IT Storage Features Aren’t Necessary for Surveillance

If you are overwhelmed by some IT storage features, you are not alone. Data management for large enterprises can be complicated in order to ensure data integrity.

But, do you really need these extravagant features for video surveillance data? The answer is NO. These features do more harm than good for surveillance. The resources needed to implement these features reduces video recording performance.

The following is a typical list of features:

  • Snapshot
  • Replication
  • Continuous Data Availability
  • Thin provisioning
  • 8K fixed block deduplication for block and file
  • Single instance deduplication for file, block and file compression

Let’s look at the snapshot, the most common storage management feature. Snapshot freezes the data in time to allow backup. Each snapshot taken becomes a recovery point. By taking snapshots continuously, you have continuous data availability.

Snapshot would only be needed when data needs to be overwritten constantly (such as in a database). You don’t want to back up data while it is changing, so you take a snapshot first. For surveillance, we only archive the data recorded hours, days, or weeks ago. The data does not change. It is static. No snapshot is needed.

To support snapshot, the system normally reserves 20% of the total storage capacity. In addition, there is snapshot meta-data to manage. The meta-data takes away the controller cache space that can be used for recording.

Anything about replication is for database. The replication could be “synchronous” or “asynchronous” for each IO command. This granularity ensures the correctness for each IO command across geographical locations. This is not easy to do. If the system loses synchronization between two sites due to network problems, it will need to re-sync before moving forward. Do we need per command data coherency for video surveillance? Not really. Alternatively, we can easily archive the recorded data hours ago to a remote site without this level of synchronization.

Anything regarding “duplication” and “compression” is not required. Your IP cameras have already compressed the video using H.264. All computing and meta-data management are wasting storage resources.

Anything about 8K block is for database. Video surveillance only uses large blocks like 64K or even 1M.

The “thin provisioning” features is for IT. There is no “thin” provisioning in surveillance. You already know exactly how many days your video retention will be.

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