Data Storage Needs for Modern Video Surveillance

Video Footage Can Be an Asset to Organizations of All Kinds, but It Requires the Right Kind of Data Storage Solutions

By | Jan 22, 2024 | All, Embedded, Featured

Organizations have long embraced digital technologies that enable them to manage assets and equipment remotely and monitor remote locations for suspicious behaviors. Video surveillance certainly isn’t new, but it is better than ever—with ultra-high resolution, real-time streaming and other advanced capabilities.

Video surveillance has always required data storage, and as technologies advance, so do storage requirements. Organizations are storing more video footage, often for longer periods of time. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the storage options for video surveillance, or closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage. But first, we need to clarify the factors that will affect how much storage you need.



Factors that affect how much data storage you need

It’s probably not a surprise that there isn’t a simple rule of thumb for figuring out how much capacity you need to store your video footage. It depends on a few key factors:

      • The number of cameras – a small warehouse might have just a handful of cameras placed around the building’s perimeter, while an airport could have thousands of cameras spread across several square miles. Obviously, the airport is going to need more data storage capacity.
      • Image resolution – not everyone needs the latest 8K video resolution. Higher resolution takes up more storage space. In fact, depending on various factors, a solid-state drive (SSD) that can store 25 hours of 4K video might only be able to store 80 minutes or so of 8K footage.
      • Camera bitrate – this refers to the quality of the video and, similar resolution, higher bit rate is higher quality but also takes up more storage.
      • Compression – this is a way to make video files smaller and some compression formats will need more storage space than others. Some popular compression formats are MP4, AVI, MOV and H.265 and which one you choose will depend on how and where the video will be used.
      • Storage time – some experts estimate that the value of CCTV video footage begins to decrease after just 15 minutes, but many organizations are subject to industry regulations that require them to keep video footage for specific amounts of time to stay compliant. The longer you have to retain video footage, the more storage you will need.


How SSDs and SDs are used in data storage for video surveillance footage

Today’s organizations have a lot of options when it comes to methods of storing video surveillance footage—from USB drives and microSD cards to hard disk drives (HDDs), SSDs and the cloud—and again, which method is best can vary based on the company’s needs and use cases. However, two of the most common storage methods are SSDs and SDs.


Why SSDs?

In the past, SSDs were considered less ideal to store data in CCTV recorders because while they offered higher performance and lower latency than traditional HDDs and other devices, they were designed with a preset number of write cycles (or how often data can be written to the drive). Once those write cycles reached the limit, the SSD’s durability decreased quickly. NAND flash SSDs were also quite pricey compared to other types of storage as well.

Now, however, SSDs are becoming more common in storing video surveillance footage. That’s because pricing has begun to come down and also because some manufacturers, such as Phison, have created SSDs that are optimized for write-intensive workloads. These write-intensive SSDs can stand up to the needs of CCTV recorders.

Why SDs?

Video surveillance cameras have evolved from bulky, hard-to-access professional devices to lightweight, mobile, wireless and generally public-friendly commercial products. Therefore, the storage devices that go with these new types of cameras must also have the same characteristics of being easy to use and easy to access.

As automotive technology has evolved, video surveillance has become more common in vehicles. The importance of drive recorders becomes more significant for both legal and recreational purposes, especially when the industry is aggressively shifting from analog vehicles to electric cars that are connected by complicated networks.

To meet these new needs in terms of being easy to use and accessible—and also well-suited to use in automobiles where space is limited, SDs are a very popular data storage choice for manufacturers and end users alike.



Benefits of using SSDs or SDs for video data storage

In addition to offering much higher performance than HDDs and other storage devices, SSDs:

      • Have no moving parts, which makes them emit less heat at the source and reduces the likelihood of component breakages
      • Can withstand vibrations and movement
      • Consume less energy
      • Are smaller and lighter than HDDs
      • Run silently to create less distraction in sensitive environments
      • Deliver fast performance so footage plays back smoothly

The benefits of using an SD include:

      • Small size, which make them perfect for any type of video camera from fixed to mobile
      • Simple, portable and easily replaceable so end users can manage data the way they want
      • Inexpensive and readily available
      • Stable high performance that increases in quality depending on the grade of the drive (common UHS-I ultra-high-speed mode vs. even faster UHS-II or SD Express, for instance)
      • Resistance to harsh environments, such as high/low temperature, high humidity, moisture and so on



SSDs excel at the edge

Cloud storage has become incredibly popular for storing video footage, thanks to its near-infinite scalability and no need to purchase hardware. While some CCTV recorders and cameras use on-board storage devices such as SSDs or microSD cards to hold onto data until it’s uploaded to the cloud, other CCTV systems record video that bypasses an on-board storage device altogether and streams the footage to cloud storage in real time.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the need for SSDs will gradually decrease when it comes to storing video surveillance footage. And that’s thanks to the emergence of edge computing.

Edge computing allows organizations to process data closer to the source where it’s gathered. Before edge computing, for instance, a traditional surveillance camera at a traffic intersection would record video, which might be stored temporarily on an SSD or other storage device, but would then be transmitted to a central computing system that could analyze that data and send insights or alerts about possible problems to a Department of Transportation manager.

With edge computing, however, the camera would be outfitted not only with a camera and a storage device, but would also have some software in its system that allowed it to analyze the footage right there as it’s being collected. AI-based applications could detect possible problems or identify bottlenecks and send the insights directly to the manager, eliminating the need—and extra time it takes—to send raw data to the central computing system.

Edge computing requires fast performance and robust data storage. SSDs are exactly what those cameras on the edge need. They can store quite large capacities and deliver the performance and speeds the system needs to analyze data and get results quickly.



Phison solutions are designed for today’s data storage needs

As a leader in NAND flash storage solutions, Phison offers a wide range of SSDs that work well for video surveillance storage and edge computing. The company has developed SSDs that are optimized for sustained writes and deliver superior endurance for write-intensive use cases such as storage for video surveillance. The drive comes in two grades:

      • Standard, with a capacity of 2 TB and sustained write speeds of 1 GB/second. It offers write endurance at 3,000 TB—a significant increase over a typical consumer SSD’s endurance of 600 TB.
      • Pro, with capacities of 1 TB or 2 TB and sustained write speeds of 2.5 GB/second. That’s more than three times the speed of a typical SSD.


Phison also has a product line of industrial-grade SSDs, designed to withstand the kind of unpredictable conditions in which many surveillance cameras are placed. These drives work at peak performance despite extreme heat and cold, air contaminants, moisture, vibrations and even occasional drops.

As a board member of the SD Association, Phison ensures its SD solutions are up-to-date with the latest regulations and continue to satisfy constantly evolving technological needs. The company’s SDs deliver performance that can compete with hard drives—but are smaller and easier to use. Phison also works closely with its NAND vendor partners, which enables Phison to continue to provide solutions that has the latest NAND technology with a long product life cycle.

Whatever your need, Phison has a video footage storage solution for you.

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