Case Study: Seagate SV35 Drives and Covi Technologies

Overcoming the challenge of continous high-definition surveillance recording


Not All Storage Solutions Are Created Equal When CoVi first began manufacturing its Crystal HD system, it employed RAID class hard drive storage. The company knew that the drives' capacity needed to increase to keep pace with the immense data volumes with the ever-increasing use of high definition digital video and with customers' needs to keep months of data-rich video footage online. CoVi wanted a drive with longer recording times and one that would support scalability, too; architecturally the CoVi system can scale to support thousands of camera/DMM systems and virtually all its customers plan to grow their systems.

In addition to capacity challenges, CoVi had the need to find a storage solution that was reliable enough to support the rigors of recording 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. As desktop-grade hard drives are not optimized for non-stop HD recording of video surveillance footage, high reliability, surveillance grade drives are a much better application. "When we had conversations with customers about availability, they simply said they needed continuous availability, but that can be difficult to achieve. So we need to utilize all possible reliability and availability enhancing characteristics to deliver the highest level of availability possible," said Gary Langerhans, Vice President of Engineering & Operations for CoVi Technologies.

CoVi also needed a hard drive manufacturer that could help it integrate the storage to its different chassis designs. Some CoVi customers opt to house the DMMs in a wall mount chassis -- one of three installation options -- 2U chassis, wall mount chassis and standalone chassis. A wall mount configuration requires the storage and recording blades to orient vertically rather than horizontally. This orientation is more subject to vibration inputs, however Seagate's drives perform very well in this situation.

Seagate Capacity, Reliability Work for CoVi Systems As CoVi looked for a storage solution that was up to these tasks, Seagate's name was at the top of the list. CoVi was impressed because the hard drive manufacturer had the only surveillance-purposed hard drives -- the SV35 Series. Designed to offer increased capacity, performance and reliability in intensive 24x7 video surveillance implementations, the SV35 Series drives are highly scalable, with capacities ranging from 160GB to 750GB, for both SATA and PATA interfaces. "The high-capacity Seagate drives offer an astounding amount of storage," said Langerhans. "For example, a 100-camera system with 750 GB DMM's has 75 terabytes of storage, and each drive can store up to 120 days of HD video."

CoVi was impressed with the SV35 Series' reliability, too. When they tested the Seagate surveillance-purposed drives they found their MTBF rates were up in the 800,000 or 900,000 hour range. Further, because the SV35 Series drives are designed exclusively for surveillance, they can work reliably at a high number of read and write cycles, in the presence of heavy vibration and in small, even poorly ventilated, systems. Desktop drives, on the other hand, are not tuned for video streaming performance, either in their write performance or their playback.

The Seagate SV35 also proved to be a good choice for CoVi's wall mount chassis. "Seagate's technical team was very capable and provided excellent assistance with our applications," explained Langerhans. "In the course of designing our wall mount chassis we requested that Seagate help ensure that the vibration and other factors were managed properly in the application. Seagate's team was very responsive and knowledgeable, and that was a key factor in our choosing to work with them."

Seagate Storage Helps CoVi Customers Decrease Archiving, Meet Regulations CoVi and its customers have realized real advantages from having Seagate's SV35 Series 500GB and 750GB hard drives in the Crystal HD video surveillance systems. The capacity available in the SV35 Series drives increases the amount of video data customers can store on a single drive/recorder, which in turn means less frequent archiving. Fewer archival periods represent both time and cost savings for customers and make it easier to meet new security regulations. The SV35 Series' significantly higher storage capacities also enable the recording and playback of higher quality video at higher frame rates, giving customers enhanced, and more easily identifiable images.