Safely Saving and Securing Video Surveillance Files

Video surveillance and security initiatives encompass a wide variety of components ranging from  CCTV, body cameras and aerial surveillance. The implementation of video surveillance systems is now often a requirement for security, safety, legal and regulatory compliance. Public and private organizations across all industries install and utilize video surveillance systems to help ensure the security of both people and property.

As a result, the amount of video surveillance data is growing exponentially, as both the quality and quantity of surveillance video and images also increase. Further, organizations need assurance that their surveillance data will be stored and protected in an environment that is fully safeguarded from failures and data loss, and readily available for playback and distribution.

Today’s Video Surveillance Challenges

Managing video surveillance data comes with unique storage challenges.

Growth in Higher Resolution Camera Use

Worldwide growth in the number of higher-resolution IP cameras used with comprehensive video surveillance systems has increased greatly over the last 10 years. Better-quality resolution cameras deliver higher-clarity images, which improve overall results. As organizations deploy higher resolution cameras, they are also increasing the frame rate for more detailed information capture. Thus, the technology changes in IP cameras and other devices require changes in storage technologies.

Longer Retention Periods

Government and industry regulations surrounding compliance, privacy, long-term retention and the use of surveillance video dictate the retention period for different industries. Other factors include litigation risk, increased security concerns and security strategies. These retention periods can range from days and weeks to months and years and can change over time, so the storage needs to easily adapt to these changes without additional management overhead.

Performance, Capacity and Protection that Meet Budgets

Organizations want to keep storage costs down without sacrificing the performance to store multiple streams of video content and access those streams quickly when needed. Budgets often struggle to accommodate the cost of the storage performance and capacity needed, along with the desired level of data protection. Storage should easily and cost-effectively scale to support growth and protection should be built-in.

Insight and Control Over Video Surveillance Infrastructure

Many video surveillance systems grow over time as more demands are added. The ability to add performance and capacity uniformly and to monitor how the system continues to operate is very important. Tools to monitor and alert administrators that specific camera data is being lost, as well as providing insight to the overall health of the infrastructure, are becoming increasingly vital to ensure system effectiveness and to help the organization make more proactive decisions for future growth.

Independent Silos Due to File System Limitations

Many file systems have limitations with regard to the number of files, capacity, and the number of cameras that can be supported. In response, organizations develop silos to segregate data across several environments. Supporting future growth with a siloed environment is burdensome and costly. A modern file storage system using a node-based infrastructure that creates a single file system view reduces costs and increases efficiency.

Meeting Today’s Video Surveillance Demands

Traditional IT solutions are inadequate for these industry challenges. Video surveillance storage requirements differ from traditional IT requirements, as video management system (VMS) workloads are over 90% writes and less than 10% reads. This necessitates a re-think for many traditional storage systems, which are designed for IT storage with a much higher read percentage overhead. Uninterrupted writing of video content is the No. 1 requirement.

Administrators and surveillance architects should focus on the complicated tasks associated with cameras, camera analytics, surveillance alarms/alerts and surveillance monitoring. They should not have to worry about which surveillance assets use which volumes in the storage pool and whether those volumes are filling up or underperforming. Placing all of the surveillance assets on a single volume removes the complexity of managing and growing storage, without performance impacts.

Modern File Storage Solutions for Video Surveillance

When evaluating storage solutions for video surveillance, below are some key features to consider:

Unlimited Linear Scalability and Performance

Look for a storage solution that is purpose-built for demanding, data-intensive video workloads of any size. It should be simple to implement using ethernet-attached storage and processor nodes, which can be incorporated easily into data centers and with leading video management software solutions. Further, consider a simple-to-manage scale-out architecture that gives users the control to add both capacity and performance when and where needed, to support hundreds or thousands of surveillance devices, locally or regionally.

Reliable High Availability and Efficient Data Protection

Ensure that the file system allows for simultaneous failures of multiple drives or nodes without loss of video ingest or playback. Individual video assets should be protected using erasure coding. This data protection is superior to RAID, as it works at the block level rather than the drive level. Failure scenarios should be able to be configured to protect against multiple drive or node failures, which avoids impact to surveillance storage performance. Finally, unlike many legacy systems that employ double or triple parity to protect data, the right file storage solution should efficiently protect data with minimal storage overhead.

Real-Time Insights and Visibility

Does your current storage solution include real-time analytics that provide actionable insights on storage usage and capacity trends, as well as on how the storage and the VMS are working together?  Administrators should be able to see the throughput increase each time they add a camera to a VMS server, allowing them to make the most of their investment by only adding additional recording servers when they truly need to.

Flexible Cost-Effective Architecture and a Path to the Cloud

The ideal storage solution should run on industry-standard hardware that eliminates vendor lock-in and provides organizations with the freedom to choose what platform will work best for their environment. Modern solutions should also allow you to seamlessly scale to cloud environments when needed to support future growth.


While storage is just one component of an overall video surveillance system, it is clear that traditional storage solutions are not effectively addressing the modern needs of video surveillance. Finding the right storage solution can make all the difference.

Molly Presley

Featured eBook
7 Must-Read eBooks for Security Professionals

7 Must-Read eBooks for Security Professionals

From AppSec to SecOps, Security Boulevard eBooks deliver in-depth insights into hot topics that matter to the Cybersecurity and DevSecOps professionals. Our staff of writers are the best in the business, with decades of practical and award-winning experience and credentials. We are excited to share our 2019 favorites. Take a look and download some of ... Read More
Security Boulevard
Avatar photo

Molly Presley

Molly Presley is a Product Marketing Leader with a career history of producing profitable business lines and innovative products to meet the needs of data intensive users in the enterprise and a wide variety of data driven vertical markets. Molly has a depth of experience in various industries and technologies including: Cloud, HPC Autonomous Vehicles, Life Sciences and Media and Entertainment. Prior to Qumulo, Molly held senior global marketing positions at Quantum, DataDirect and Spectra Logic.

molly-presley has 1 posts and counting.See all posts by molly-presley