Is Your Video Storage Solution Doing Its Job?

High-resolution video can now be stored for longer and longer periods - without breaking the bank.
Published: February 13, 2015

Plug a cable into it, lick, stick and today’s home Wi-Fi cameras magically go out across your home network and let you watch your home, in living color, from virtually anywhere in the world. All the video is stored up in the cloud … no fuss, no muss, aside from your credit card being billed every month.

That is just one example, but it is now easier than ever to get personal and consumer cameras set up, largely due to the explosion of storage options available to IP camera manufacturers. Advancements in technology allow unimaginable amounts of video to be stored pretty much wherever you want it. For commercial and enterprise customers, it’s getting easier and easier to store high-resolution video for longer and longer periods – without breaking the bank.

From cold storage to the cloud, let’s take a closer look at the options and applications available.

It is worth looking back to see where we’ve come from, in order to appreciate what we have now, as well as what might be coming.

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A leading hard drive manufacturer just released a 10TB hard drive. This boggles the mind when you consider the size and capacity of a typical hard drive back when the CCTV industry was in its infancy. IBM’s first hard drive held 3.75MB and weighed in excess of a ton! The cost per gigabyte, the metric now for storage costs, went from a whopping $1 mil-lion per month (lease option only) for the first hard drive to a paltry 43 cents/GB today.

Hard drives are continuing to grow in capacity, using ingenious methods like filling the drive with helium instead of air to increase storage densities. It is interesting to note that the data tracks on modern hard drives, similar to the grooves on a record player, are now smaller than a flu virus (75nm).

Measured in time, the first hard drive could store 15 seconds of full HD video, whereas the 10TB monster that was just released can store 462 days, 23 hours, six minutes and 40 seconds of continuous full HD video. For home storage, consumer electronic devices are pushing SD card sizes to dizzying heights – 512GB is avail-able now. To express that storage amount in units of time, that’s 23.7 days of continuous full HD recording, on a single card.

The trend with all consumer cameras destined for the home is to push to move everything to “The Cloud.” This too is on everyone’s radar, but no one has quite figured out yet what “cloud” means for conventional commercial and enterprise users.

Cloud storage used to be a joke within the CCTV community, but increasingly it really is a viable option for security. Like IBM’s first hard drive, cloud storage is also sold/leased per month based on the quantity you need. Massive Internet companies like Google, Amazon and Microsoft have capitalized on all the cheap storage and have built huge datacenters. There’s a glut of storage available, which is a win for consumers. It started out as an expensive option, but the word “unlimited” is now being thrown around by all the big players for a low monthly price.

RELATED: 4 Cloud-Based Security Installation Myths

Amazon was the first to strike, giving their Amazon Prime members “unlimited” storage for photos. Microsoft and its cloud storage service called OneDrive followed suit and went “all in” with “unlimited storage” for its subscribers. Pretty incredible considering that OneDrive allows you to store pretty much whatever you want there.

To be sure there are security and privacy implications, but modern-day encryption will save the day there, too. With more neighborhoods and major city centers being wired with fiber, the Internet network issues will also fade into distant memory.

So Much Video, So Little Time

The quiet little secret of the security industry is that despite recording vast amounts of video, not much of it is actually watched. It is estimated that more than 95% of video is recorded, but is never viewed. It is pretty expensive to keep all those hard drives spinning to keep data around that doesn’t ever get accessed. That doesn’t mean the video storage doesn’t have value, but we can use other techniques to put the video in a “freezer” so to speak only to be accessed if something goes wrong.

In the storage world, this offline storage pool is often called cold storage. It is becoming much more popular as storage length demands are steadily increasing, but demand to have immediate access is shrinking.

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Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series