Four Video Storage Trends to Watch
How organizations must navigate the evolving storage landscape
- By Eric Polet
- Feb 01, 2018
Data storage is becoming a hot topic in the video surveillance
industry and gaining more attention as retention
periods continue to increase. Many city and
state governments have begun extending their storage
retention periods from days to months and today,
even years. San Bernardino County, Calif., for example, has increased
retention requirements to a staggering five years in response to terrorist
acts that have impacted their community.
Around the world, the use of video surveillance to detect, deter and
prosecute crime has increased significantly over the last few years. Police
and law enforcement authorities view footage as a critical tool to
combat crime and ward off criminal activity — including terrorism.
National tragedies and other crises have heightened public authorities’
interest in deploying video surveillance in public places. Surveillance
is used widely today in the United Kingdom and progressively by law
enforcement and anti-terrorism authorities in the United States and
Canada, with a notable uptick since September 2001.
Finding the Space
Increases in camera resolutions and frame rates have also caused the
need for video storage to grow at an unprecedented rate. Budgets for
storage, however, are not growing in accordance. This challenge puts
infrastructure managers in a difficult position — they must find ways
to store more footage with the same static budget.
The raw capacity of storage shipped in 2016 increased by 48 percent
over the previous year, and in 2017, that capacity is expected to
grow at an even higher rate.1 The traditional boxed appliance model
— created in part by the death of the VCR — typically has built-in
storage capability (DVRs) but in a relatively low capacity. Modern
video surveillance environments have evolved, and this traditional
approach has become inadequate for an increasing percentage of the
surveillance market. As these environments continue to be more and more data-intensive, organizations are beginning to look to scalable,
tiered-storage strategies that can adapt to the changing surveillance
As the average camera resolution continues to rise, so does the
storage behind the camera. HD-compliant 1080p 25/30 fps cameras
have established themselves as the minimum expected quality required
from new cameras. Panoramic and 4K cameras are two additional
storage-hungry, high-growth categories gaining traction within
the market. Analytics and more efficient compression technologies
will reduce some storage requirements. However, these technologies
are not going to offset the upsurge of data being generated by higher
specification cameras, which are capturing much more information
than ever before, as well as the increased video retention periods facing
many cities, states and local governments.
With these analytics adding value to surveillance footage beyond
simple safety, the value of video content will increase the length of
time it is stored. As these requirements continue to drive data growth,
it is becoming paramount to have an intentional, proactive strategy
for storing surveillance footage long-term.
Video Content is Only Growing
Increased retention regulations, paired with higher resolution cameras
and the introduction of body-worn cameras, will likely be a wakeup
call to the video surveillance industry to reevaluate its approach
to storage design. The introduction of body-worn cameras is forecast
to skyrocket as well in the coming years.2 Specifically, in the United
States, tens of thousands of new body-worn cameras will enter the
market with the assistance of new federal funding. All of these bodyworn
cameras require their footage to be retained for long periods
of time – often years. Although the unit shipments of body-worn
cameras are minute compared with those of traditional fixed video
surveillance cameras, several parallels can be drawn between the storage
headaches faced by both markets.
Many end-users tasked with maintaining body-worn cameras
(typically law enforcement officers), have limited background in IT.
It’s valuable for them to have an integrated system, designed with
total cost of ownership in mind, that accounts for both upfront costs
and maintenance costs, and is capable of accommodating changing
Though the likelihood of reviewing video footage decreases over
time, this footage should still remain accessible, whether desired or
required. Increasing retention can provide anti-litigation, insurance
and operational assistance. In addition, an efficient storage infrastructure
can enable the use of post-recording analytics.
In 2018, we can expect to see significant changes in the video surveillance
storage market, as the amount of video content required to be
preserved increases. Many of the storage challenges the video surveillance
will likely face in 2018 have been addressed successfully in other
markets, such as the broadcast industry, where extreme amounts of
data are generated but cannot be deleted. There are a few strategies
facing these issues.
Increased use of multiple storage tiers. The use of storage tiers for
video surveillance footage previously referred to a separate archive
or directly attaching additional capacity to recorder appliances. Now
we’re seeing a multitude of options designed specifically for video
surveillance, which all pull together different storage tiers – in some
cases storage media – into a single architecture. This allows more efficiency
in varying how recorded footage is treated throughout its lifetime.
In some cases, data is moved from edge to centralized storage,
and occasionally into the cloud.
Additional partnerships between video surveillance suppliers and
storage specialists. As storage demands increase, some video vendors
are turning to traditional storage vendors to provide systems that
can handle high capacities of high-resolution video files and provide
storage solutions that can scale to the extent that organizations now
require. In terms of video management software, this means the integration
of data from different storage types, tiers and physical locations
is required, while understanding the performance levels of each.
Many of the major Video Management Systems have built-in tiering
functionality, allowing organizations to easily implement a true tiered
Video surveillance vendors increase enterprise storage offerings.
Storage commonly accounts for the majority of the equipment cost
for higher-channel-count systems. Large capacity storage tends to be
expensive to procure and costly to implement — especially without a
sound architecture that balances storage requirements and the speed
of access needed to recall video footage. Many times, this will result
in a multi-vendor solution that brings the best in breed companies
together to deliver a fully integrated, turn-key solution.
Camera and storage vendors have extremely competitive offerings.
Storage for video surveillance has been behind cameras on their
product development roadmap, but as more and more cameras have
come to market, less attention has been put on the storage and the
available capacity. This year we’ll see more enterprise storage products
for video surveillance available from new vendors trying to penetrate
the market. It is important to find vendors who are established
in their part of the solution and know that the vendors chosen will
be there providing support and feature enhancements for the foreseeable
The video surveillance industry has advanced light-years from the
days of the video cassette recorder; however, its implementation of
enterprise storage may be forced to evolve further to meet the needs
of changing storage retention requirements and new camera technologies.
Video storage is quickly becoming one of the most expensive
parts of a surveillance implementation, but there is hope.
To meet tomorrow’s challenges and outpace storage budgets, companies
will implement solutions that enable users to implement a tiered
storage strategy: solutions that are tightly integrated with industryleading
video management systems partners that can grow with one’s
organization and video data sets over time.
This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Security Today.