Case Study: Seagate SV35 Drives and Covi Technologies

Oct. 30, 2007
Overcoming the challenge of continous high-definition surveillance recording
Seagate SV35 Series Case Study Company: CoVi Technologies, Inc. Location: Austin, Texas Contact: Primary focus: Manufacturer of complete IP-based HD video surveillance systems

Seagate SV35 Series Hard Drives Provide Capacity, Reliability, Scalability to CoVi High Definition Video Surveillance Systems

- Conventional hard disk drive (HDD) storage didn't meet capacity requirements for high definition, IP surveillance systems
- Many surveillance systems run 24 hours per day, 365 days a year; conventional HDDs lacked reliability needed to maintain continuous up time
- 2U rack mount chassis and wall mount chassis that house recording blades required custom design and HDD manufacturer collaboration
- Seagate's SV35 Series, the industry's highest capacity surveillance-purposed HDD, provides up to 750GB of storage
- MTBF rating for the SV35 Series is higher than any competitive desktop class drive
- Seagate provides dedicated surveillance-industry technical, marketing and sales teams for pre- and post- implementation support

- The 750GB capacity of the SV35 dramatically increases the amount of video that CoVi customers can record before archiving or deleting video.
- The SV35 Series' storage capacities also enable the recording and playback of the higher-quality video at higher frame rates, giving customers enhanced, more easily identifiable images.
- The SV35 Series' higher MTBF rating reduces failures and maintenance calls.
- Seagate's pre- and post-support team helped to ensure that CoVi's implementation with the SV35 Series hard drives delivers optimal performance.

Surveillance System Approach Allays Resource Strain The post-911 era has dramatically changed the landscape for surveillance system requirements and solutions. New legislation calls for certain industries to run surveillance video 24 hours per day, 365 days a year and keep video online and available as long as 90 days. Organizations faced with escalating surveillance needs are trying to distribute security management and resources by deploying IP network-based video surveillance systems. And, an ever-growing number of surveillance applications are relying on high definition digital video to more clearly identify faces, license plates and other detailed images. These trends in surveillance system use are straining enterprise storage capacity, system bandwidth and reliability as well as other already stretched IT resources.

CoVi Technologies, Inc., of Austin, Texas, helps surveillance system users overcome these challenges and others with a complete solution that captures, manages, stores and delivers high definition video surveillance over IP networks. The CoVi Crystal HD video surveillance system gives organizations the tools they need to safeguard assets, monitor facilities, and clearly identify images without taxing storage capacity, IP bandwidth or other resources.

The CoVi's Crystal HD video surveillance system, unlike standalone camera and DVR products, is designed from the ground up as a complete system. It integrates analog or digital cameras, monitoring and management software, and Digital Media Managers (DMMs). DMMs connect cameras to an IP network; each camera/DMM pair becomes a single node that serves as an intelligent video recorder, stream server and video information manager. One key advantage of the CoVi DMM's design is that it moves video recording and management to the 'edge' of the IP network, meaning that data never travels over the network solely for recording purposes. The DMM employs Seagate Technology's SV35 Series hard drives to provide the high capacity storage, reliability and scalability needed to meet the needs of 24x7, high definition, IP-based 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.

Customers also benefit from the SV35 Series' higher reliability -- an advantage in part attributable to its reduced power consumption features. The drives use a small startup current (approx. 2 A) and spin down into power-saving mode when not in active use. These features deliver more efficient powering and better cooling, and that means enhanced overall reliability -- which is critically important to all of CoVi's customers.

Seagate's willingness to provide technical assistance to CoVi delivered benefits beyond a design solution for the wall mount chassis. "Seagate's team is very willing to work with us, and they are fast and responsive when we need them to analyze any conditions or provide technical advice. That's helped us bring product to market more quickly," said Langerhans. "The fact that they have multiple drives in the same family also decreases time to market, because it simplifies qualifying drives for use in our system."

Seagate and CoVi Survey the Future Together Langerhans sees unlimited growth potential for IP-based video surveillance solutions - and for Seagate's SV35 Series drives as part of those solutions. "Within five years, 100 percent of new video surveillance systems will be installed on an IP network," he says. "Combining high-capacity storage with intelligent management and streaming capabilities will be critical to helping IT and security professionals deal with this huge influx of video. To do that, we need to be engaged with a partner like Seagate that is aggressively increasing its storage capacity and capability."