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Surveillance Video Archive: Enterprise Requirements & StoneFly Archiving Solutions

Surveillance video archives usually have TBs to PBs size digital footprint. Compliance regulations and security procedures require businesses to retain the video data for longer periods of time (one month, one year or more). This creates a number of challenges for businesses. In this article, we explore the estimated size of surveillance video archive data, the technology needed to ensure long term retention for it and StoneFly’s archiving solutions for surveillance video archives.

Video surveillance is an important part of security procedures across the globe. Surveillance video archiving enables security departments of companies and security service providers to keep records of all the collected footage. Usually, surveillance videos are high resolution videos; which means they range from GBs to TBs in size. Depending on the number of cameras, this can lead to PBs of video data needing long term retention.

Surveillance Video Archive: Enterprise Requirements & StoneFly Archiving Solutions

How long does the video footage/record have to be retained? That depends on the industry regulation and/or internal company policies.

Before we explore what long term video archive solutions require, let’s generate some numbers to have an idea of how much storage capacity does surveillance video archive need.


How much storage is needed for Surveillance Video Archive? 

Surveillance Video Archive: Enterprise Requirements & StoneFly Archiving Solutions

In order to estimate how much storage is required for surveillance video archiving, two questions need to be answered first:

  1. How many surveillance cameras are there?
  2. What quality/resolution of video is being captured? (HD 1080p, 720p, etc.)

The number of cameras or the quality of the video footage greatly impacts the size consumed by the video footage; as one increases the sources while the other increases the size of the video captured by a source.

Additional things to consider are frame rate and compression level, but we’re keeping things simple here. It’s advised to discuss these specifications with the vendor supplying the camera(s).

To paint a better picture, let’s assume there are ten cameras and each of them is capturing surveillance video in HD 720p.

Each camera generates approximately 1GB of data per hour. This implies that each camera generates 24GBs of video data per day and ten cameras capture approximately 240GBs video footage per day. If we add these numbers for a month, it comes out to 7200GBs or 7.2TBs.

The surveillance systems of companies depend on the size of the company, their internal policies and the applicable industry regulations. The above example is only an estimation of the size of video footage generated using ten cameras recording at 720p quality.

The calculated storage space required for surveillance video archives can be of several TBs and even PBs.

This gives us an idea of the scale of storage needed for surveillance video archives. Now, let’s take a look kind of technology and features does video archiving require.


What kind of technology is needed for Surveillance Video Archive?

Surveillance Video Archive: Enterprise Requirements & StoneFly Archiving Solutions

Surveillance videos, as mentioned earlier, tend to be in TBs or even PBs in size. Setting up long term retention for such type of big data creates a unique set of requirements.

Here’s a list of must-have features businesses should look for in surveillance video archiving solutions:

  • Low Power Consumption – Consume less than 1000W power per petabyte
  • Ransomware Protection – Surveillance video archives are protected from ransomware attacks
  • Low Heat and Carbon Emissions – Be eco-friendly and produce less heat and carbon.
  • Low maintenance – Require less hardware repairs/replacement
  • Simplified Management – Automated Storage Tiering
  • Highly Scalable – For Continuously Growing Surveillance Video Archive

Low Power Consumption – Less than 1000W per petabyte

Traditional video archive systems consume power even when the stored video data is not being read/written. Considering the volume of video data generated and the number of servers and racks required to archive them, the power consumption numbers add up.

Not only does this increase the operational expense (OpEx) but it also effects the environment contributing to global warming and climate change.

These traditional archive systems are especially inefficient when it comes to organizations such counties, district councils, government departments that rely on the tax payer’s money or remote field offices and small busniesses which have less resources to begin with.

This is why it’s impractical to use video archive systems that are not optimized to consume power efficiently. As a general rule, video archive systems should consume less than 1000 Watts per petabyte.

Ransomware Protection – Protect Video Archives from Ransomware Attacks

If your video archive system is network-accessible, then it’s vulnerable to ransomware attacks.

Traditional video archive systems do not come with built-in data protection features. That’s because protecting old video assets isn’t at the top of the priority list for most businesses.  However, by neglecting data protection for video archives,  businesses risk not just the archived videos but also the corporate network. If a ransomware infiltrates the archive system, it uses the network accessibility to spread to the production and all connected storage devices.

Similarly, without effective data protection and security, video archive systems facilitate cyber-criminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities, infiltrate a network, and steal sensitive information.

Low Heat and Carbon Emissions – Be Eco-Friendly

Surveillance video archive systems typically comprise of a number of servers, rackmounts, and/or storage blades. Even when the system is not reading or writing to this storage hardware (when it’s idle), it still consumes power and generates heat which means it requires air-conditioning and that leads to carbon emissions.

The excess heat isn’t just bad for the environment. It also weighs heavily on your budget in the form of OpEx.

Low Maintenance – Less Hardware Repairs/Replacement

Archive systems are rarely accessed and sit idle for the most part. The maintenance required for these system should be less compared to production hardware. However, typically that’s not the case. That’s because traditional archive systems, even when idle, continue to consume power and are active. As a result, the hardware components are used and often require maintenance, repairs, or replacement – adding to the OpEx.

Simplified Management – Automated Storage Tiering

Surveillance video cameras collect data regularly. This makes it very challenging to manually store, archive or manage the data. That’s why it’s very important to setup an archiving solution that offers simplified management and offers data services like automated storage tiering.

Automated storage tiering moves data automatically between storage repositories as per user defined policies. Users define when they want specified data to move from one storage repository to the next. Using automated storage tiering, businesses can move video archive data between on-premises storage, off-site storage and cloud storage repositories.

