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Surveillance NVR installed with HDDs

Choose HDD for video surveillance, Seagate or Western Digital?

Since the video surveillance enter into megapixel IP era, the required storage capacity significantly increased, which directly increased the demands for hard disc drives. So HDD manufacturers have already realized the trend, the needs from video surveillance industry become the main growth for them. Western Digital chose to cooperate with Hikvision to launched Purple series HDDs which are dedicated for video surveillance application. Seagate also launched ST4000VX000, which is a surveillance HDD addresses the increasing need for high-resolution cameras and camera counts, and ensures cost-effective performance and durability in always-on surveillance systems.

Evaluating the HDD's capacity

According to Rex Dong, when decide to use HDD, the first thing you want to consider is capacity. You may need to estimate the storage capacity for required video recording. Typically users opt to save costs by simply matching current capacity needs to your video surveillance demands. However, this may actually cost you more and create more upgrade issues in the long run. To choose the HDD capacity, you may take your future needs into consideration. Will you increase the resolution of your surveillance video in the future? Are you thinking about increasing the number of cameras due to business growth?

4K resolution will become the mainstream in the foreseeable future. The 4K video resolution is for times higher than your full HD 1080p resolution, which in turn, resulting in requires more than four times the amount of storage space as 1080p. Now, 500GB HDD will disappear from market, the maximum HDD storage capacity can reach up to 6TB, which can provide enough storage capacity for 64 cameras.

Reliability is very important

We don't recommend clients to use regular desktop computer HDDs for video surveillance. Since the working environment and condition is different, video surveillance requires a HDD that's not susceptible to the issues including heat-related failure or vibration from other drives, which can result in loss of video frames, data loss. What's the difference between regular computer HDD and surveillance dedicated HDD? Compared with computer HDD, surveillance dedicated HDD are designed for 90% write time and only 10% read time. The surveillance-specific drives are also engineered to reliably perform in multi-drive systems with RAID support. Optimized performance and reliability can minimize the effect of vibration from other drives with RV sensors, which mean fewer points for potential failure.

Western Digital or Seagate HDDs

In the market, you only can choose either Seagate or Western Digital. Now a question may come into your mind, which hard drive manufacturer is the most reliable? However, there is no failure data published by both manufacturers. But we still can find the answer from Data backup and recovery service companies such as Backlaze. Backlaze is a software company that offers user unlimited data backup service. At the end of December 2014, the company released its latest 2015 data shed some new light on failure rate of HDDs from different brands. Backblaze had 15,528 Seagate drives, 22,902 Hitachi drives, 1,174 Western Digital drives, and 47 Toshiba drives.

Hard drive annual failure Rate
Hard drive annual failure Rate

Checking the grathic above, with over 40% failing throughout 2014, and 9.6% failure rate in 2013, Seagate 3TB drives turned out to be a disaster. However, the new 4TB version improved significantly, as the second graph indicates below, with an excellent failure rate of just 2.6% — indicating that even a few years out, they should do much better than the 3TB models.The “annual failure rate” is the chance of a drive dying within a 12-month period. Western Digital is worse, but still impressive: After three years of operation, 92.4% of Western Digital Red 3TB drives are still running — not terrific, but still good.

Hard drive annual failure Rate
Hard drive annual failure Rate

HGST (Hitachi Global Storage Technologie) drives are by far the most reliable. The average failure rate of HGST drives is merely 2%, and the latest HGST drives have a failure rate of just 1.4%.  In summary, if you want to choose a reliable HDD, you should stay with 4TB for the best value and reliability, and go with either Hitachi or Seagate.

Backblaze Hard Drive Failure Rates, Cumulative by Quarter
Name/Model Size 12/31/13 03/31/14 06/30/14 09/30/14 12/31/14 03/31/15
HGST Deskstar 7K2000
2TB 1.10% 1.08% 1.09% 1.03% 1.06% 1.15%
HGST Deskstar 5K3000
3TB 0.90% 0.85% 0.70% 0.73% 0.74% 0.74%
HGST Deskstar 7K3000
3TB 0.90% 1.54% 1.46% 1.55% 1.81% 1.83%
HGST Deskstar 5K4000
4TB 1.50% 1.33% 1.25% 1.06% 1.17% 1.16%
HGST Megascale 4000
(HGST HMS5C4040ALE640)
4TB   2.67% 1.90% 1.86% 1.43% 1.18%
HGST Megascale 4000.B
(HGST HMS5C4040BLE640)
4TB   20.29% 1.23% 0.59% 0.52% 0.48%
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11
1.5TB 25.40% 22.27% 22.98% 23.02% 23.41% 24.12%
Seagate Barracuda LP
1.5TB 9.90% 9.87% 9.67% 9.56% 9.93% 10.18%
Seagate Barracuda LP
2TB 7.20% 8.03% 8.18% 9.96% 9.63% 9.93%
Seagate Barracuda 7200.14
3TB 9.80% 13.92% 17.65% 27.15% 28.31% 28.26%
Seagate Barracuda XT
3TB 7.30% 6.53% 6.33% 6.08% 5.59% 5.27%
Seagate Barracuda XT
4TB   0.75% 0.56% 0.45% 1.12% 1.61%
Seagate Desktop HDD.15
4TB   3.83% 3.03% 2.73% 2.75% 2.83%
Seagate 6 TB SATA 3.5
6TB           1.70%
Toshiba DT01ACA Series
3TB   4.63% 3.48% 4.20% 4.81% 4.23%
Toshiba MD04ABA-V Series
4TB           0.00%
Toshiba MD04ABA-V Series
5TB           0.00%
Western Digital Red 3 TB
3TB 3.20% 8.78% 9.07% 6.96% 6.49% 7.90%
Western Digital 4 TB
4TB           9.01%
Western Digital Red 6 TB
6TB       13.75% 3.07% 6.64%

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