With CCTV, it’s not only what you see, it’s also what you can recall that matters most!

Video surveillance cameras are appearing everywhere. Municipalities, businesses and citizens around the world are installing video surveillance cameras to help deter criminal activity and support law enforcement and first responders perform their daily duties. For example, there are about 17,000 security cameras in and around New York City that create mountains of digital video content. And in January of this year, New York City officials announced the roll out of 20,000 body cameras to NYPD officers before the end of the year, with similar adoption trends being witnessed around the world.  But all this observation is only useful if the video is readily available for recall and analysis – and that means being able to save the video footage to a safe and reliable storage medium. So in this BlogBytes, we will review challenges associated with Digital Video Surveillance (DVS) storage, an interesting video capture implementation and how tape storage has come to play a key role in the preservation of DVS data content.

Video Surveillance Challenges

Organizations have found that video surveillance footage needs to be captured in a high resolution format to ensure it is of high quality and therefore can be used as viable evidence if required in legal proceedings. This requirement for high resolution footage, results in larger file sizes that in turn create new storage and file transfer challenges.  Video surveillance files may not be accessed often, but need to be retained for defined periods of time, therefore the need for a reliable, high-capacity and cost-efficient long-term video storage solution becomes imperative.  Keeping high capacity video files on disk storage can be expensive, especially since the frequency at which DVS content is accessed is typically low.  For these reasons, tape storage has become an important layer in video surveillance storage strategies. As noted in a Securityinformed.com article “Retention times aren’t shrinking and tape is increasingly viewed as a vital element in surveillance storage architectures.”  Read on to learn how one municipality is solving its cities security concerns.

Cameras Catch Thieves

Video surveillance has been used to stop, apprehend and prosecute numerous crimes ranging from destruction of property to burglary, abductions, assault and homicide.  The city of Bayamon, Puerto Rico wanted to make their downtown area more secure in order to help revitalize it. One of their first steps was to install a 136 camera surveillance system monitored by police and civilian staff. The city decided to record 30 frames per second on all cameras to ensure the footage would be of high quality and usable in court proceedings. High-resolution video capture creates large files, so Bayamon officials implemented a multi-layered storage system to efficiently manage the files for the short and long term. As reported in an sdmmag.com feature story, “fifteen days of material are kept on network attached storage (NAS) after which time the video is moved to tapes, which are stored for one year. Since the system was installed, police have caught several people stealing cars or merchandise.” This multi-layer approach to DVS storage with tape as a cost-effective and secure data retention layer can efficiently help preserve and protect important video content.

The Ultimate Video Storage Format

The ultimate format for storing video content long-term is LTO technology. An LTO-8 cartridge can store up to 12 terabytes uncompressed (up to 30 TBs with compressible data). High tape density helps make video storage easy and cost-efficient. With the additional use of the Linear Tape File System (LTFS), accessing files on tape can be as simple and intuitive as using a USB flash drive. LTFS allows the tape to be self-describing to improve archive management.  Learn how to safely store more with LTO-8 technology.

Video surveillance is being used by organizations to help protect their assets; however it presents storage challenges that are being resolved by a multi-layer approach incorporating LTO technology as a long-term, cost-efficient retention layer.

Read the LTO Program’s whitepaper to learn more about best practices for managing video surveillance footage for the long term. See LTO-8 technology and talk to the experts about video surveillance storage at ISC East  in November.