Changing Retention Rates and the Role of Active Archive in Video Surveillance

April 6th, 2018 by Eric Polet, Marketing Program Manager at Spectra Logic

The amount of time that a municipality must retain its video surveillance footage has been very fluid over the last few years, with each city determining for themselves how long video surveillance footage must be kept. Many cities have begun to mandate that all video surveillance footage must be kept for a minimum of 30 days, but more frequently it is mandated to be kept as long as two to five years.

As increasing retention regulations are adopted by more and more cities – paired with higher resolution cameras, and the introduction of body-worn cameras, the video surveillance industry is being forced to reassess its approach to storage design. Video surveillance data centers have begun to look to other industries that have grappled with storing extreme amounts of data that cannot be deleted, such as High Performance Computing, Genomics, and Media and Entertainment, to enhance their data storage strategies. These methods include:

  • Increasing use of tiered storage: Storage tiers in video surveillance had previously meant simply using a separate archive or attaching add-on capacity directly to network video recorders. The market is now seeing new storage options designed for video surveillance, many of which pull together different storage tiers (and in some cases storage media) into a single storage architecture, such as an active archive solution. An active archive implementation ensures ease of access while automatically moving content from more expensive tiers of storage to more cost-effective long term tiers of storage. This allows for greater efficiencies in how recorded footage is treated throughout its lifetime; in some cases, it includes moving data from edge devices to centralized storage, and then to the public cloud.
  • Establishing more partnerships between video surveillance suppliers and storage specialists: As storage demands have increased, video vendors have turned to storage specialists for solutions that can accommodate large numbers of high-resolution video files along with much needed scalable solutions. In terms of video management software, this means the integration of video content from different storage types, tiers and physical locations is required, and which takes into account the performance profile of each storage type. With an active archive solution, video content is searchable and accessible directly by the end users regardless of where it is stored.
  • Expanding number of video surveillance vendors offering enterprise storage solutions: Typically, storage accounts for the majority of the equipment costs for higher channel-count systems. Large capacity primary storage tends to be expensive to procure and costly to implement – especially without a sound architecture that can balance storage performance levels with the speed of access needed to recall video footage. Many times, this balance can be achieved with an active archive strategy that automates migration of data between different storage types, to ensure the data is on the correct storage type at the correct time to meet performance requirements.
  • Broadening variety of storage solutions for video surveillance: As seen in many product categories, camera and storage vendors continue to provide extremely competitive offerings. But, storage-specific solutions for video surveillance have lagged behind the roadmaps for video equipment and, as more and more cameras have entered the market, less attention has been placed on video storage capacities. This year we’ll see more enterprise storage products become available for the video surveillance market. It will be paramount that these vendors provide exceptional workflow expertise as well as the key features and support that will scale as video technology advances.

The surveillance industry has evolved considerably from the days of the 8mm video recorder; however, enterprise storage solutions will be forced to evolve further to cope with changing storage retention requirements. Video storage is quickly becoming one of the most expensive parts in a surveillance solution, but there is hope. Deploying an active archive solution will enable surveillance users to reduce the complexity and costs of managing from terabytes to petabytes of data for long term retention,

By finding a storage solution that delivers the ability to implement a tiered storage strategy, users can adhere to regulation requirements to retain video footage and meet their safety and security objectives, while also significantly reducing storage costs and operational expenses.

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