The integration of data services like automated storage tiering makes management easier and makes sure that there is less margin of error in the entire process.

Highly Scalable – For Continuously Growing Surveillance Video Archive

There’s no way to predict the exact size of the storage that surveillance video archives will need nor is there any certainty that the company policy or an industry regulation will remain the same.

If a compliance regulation is asking for data retention for at least a month, it may change to two months; double the archive data and the storage capacity needed for it.

This makes it important that businesses setup scalable architecture for surveillance video archiving. With scale out infrastructure, in the event of unpredicted increase in archive data, businesses can just scale out the storage capacity. This also enables businesses to allocate the budget for necessary storage resources instead of fat provisioning (thick provisioning) in anticipation of future storage requirements.

StoneFly’s Surveillance Video Archiving Solutions – On-Premises & Cloud-based

StoneFly is an innovator of enterprise-grade storage technology. To facilitate surveillance video archive, StoneFly offers a diverse range of on-premises and cloud-based archiving solutions.

Here is a list of solutions that businesses, security departments and surveillance system service providers can leverage for surveillance video archiving:

  • Green Petabyte Archive (GPA) 4.0 – 1000W Low power low carbon air-gapped and immutable archive solution
  • Smart Cloud Gateway – integrate cloud archival tiers with existing infrastructure.
  • On-premises storage infrastructure – Highly Scalable and durable NAS storage appliance.
  • Cloud Storage – Dedicated archiving storage tiers in public clouds and StoneFly’s private cloud.

Green Petabyte Archive (GPA) 4.0 – 1000W Low Power Air-Gap and Immutable Archive System

Surveillance Video Archive: Enterprise Requirements & StoneFly Archiving Solutions

The GPA 4.0 archive system provides 1000W low power, automated air-gapped and immutable storage for your surveillance videos.  You can choose to start with a few terabytes and scale to several petabytes by adding air-gapped nodes. 

GPA 4.0 architecture comprises of the following components: master controller and air-gapped nodes. The master controller hosts the storage OS and functions as the storage layer for the archive system. The air-gapped nodes provide the target storage repositories for the video archives. 

As opposed to traditional archive systems, the GPA 4.0 uses built-in network and power management controllers to automatically isolated and power off air-gapped nodes when the master controller is not read/writing to them. This protects the video archives from ransomware attacks and also reduces power consumption, carbon emissions, and heat generation. 

Smart Cloud Gateway – Physical and Virtual Solution

Cloud Gateway | Cloud Storage Gateway

StoneFly Smart Cloud Gateway is gateway technology that enables businesses to integrate public (Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services – AWS, etc.) and private (StoneFly) clouds with existing storage infrastructure.

With the Smart Cloud Gateway, businesses don’t have to setup dedicated archiving infrastructure instead they can use the cloud gateway to setup data archiving in the cloud.

The integration of the cloud provides businesses with the right tools and features at affordable prices.

StoneFly Smart Cloud Gateway is available as an appliance and as a virtual solution that can be deployed on Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware virtualization environments.

To learn more about StoneFly Smart Cloud Gateway, click here: StoneFly Smart Cloud Gateway.

StoneFly SSO™ Scale Out Network Attached Storage (NAS) Appliance – Highly Scalable On-Premises Storage Solution

Businesses looking to setup a dedicated datacenter for surveillance video archive can leverage StoneFly’s highly scalable SSO NAS storage appliances.

With a single centralized management console and a single global namespace, businesses can setup automated storage tiering to archive the video surveillance data easily and without error. The SSO NAS appliance is available in a number of form factors and supports various combinations of SSD and SAS drives.

To learn more about StoneFly SSO NAS appliances, click here: SSO™ – Scale Out NAS Appliances.

Cloud Archiving Solution – Dedicated Cloud-based Storage for Surveillance Video Archive

Businesses that are looking to setup reliable surveillance video archive without purchasing an in-house infrastructure can leverage StoneFly’s Cloud Archiving Solution.

StoneFly Cloud Archiving Solution enables businesses to migrate surveillance video archives to public clouds like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), etc. or to StoneFly’s private cloud.

This enables businesses to reduce the cost of video archiving and facilitates compliance to industry regulations like CJIS, FedRAMP, HIPAA/HITRUST, etc.

To learn more about StoneFly’s Cloud Archiving Solution, click here: StoneFly Data Aware Cloud Archiving Solution.


Depending on the number of cameras and the quality of the recorded video, surveillance video archive data ranges from TBs to PBs in size. In order to comply with industry regulations or as per the internal security protocols of the business/organization, users have to retain this big data for longer periods of time.

In order to ensure reliable retention of surveillance video archives, businesses need to make sure that the acquired archiving solution is scalable, has automated services that facilitate simplified management, and are durable and cost-effective.

To facilitate all kinds of surveillance video archiving, StoneFly offers a diverse range of archiving solutions.

Businesses can setup a gateway appliance that allows video archive data to migrate from in-house/on-premises infrastructure to cloud archiving tiers with StoneFly Smart Cloud Gateway.

Or businesses can setup in-house /on-premises infrastructure as a dedicated surveillance video archive datacenter with StoneFly SSO NAS appliances.

Businesses looking for a purely cloud-based archiving solution can leverage StoneFly’s Cloud Archiving solution that enables users to archive in purpose-built cloud archiving tiers offered by public clouds (like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services – AWS, etc.) or to StoneFly’s private cloud.

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