18 TB Video Surveillance Drives (WD and Seagate)

By Sean Patton, Published Oct 19, 2020, 09:50am EDT (Info+)

Both Seagate and Western Digital recently announced 18TB hard drives specifically for video surveillance, claiming that AI analytics are pushing the need for more storage.

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But will 18TB have an impact? How is AI driving storage needs?

In this note, we examine offerings by the 2 most widely used HDD manufacturers for video surveillance, Western Digital, and Seagate, including feedback from Seagate.

18TB ****** *** ***** ************

IPVM Image**** ********** **** ***** ** *** ****** *** ***** surveillance*** **** ******** ****, ****** * minority *** ****+.

******* ******* *** ******* ********* **** surveillance-focused ******. **** *** ******* ******, cite ******* ** ** ** *******, and ***** *-**** **********.

**************** *** ******* ** *********** ** ** *** "*****'* ***** purpose-built **** ***** *** ********** ************-******* surveillance *********", ******** * *****/** ******** rate, ******** ** *****/** *** **'* 18TB *****, ****** ******* **** ** truly *** **** *** *** **** validated.

******* ******* ********* ******'* **** *** ******** ****, ************ ******* ** ****** **** ******** **, ********* ****** ******** ******** ********* (EAMR) ***** **** **** ****** **% more ******** **** *** ******** **** models, ******* **** ** **** **** capacities. ******* ******* **** **** **** be ***** **** *** ********** ***** sizes ****** ****.

Cost *** *** ******* ******

*** ******* ******* *********** ****** ******** drive ***** *** **** *** *** support. ******* *******'* **** ***** $*** MSRP ** $**/**, ***** *******'* ** $510 **** ** $**/**.

*** ******* ****** *****/***** *** ** for ************-***** ****** *** ** **** 4TB ** ** **** ** $**/**, which ***** *******'* ** ********** **** expensive *** ** ** **% **** expensive *** ** **** **** ******** used ****** ****.

************, **** *********** *** ******* ** the ***** ********** **** *** ********* or ******* ** *** *************, *** many ******* ********* *** ***** **** are ******* ** **** ** **** drives.

Positives ** ********* ***** ****

** ***** **** ******** ******, ***** systems (*****+) *** ***** ********* ******* sizes **** ***** ***** **** *** require ***** ****** *******, ********** ******* system ****, ************* *** **** *****. Dell **-*** ****** ******* **** $*,*** - $**,*** ********* ** *************, ******* video ******* ******.

*** **** ********** ****** ******* **** is ********** ** ********** ***** *-** hours ** ***** ** *********, ********** install, *** ********/*******.

AI ****** *******

**** ** *** ******* ****** **** drives ** "**" ** "**-*******"; ******** that ****** ****** *** ******** ** 2020 ******* ** ******** ** ** *********:

  • ** "**-*******" ************: * *********** *******-************ ******** ***** ******** ******** ****** *********** companies ***** **** ** ******* ** them *** ***** ********* *** ** as ******* ** ****-********** **** ** their ***********.
  • *******'* "******* **" ************: *** ******** ** ****** **** data **** **** ** ******** *** deep ******** ******* ** ****** ******* and **** ******** ** ***** ********** analysis, *** ******** ******** ******** ************* more **** **** *********** ***** *******.

******* ********* ** **** ***** *** AI ******** *** *** *** ***** how ** *** ******* ****** **********, just ***** **** ****** ********* ***** requires **** ********:

************* **** ** ***** ** ******** capacities ** * ***** **** ***** del******* **** ********* ** ************ ********** **** ****** ***** *****. It ** ********* ** **** ****** retention ******* *** **** ***** *** static ****** ** ***** **** ****.

******* ******* *** *** ******* ** IPVM's ******** ***** **'* ****** ** storage.

**** ** ********* ******** ***** ****** from ******-***** ***** *********, ***** ***** decrease *** ******** ******* ********.

***** ********-***** ********* ************'* ******* ******** ************ ******* ****** *********/***** ********* *********, these ********* *** ****, *** *** not ******** ******** *** ****** ** storage ********. ******** **** ***** ****** analytics **** ******* ******:

**** *** *** ********* ****** *** the ********** ******** ********* ** ********** search, *** ****** ** ***** ******* from *** ******** *** *******.

Smart ******

********, ****** *** ***** ****** ************* include ***** ****** ** ** ***** some ** ***** *******, **** **** implementing **** ** *** ******** ** their ****. ********, * ***** ******** of*********** **** **** **** *** ***** codecs**% ** **** ** *** ****:

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**** ********* ********* *** ******* ************ by **% ** *******. **** ************** ******* ****** *********** (**** ****** Resolution *****), **** ******* ** *** ******* drives ****** **** ***.

