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How to Improve Your Security Video Quality

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See why video streaming bandwidth is a key requirement of high-resolution surveillance systems—and how high-density storage arrays can help.

Increased camera resolutions are becoming a key strategic consideration for surveillance, providing the ability to cover far more area, zoom in on people or objects without loss of detail and deliver sharp image quality for use by video analytics solutions. Many organizations require higher-resolution video to ensure compliance with insurance providers, maximize loss recovery and strengthen deterrence of criminal acts.

Unfortunately, high-resolution video also comes at a steep price, requiring many times more storage capacity than lower-resolution video captured utilizing older technology. For example, traditional standard definition (SD) cameras record at 4CIF resolution [704 x 576 pixels (NTSC) and 5 frames per second (fps)]. High definition (HD) cameras commonly record at 1 megapixel (MP) (1280 x 800) or 2MP (1920 x 1080) resolutions, and 30 fps is typical. Thus a 1MP camera can require over 15 times the storage capacity of an SD surveillance camera.

But higher capacity requirements are only part of the challenge—HD recording also places enormous demands on the throughput performance of today’s surveillance storage solutions.



Simply put, a surveillance storage system’s video streaming bandwidth must be sufficient to consistently support and sustain write capabilities for multiple high-resolution feeds across a network. Note these bandwidth requirements can be daunting—just as an HD video requires vastly more capacity when it’s stored, it also demands far more bandwidth when it’s ingested into the storage system.

But that’s only part of the story; as noted above, a surveillance storage system must simultaneously support multiple high-resolution streams. That can mean recording dozens—sometimes hundreds—of parallel video streams, consuming huge amounts of bandwidth. What’s more, many surveillance environments can require 24×7 video monitoring, which boosts bandwidth utilization even higher. Depending on the number, duration and actual resolution of the incoming video streams, a storage system may struggle to keep up, significantly increasing the risk of dropped frames.

By their very nature surveillance video images are transitory; should inadequate storage bandwidth cause frames to be dropped, any information contained within them is lost forever. As video evidence often plays key roles in civil and criminal proceedings, the loss of such information can have devastating financial and legal consequences.

Spindle Density is Key

Deploying a storage solution that combines the enormous capacity and superior bandwidth that surveillance usage demands requires a storage system utilizing high-density architecture. Simply packing a conventional storage array with a multitude of high-capacity hard drives can yield vast amounts of capacity, but it will take up significantly more space, consume more energy and require more cooling than a properly-engineered high-density array. More importantly, it will deliver lower performance per U than a high-density array.For example, a high-density array can hold the same number of hard drives in 4U of rack space that would require 12U of space using conventional storage arrays. This ability to hold more drives in a given space enables greater spindle density which is key to obtaining maximum throughput. In short, performance increases when IO requests can be spread across more drive spindles. This greater bandwidth is also critical to ensure rapid access to stored videos when needed for use as evidence or by video analytics applications.

The ability to deliver superior bandwidth in a space-efficient array is significant; because surveillance video solutions are deployed in a wide range of physical environments, they often must be installed in confined locations with little available floor space. Storage arrays that may present an acceptable footprint in conventional data centers are simply too bulky and inefficient for use in the cramped control rooms that confront many security professionals.


E-Series High Density Storage: E-Series combines high-density capacity with superior bandwidth for recording multiple streams of high-definition video without dropping frames, which is crucial for evidentiary acceptance. A single E-Series system can record digital video surveillance at a rate of 2.4GB/s, and has been specifically designed to handle hundreds of parallel surveillance streams from high-resolution video sources without frame loss.

E-Series for DVS