Integrators, end-users express increasing concerns over video data storage, maintenance

July 13, 2015
New study finds surveillance data growing in importance across all vertical markets

With the proliferation of video surveillance in organizations both big and small around the globe, there are also mounting concerns from systems integrators and end-users about how they are going to manage this influx of data in the months and years to come.

According to the results of a recent study conducted by Seagate, a manufacturer of surveillance-optimized hard drives, which surveyed nearly 1,100 integrators and enterprise IT executives, 74 percent of respondents said that the number of surveillance cameras being used will increase over the next 12 months while the same percentage also reported that the importance of video analytics will also increase over the same time period. Three-quarters of those surveyed also said they expect the strategic value of video surveillance will increase.

The “Video Surveillance Trends Report,” which included respondents from organizations in the manufacturing, banking and financial services, technology, transportation, and retail sectors within the U.S., UK, India, China and Brazil, also found that most businesses are already using more than 200 cameras that are running around-the-clock. Specifically, respondents reported that a median number of 249 cameras are being used to collect data at their organizations. That number was even higher in the U.S. and the UK, where the median number of cameras in use was 349. In addition, 34 percent of those surveyed said that they have “significantly increased” their number of surveillance cameras over the past 12 months.  

Craig Carmichael, market research analyst for Seagate, said that while they did expect to see above average growth for video surveillance data compared to the growth typically seen in the data storage market, which is usually somewhere between 20 to 40 percent, they were somewhat taken aback by the breadth of the demand for video.

“I don’t think we were surprised about how strong it was, but how consistently strong it was across verticals and across geographies,” said Carmichael. “The vertical story was quite interesting too. There are pockets of verticals, such as government and manufacturing, where we do see very, very aggressive surveillance growth. But we didn’t see any verticals where there was that below average or subpar performing vertical, so they were pretty much strong across the board.”      

Aubrey Muhlach, surveillance segment marketing manager for Seagate, said that people are also discovering how valuable this data can be, especially when advanced analytics are applied to it.

This could be why a greater number of organizations are retaining video for longer periods of time than they once did. According to the study, 27 percent of respondents said that they are keeping video footage for a year or longer and 23 percent said that they are retaining it for 90 days to one year. Another 14 percent said that they hold onto footage for between 60 to 90 days, 23 percent keep it for 30 to 60 days and only 11 percent save it for less than 30 days.  

The desire to store of all this footage for longer periods of time might not be realized by many organizations, however, if the drives they are using cannot withstand the inherent burdens that come with handling video data.  

“One of the biggest costs as people are building out their surveillance system is, in fact, the storage. One thing that we have found is a lot of people are using the cheapest drives out there to store their data, which may seem like a nice, upfront investment but what we’re seeing is an earlier failure rate of those drives,” explained Muhlach. “They are typically taking desktop-class drives, plugging them into the systems – those drives aren’t built to work with these massive numbers of cameras at these high streaming capabilities – and they’re not built to run all day, every day.”

Given that increasing camera counts will also generate more data, there were also mounting concerns among respondents about how they are going to adequately store and maintain this footage. When asked what their organization’s challenges were with using their existing primary storage media for storing surveillance footage, 47 percent said maintenance, while 44 percent said capacity. Other challenges noted by respondents included: data recovery (44 percent), reliability (40 percent), speed (40 percent, and cost (38 percent).

An overwhelming majority of respondents, 87 percent, said that video surveillance is becoming more challenging to manage and 94 percent reported that they will receive increased infrastructure investment for it. Also, the study found that most respondents are using traditional storage solutions (85 percent), as well as some form of the cloud (83 percent) to store video.   

“We continue to see these higher resolution cameras and I think a lot that is to meet the requirements of whatever application or environment that you’re in and, obviously, these cameras only create an even better storage story,” explained Muhlach. “Where people are storing data also seems to be evolving a little bit as well.”

About the Author

Joel Griffin | Editor-in-Chief,

Joel Griffin is the Editor-in-Chief of, a business-to-business news website published by Endeavor Business Media that covers all aspects of the physical security industry. Joel has covered the security industry since May 2008 when he first joined the site as assistant editor. Prior to SecurityInfoWatch, Joel worked as a staff reporter for two years at the Newton Citizen, a daily newspaper located in the suburban Atlanta city of Covington, Ga.