Emerging Issues in Security

Storage Demands Are on the Rise as the Size and Volume of Data Grows

The integration and reporting of alarm, video, and access control security systems along with audio files are creating huge amounts of data that need to be stored and managed on a daily basis. If not done properly, performance can be compromised or become very expensive.

server business data storage

triloks / E+ / Getty Images

Video is one of the most storage-intensive applications in security. The industry is undergoing a transformation from analog to network platforms. As the popularity of high definition, megapixel network cameras continues to increase, the need for reliable and scalable storage at an affordable price is a major consideration when choosing proper storage devices and methods.

Close to one-third to one-half of the total cost of the overall video surveillance system is typically associated with storage requirements. New network video surveillance going into applications like retail stores, schools, and casinos, and the systems now being utilized in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, transportation, critical infrastructure, hospitality, law enforcement, government and corrections, require better quality images and increased retention periods.

The increasing popularity of IP cameras and network surveillance systems puts a growing demand on generating high resolution and high frame rates. It also means saving large amounts of video surveillance data over a certain period of time. While high frame rates and high resolution offer clear images and the ability to zoom in for greater detail, the trade-off is the need for higher levels of storage.

According to market studies, North America is the biggest market for spending on video surveillance storage solutions and services. Storage requirements vastly differ across vertical market segments. Government, municipalities, and transportation typically require very large and complex integrated security systems. These verticals utilize hundreds of cameras and devices connected via an IP network. Data storage, retrieval, and retention requirements are critical for these vertical markets.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have attorneys, dentists, and other professionals in private offices, or small business owners who are right for an entry level server. Many applications fall somewhere in between in regard to the size and requirements of their security needs.

Storage arrays can be quite small or quite large depending on a number of considerations when calculating storage requirements. There are servers that can accommodate as little as 16 cameras with 2 terabytes (TBs) of storage to units and models to handle hundreds of cameras and up to 144 TBs of storage.

A multitiered architecture for storage can be created that includes storing files on the cloud, which can prove to be the most cost-effective. Scalability and accessibility are other considerations when determining storage needs.

Storage is based on the level of resolution being used, frames per second, and the number of hours a day each camera will be recording.

Retention times can vary from needing to keep files for long periods of time to immediate retrieval of data. Systems can record 24 hours a day while others are utilized only in off hours or are motion-activated. A user needing to save footage 24 hours a day at a very high resolution, for example, may require 100 TBs of storage.

Today and in the future, it is important to choose the proper storage that fits all the needs of your surveillance system to enhance system performance, ensure reliability, and save money.