RAID ******* **** *******

* ******* **** ** ***** ****** capacity ****** **** *** **** ** the ******* **** **** ***** **** to ** ********. * ******* *** surveillance-focused ***** **** * ******* ******** rate **** **** ~** ***** ** idle ** *******, ** **** **** a *** *** * ****** **** continues ** ***** *** *****. **** with * *** **** ******** ****, WD's **** ****** **** **** ~** hours ** ******* ** ****.

******* **** **** ***** ***** ** help ****** **** ******* *****:

******* ********** **** ******* *** ****** various ********* **** *** ****** **** rebuild *****. (**** ****: ***** ****** vendors ** **** ***** *** *********)

******* ***** *********** ***** ** ********* with *** ******* *** *********** *** Health ********** ******* (*** *** ***). Instead ** ********** *** ****** **** array **** ****** ** *** **** array. **** **** *** ******* ***** could ** ******* ** *** *** spare *.* **% ** ********* ****. The ********* **% *** **** ** rebuild **** ****** ******** ******* ****. Our ****** ********** ******* **** ******* a **** ** *** **** *** be ******.

** *** ****** ****, ** **** ADAPT **** ********* *** ****** *** to * ****** ** ****** ******* reducing ******* ***** ****.

** *** *** ******* ***** **** rebuild *****.

*******

**** **** ****** ************* ********* ***** high ********** ******* (*.*.******** ****,****** ****) ** ****** ***** ************* **** continue ** ******** ******** ** ******, but ******** **** ** *******.

** ******** ************ **** ****** ** ***** *** need *** ****** ******** **** ******* system ***** **********. ********, **** *** next * - ** *****, ********* growth ** ***** ********* *** ********* the ****** *** ********** **-******* *******.

Comments (20)

From my internal testing, many current NVRs and DVRs seem to support these new larger capacities despite spec. sheets stating that they might only support up to 10/12TB.

Is there any technical reason you know of that may limit a device from seeing these new large HDDs?

When I ask the likes of Dahua and even Seagate they can't seem to pinpoint why a DVR/NVR wouldn't see the full capacity.

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Generally speaking, larger hard drives generate more heat. More, larger drives increases the heat in the NVR, and may exceed the cooling capacity of the unit as it was designed.

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Very interesting, power utilization (and heat generation as you mentioned) of a 1TB Purple drive is 3W compared to 6W for a 14TB.

It seems to vary throughout the range on the spec sheet up to 9W for a special 10TB model.

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Generally speaking, this is true, but not fully. Look at the spec sheet for a full array of the same type drives, and you will find that the power consumption does increase from 1TB up to 6TB (sometimes 8) But at 10TB, it comes back down, and then increments up again slowly as you get to 18TB. Why? Helium

Drives that use Helium as the internal medium have far less resistance to spinning the platters and moving the heads across the media. This translates to reduced power consumption/heat production. If you would like to know more about this topic, message me for a copy of our White Paper on Helium usage.

Seagate SkyHawk AI: Average Operating Power

ST8000VE001 (8TB) 8.73W

ST16000VE002 (16TB) 6.71W

Remember that for our industry, the Idle power is irrelevant, as we tend to write data pretty much endlessly.

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What would be good to know is how they define the R/W use case for these AI drives.

For example, the WD Purple is a high write use case which matches well for a NVR recording machine and thus offers a performance boost.

Beyond that, what exactly is the extra data being saved here? AI does have a lot of Read/Write calls to a database as it learns, so I can imagine the 'learning part' is where there is extra data being generated. However, that does not translate to a performance boost.

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AI does have a lot of Read/Write calls to a database as it learns

FWIW, this is not a universal truth of AI-based systems.

In the grand scheme of things, using some form of AI should not have any impact at the HDD level of the system. I think throwing the "AI" moniker on the descriptions for these is mostly a marketing gimmick.

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for sure this... IMO you'd expect a lot of those DB r/w operations to done on a solid state boot media vs the video storage volume.

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We believe both manufacturers use around 90/10 Write/Read 'firmware tuning' on video-security-grade drives, although they do not publish this as a spec.

Both manufacturers have brought in to their labs 'high-end', high volume NVR's with 'AI' capabilities and used them to fine tune the firmware and caching methods of their larger drives, which are all marketed as 'AI' capable.

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the very first sentence in the OP makes no sense to me:

Both Seagate and Western Digital recently announced 18TB hard drives specifically for video surveillance, claiming that AI analytics are pushing the need for more storage.

how could this possibly be true?

even systems that record on motion events, if analytics are better at detecting actionable events than VMD, then the use of analytics should decrease storage by ignoring the recording of non-actionable events.

I agree with BRK - this is clearly a simple marketing gimmick.

further, it is a flawed marketing point to begin with, imo.

