Where to Store All That Video Surveillance Data

Digital video surveillance (DVS) is most notably utilized in public parks, parking garages, businesses, construction sites, neighborhoods and homes. Today, video surveillance data is growing by leaps and bounds – it is estimated that 127 million video surveillance cameras will be sold in 2017 [1]. Higher resolution cameras and longer retention periods are creating huge storage challenges for digital video storage management, raising the key question, “how can we store it all?” In this BlogBytes, we will review the key factors that are propelling the video surveillance industry, its usage and how LTO technology is becoming a key player in preservation and cost control for this growing market segment.

Video Surveillance Usage on the Rise

In November 2016, security cameras showed two intruders entering a construction site. Video monitors notified police and within minutes, K9s were deployed at the site. Police arrested two suspects 10 minutes later [2]. This is one of many situations that are driving organizations to adopt video surveillance technology to protect property, personnel and information assets.

According to a recently released IHS Markit whitepaper, Caught on Tape, Now Keep is Secure, other factors contributing to the sharp increase in video surveillance use include:

  • Increased awareness of video surveillance technology
  • Enhanced security climate
  • Legislation and regulations
  • Multiple uses of the technology
  • Decline in video surveillance camera prices

Big Storage Challenges

As noted by IHS Markit, one of the most important requirements of a video surveillance camera is being able to automatically adapt to changing environmental conditions and produce consistently usable images [1]. This can allow the specific identification of many variables including individuals, license plates, criminal behavior and more. High-quality resolution demands full high definition cameras with 1080p and 4K technology, which create large digital files. In addition, regulations, internal policies and the value of the stored data can require image files to be retained for longer periods of time, thus adding an additional storage capacity burden.

Addressing Video Storage Demands

IHS Markit explains that treating all video surveillance data with a one-size-fits-all approach can lead to inadequacies. The value and requirements for video surveillance data often changes over its lifetime, so configuring a storage solution with one type of storage with the same storage policy can be inefficient [1].

The Storage Puzzle Pieces Come Together

A tiered storage approach with disk and tape can put the pieces of the DVS puzzle together and provide a balance with access policies, preservation and cost efficiencies. IHS Markit describes how many current Video Management System (VMS) programs are now directly able to access and control tape libraries simply with a plug-in. This permits users, without leaving their VMS application, access to a timeline of footage from disk and tape [1].

Recent video footage that may be recalled in the short-term could be stored on disk or flash. As this footage ages and becomes infrequently accessed or inactive, it can be moved to tape for secure long-term storage, which helps control costs. A total cost of ownership study showed that an LTO tape system was nearly seven times lower than an all disk system and over five times lower than a hybrid disk-cloud system.

The increased use of video surveillance due to protection policies, declining prices of high definition cameras and longer retention periods creates new storage challenges that can be addressed with a tiered strategy using disk and LTO technology for performance, cost control and secure image preservation.

To find out more about managing DVS storage, listen to the free webinar “Managing Surveillance Data: Caught on Tape, Now Keep It Secure,” sponsored by IHS Markit and The LTO Program.

[1] IHS Markit, “Managing Surveillance Data: Caught On Tape, Now Keep It Secure” June 2017
[2] Radius Security, Video Surveillance Success Stories from the Trenches, Nov. 25, 2015