have evolved from mere pieces of hardware into specialized, complex component systems in which a significant portion of their functionality relies on software; this is particularly evident in surveillance systems.
However, the growing popularity of HDDs in surveillance systems has found many system designers and installation and maintenance contractorsas well as end-usersexperiencing unreliable HDDs with higher-than-expected failure rates.
This phenomenon, a common practice, is mainly due to deploying desktopclass HDDs in surveillance systems. The operating environments of surveillance DVRs and desktop PCs are very different, and this fundamental mismatch often results in premature system failures. According to an A&S survey, more than 62 percent of DVR users identified HDD overheating or general HDD failure leading to system instability as their main operational issues.
This is hardly surprising, given that desktop-class HDDs consume greater power and are not optimized for operating environments that entail extreme temperatures, as well as vibrations and shocks. Desktop-class HDDs are also not designed for 24/7 use and high read-write duty cycles, which are key capabilities that enable DVRs to ensure data integrity and smooth video streaming.
The recent introduction of consumer electronics (CE) HDDs only clouds the issue. While CE-based HDDs address power consumption concerns and areto some extentoptimized for mobile usage, they are still primarily designed for the consumer applications market; and the lower 5,400-RPM spin speeds are largely unsuited for the rigorous 24/7 duty of specialized surveillance applications.
Surveillance HDD Prerequisites
Video surveillance applications place enormous demands on storage solutions. Multi-camera installations, IP surveillance and high-definition digital recording systems are widely used in enterprise and government video surveillance applications; these generate vast quantities of high-resolution, high-frame-rate footage that requires massive storage capacity to hold it.
Furthermore, with retention periods increasing up to a year, as per current industry standards, surveillanceoptimized HDDs must also be able to store and quickly retrieve huge amounts of archived footage on demand. In addition to abundant storage capacity, the design and target usage environment of DVRs also demand surveillance-optimized HDDs deliver the following capabilities:
Low motor start-up current
Low power consumption
24/7 continuous operation
Video data integrity and reliability
High rotational vibration tolerance
In short, surveillance-optimized HDDs must ensure that the dual DVR demands of data integrity and smooth video streaming are met, all while working in a relentless 24/7 operating environment with conditions that can range from extreme heat and cold to constant vibration and impact.
Furthermore, the spread of network technologies via wired and wireless connectivity places additional demands on surveillance-optimized HDDs. Not only must they provide ever greater capacities, but they must also support network and multi-drive configurations, such as storage area network, JBOD, network-attached storage and RAID.
Indeed, surveillance-optimized HDDs have established a whole new category onto themselves by addressing the specific demands of video surveillance applications. However, within the broad umbrella of video surveillance storage, there are also niche applications, such as mobile surveillance that demands additional capabilities. With such growing diversity in digital surveillance operating environments comes the need for appropriate HDDs to address the different requirements of a broad variety of surveillance applications.
In that regard, the selection of specialized recording media for a variety of different surveillance applications is highly dependent on the capabilities of individual surveillance-specific HDD product families, such as the Seagate SV35 series drives, the Barracuda ES drives and the EE25 series drives.
The Seagate Advantage
With the SV35 series drive, Seagate has formally introduced the world's first hard drive specially designed for the specific demands of the surveillance industry; the Barracuda ES and EE25 series drives complete the initial Seagate lineup of surveillance storage solutions. Reflecting the Seagate commitment to addressing the global need for an entirely new category of surveillance-optimized HDDs, this lineup delivers industry-leading features unmatched by competition.
Featuring 50 percent higher storage capacity and twice the efficiency of competing products under multiple-disk environments such as RAID and JBOD, the Barracuda ES drive easily tops its class with single platform, multiple storage capacity options and sophisticated power management capabilities. Its use of perpendicular magnetic recording technology and advanced firmware features also makes Barracuda ES drives an ideal choice for multiple-disk environments.
The commitment by Seagate does not end with the surveillance-optimized HDD features in its complete range of surveillance storage solutions. Seagate is continuously working on enhancing product value, from pre-sales design consultation services, product testing and evaluation to after-sales product warranty servicing. Seagate product support extends to all surveillance HDD users, and includes online product information, consultation and even training programs for Seagate Partner Program (SPP) members.
As the demand for surveillance-specific storage solutions continues to grow, Seagate has set up a Design Service Center (DSC) to offer a full range of research and development, design and testing services to help surveillance system builders and integrators incorporate Seagate surveillance-optimized HDDs into their products. DSC helps Seagate customers transform innovative product ideas into reliable storage-driven products. By working with DSC to solve problems early in the lab instead of later in development or out in the field, customers are able to bring products to market faster, with lower overall cost and greater reliability.
And if storage users need to recover critical, lost business data or irreplaceable personal files, they can take advantage of specialized knowledge and cutting-edge technology that are the hallmarks of Seagate. Now offering best-in-class data recovery services for all brands and all formats of storage media, Seagate combines a generous "no files, no charge" policy and proven record of service excellence to make it the best choice for data recovery needs.
Additionally, Seagate was the first company to provide an industry-leading, five-year limited warranty period, reflecting its dedication to bringing the newest technology and products to market, as well as ensuring the highest product dependability for all Seagate HDD users.