Surveillance Hard Drive Shoot-Out: WD And Seagate Square Off

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coolestcarl

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Excellent article. I was doing research into building a custom surveillance system for our shop and this is exactly the kind of material that would help me make an informed decision.
 

coolestcarl

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One thing that was unclear... obviously WD recommends no more than 8 in a system because of the lack of RAFF. I was wondering:
Are there any demonstrable effects on performance of having these drives in a small external raid array (of perhaps 4 drives)?
 

AndrewJacksonZA

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"As I noted earlier, those Seagate models are in there as a performance reference; they wouldn't normally compete in the same space as the Purple and Surveillance HDD."

If you're going to wander into the USD1/GB+ territory, even just for informational purposes, please include an SSD in this mix to be fair. SSD performance/price just might validate people buying them for surveillance drives.

Thank you.
 

mapesdhs

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I would have whacked a WD Black in there to see how all these specialty drives compare against a standard performance-oriented desktop drive.
Indeed, or any typical Enterprise SATA model (Hitachi HUS, Seagate ES2/NS, etc.)

Come to think of it, given the consequences of not being able to identify a suspect or
obtain other relevant visual information due to dropped data, as AndrewJacksonZA
says it would be interesting to know how these drives compare to various high-capacity
SSHDs/SSDs, eg. the Seagate 4TB ST4000DX001, Samsung 840 EVO 1TB (which includes
AES), and (high-density option, power saving) the Samsung MZ-MTE1T0BW 1TB mSATA.
The higher cost/GB of these products is surely more than worth it given the intended task.

Ian.

 

CaedenV

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Great article! I had no idea at just how huge the performance gap was between the cheap consumer drives and their more industrial cousins in the enterprise market. Have to say though; with enterprise SSDs starting to come down in price with such better specs, it is going to be difficult to justify enterprise hard drives that still cost $1+/GB. I think we are going to see SSD adoption grow like crazy in those enterprise markets the next few years, especially with drives starting to have 5-10 year warranties.

Article idea: No offence to the writers at Tom's but this is the first interesting article I have read in a long time. Could we get some more articles like this? Maybe some articles comparing onboard Intel RAID with different popular card options? Or comparing how different drives perform in different RAID configurations and workloads? I get the feeling that these drives would perform quite differently as they are really made to work as a team rather than as solo drives.
 

InvalidError

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You would need one grossly under-engineered surveillance system for this to really be a problem since there is nothing happening 99% of the time and those drops would need to conveniently happen during the 1% of the time where you need data and your system administrator would need to have somehow failed to notice and fix the issues in-between events if they were so bad as to render the system unusable for its intended purpose.

Most of the time though, surveillance recordings are merely a nice convenience in case something goes wrong but are not considered critical outside of casinos, banks and few other (very) high security applications that have their own IT departments or dedicated vendors working on their video archival needs and are unlikely to take their hardware recommendations from enthusiast sites like THG.

I doubt any normal company would waste SSDs or 10k/12k/15k RPM HDDs on video surveillance storage. They would be more likely to use standard HDDs like WD Black / Red / Green / Blue.
 

Amdlova

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seagate in enterprise sector is better than WD. i See these little boys working on a PC and DO such amazing job. Running windows and a old Surveillance card with 32 cameras and you can see the videos and edit at same time.
 

drewriley

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I really debated on whether to include SSDs in the evaluation. The problem is that because of $/GB and write endurance, it would only make sense to use them on a smaller scale setup, which is where their benefits (simultaneous high speed IO), are greatly reduced. Also, their performance would skew the graphs to the point where it would be hard to interpret the results of the HDDs.
 

drewriley

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I would have like that also, but we only had access to so many drives, most of them SMB/enterprise.
 

jardows

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Nice comparison. This makes me think about trying to build a system myself. Are there any good guides for building your own surveillance system using standard PC parts?
 

Tuishimi

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Neat article. I bought a couple SV35s as my high capacity storage for my current build (512 GB SSD for the OS drive) and they perform quite acceptably as non surveillance drives as well (and are pretty cheap).
 

mapesdhs

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Have you seen that article on some other site which is testing SSDs to destruction? Going for 1PB+.
In reality they perform much better than most people might assume, and that's just consumer SSDs.
Enterprise SSDs wouldn't have that issue. As for cost, as I say given the intended task, I really doubt
the cost would that much of an issue - this kind of hw setup is similar in importance to a backup
solution: costly, but well worth the investment given the potential costs in the event of a major incident.
Plus, the absolute costs of the drives isn't that much compared to all the other hw required, and the
power savings will add up over time.

hate to say it but given where the industry is going, including an SSD or two in the mix, both top-end
consumer & pro, is exactly the data that relevant users really need. It's similar to the benefits for pro
users of using pro cards: the advantages are usually worth the much higher GPU prices.

Also note I mentioned hybrid drives aswell, not just SSDs.

Ian.


 

AndrewJacksonZA

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Yes, the performance will skew the graphs, but the point is to show just how much better or worse an SSD might be over an HDD. If performance matters so much that an SSD would be beneficial in a system with many cameras, and the cost of one or two SSDs would be significantly less than the cost of, say, eight HDDs, then I would imagine that the differences should be highlighted. Perhaps Cost/GB and Cost/Performance figures and graphs would be helpful, or put a break on the x-axis on the graphs so that the HDD performance is still readable but the SSD performance is highlighted as well.


Here's the article Ian:
http://techreport.com/review/26523/the-ssd-endurance-experiment-casualties-on-the-way-to-a-petabyte
It really surprised me!

 

InvalidError

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Having more cameras may increase the total performance requirements but it also increases the total storage space requirements. At 1GB/h (2.2Mbps average) per camera on a 16 cameras setup, you already need around 400GB/day so you already need one $250 500GB SSD per day instead of one 3TB HDD per week.

So, if you want to keep your footage for at least a week, getting one 4TB HDD for ~$200 per 16 cameras to simultaneously meet both storage and performance requirements makes a lot more sense to me than spending around $2000 on a 3TB SSD.
 

Fedor

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Drew, do you know, or if not, would it be possible to find out, whether these drives have TLER? It would be very useful to know in case one wanted to use them in a RAID environment.
 

mapesdhs

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That doesn't take all factors into account. If an SSD solution means much more reliable capture then the extra
cost may well be regarded as a worthy investment.

Ian.

 

drewriley

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Yes, the WD has TLER and the Seagate has ERC. They are both designed to operate in RAID environments.
 

drewriley

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Just a few comments:

Thanks everyone for the great discussion, we really appreciate it. I am with InvalidError on this one, the costs when you go beyond a small home setup go up by orders of magnitude. I also didn't want to muddy the discussion and introduce too many variables.

I also do all of our enterprise SSD reviews, including write endurance testing. I have personally stressed SSDs beyond their rated specification, but the problem with manufacturers saying their drives can go 1+PB when they are only rated for a 100TB is that they can fail an any point. Once the Media Wearout Indicator hits zero, it is time to change drives. I liken it to driving your car with the fuel gauge on E, you might be able to get 50 more miles out of it, but I wouldn't recommend it. If 100% of all drives could go 10X beyond their rated endurance, they would be specified to do so.

But, since you asked so nicely, here are some of the results. I am using an unreleased 800GB eMLC enterprise SSD. I am going beyond the tests shown in the review in terms of data rate. I am testing 32 cameras at 1080P at 20FPS. None of the rotating drives would be able to do this on their own.

Idle - 80%
Write % = 100% < 5ms
Read % = 88.981% < 5ms
Read % = 99.997% < 20ms

Basically, the SSD just looked at me and said, is that all you got? But, remember, when designing a surveillance system, especially for SMB, any amount of money to pay for unused capabilities is a waste, unless you have planned upgrades in the future.

I will keep your comments in mind for next time.
 

InvalidError

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HDD failures are not exactly that common unless the drives have been mishandled or operate in a harsh environment and the likelihood of such a failure happening on the piece of footage you need are pretty low since 99% of the time, the footage will never be seen again. Also, SSDs are not immune to sudden early failure either.

If your video recording is so critical you cannot afford to either lose recording or retrieval capabilities, you would need redundant storage regardless of whether you used a SSD or HDD.

For $2000, you can build a pair of RAID5 arrays (mirrored) with enough performance to easily handle at least 32 cameras and enough storage to record two weeks. Not a bad deal if the extra power and space compared to SSD are not an issue.
 

AndrewJacksonZA

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As far as cost goes for home use or a small business, I'm totally with you drewriley: get a bunch of spindles. However, some people might have a legitimate need to have 32 cameras around. I guess that the need for 32 cameras might be solved by contracting security out to a third party, with hefty penalties in the SLA if the camera system doesn't perform properly.

So I guess the guys from third party security companies might find value in investing in a few SSDs instead of a bunch of disks. ;-)

Thanks for replying to us, and thanks for taking the time to run the numbers, appreciate it! :)
 
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