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They are implying that you are recording the exact way as before. They don't understand that WE use AI for more accurate recording.

They think of AI as adding additional metadata into our video stream. Think about age, gender, clothing color, etc. Vehicles have color, type, speed, etc. metadata.

Each of these datapoints are then stored with the data for easy forensic review.

So you have your normal video stream coming in and now it is slightly larger, and the metadata may need to be stripped out of the stream and stored in to a different database...

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I am no expert on metadata... but is this meta data normally stored alongside video on storage drives?

or is it, instead, normally stored in SQL DBs that the VMS can apply to the stored video?

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So you have your normal video stream coming in and now it is slightly larger, and the metadata may need to be stripped out of the stream and stored in to a different database

Meta-data, in most cases, is TINY in comparison to the video data. Even with many objects in the scene, it does not take much text to describe that object and its actions/positions/etc. Additionally, not all edge products embed it into a video stream, some send it as a simultaneous data stream, akin to a POS integration.

VMS architectures vary wildly, but a common approach is to have a storage array (eg: 1 or more disks) dedicated to storing video, which will commonly be a continuous write process, and a different array dedicated to a database. The database will commonly be written in batches, and in some cases may have some portion of the data cached in RAM and partially discarded before being written to disk (eg: if you are doing motion or event recording, or AI-driven recording, you may not know until a few seconds (or minutes) later if a serious of frames is worth keeping).

I do not see these drives being commonly used for the DB storage, which is probably the part of the stack more impacted by "AI" than the video storage array.

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I am running a test of a facial recognition analytic in the lab and I see it using a SQL DB query to match faces with what it gets from the camera feeds.

The topology I am using is that the feeds come from the NVR, a separate machine with the video storage, but they do not have to. The feeds do have to be a fairly high quality in order to be accurate. IPVM has several reports on this aspect.

Certainly it is one example and there are many others.

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Thanks Sean and IPVM for calling attention to the massive 18TB drives now coming to market. Just a couple main comments:

- Price/TB is always high when a leading edge capacity is brought to market. It comes down as it builds volume and yields improve.

- We find 12TB is among the best $/TB. We sell quite a few drives to the industry so we have good data.

- When considering higher capacity drives, take a look at power draw, which can represent heat generation, and also MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure). MTBF is a complicated reliability spec, backed up by actual testing with a large number of drives in the manfufacturers' labs. 10TB and above are 'Helium' drives which are sealed and extremely reliable, hence the higher MTBF number.

- RAID rebuild time is an important issue, but remember if you have more reliable drives, and less of them (because they are much higher capacity), you get less failures and therefore fewer rebuilds

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Sorry one more point:

While WD employed Energy Assisted Magnetic Recording (EAMR) to reach a capacity of 18TB, Seagate was able to reach this capacity point using only conventional magnetic recording. (CMR)

With no “new” technology incorporated, the SkyHawk AI 18TB offering may have a (long-term) cost and reduced complexity advantage.

While we have no expectation that the EAMR tech used by WD would cause any functionality and compatibility issues, it could potentially represent more firmware update/reliability risk than the Seagate model.

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Seagate here...

Appreciate the write up here and super happy that our PR team was responsive to IPVM ;-) Thanks Marc for your comments too.

I fully agree with the analysis of the primary capacities being 4-8TB, unit wise they make up less than 50% of the total market but from a total capacity perspective it is a fair bit higher. The highest capacity drives, which are typically not the most optimized from a cost per/tb perspective are really concentrated among early adopters and typically server / SAN providers looking to maximize storage capacity in an array.

Interestingly, despite the codec improvements, total capacity continues to increase very substantially and outpace any unit growth. I believe there are many variables driving this including increased camera counts, higher MP, longer retention and various AI and big data applications.

Always open to anyone reaching out if there is anything I can answer or help with.

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total capacity continues to increase very substantially and outpace any unit growth

Ty, thanks. Can you quantify that growth? And by unit growth you mean hard drive units or camera units? I am trying to better understand the statement.

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Yes sorry for not being clear.

The unit growth I am referring to is surveillance hard drive units, about as specific as I can be would be to say this is in the moderate single digit range.

Total capacity shipped, which from my perspective is the key metric we track and report via our earnings, is growing in very strong double digits YoY and the market average drive capacity in the surveillance segment is now above 5TB.

This is the interesting part, as highlighted in the analysis, smart codes and compression drive a large comparable decrease in storage requirement. That is however certainly not the data trend, the reasons obviously differ by application but the net outcome is that more data is being created / retained.

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referring to is surveillance hard drive units, about as specific as I can be would be to say this is in the moderate single digit range.

That makes sense. What I wonder is how that compares to growth in camera units shipped. One hypothesis I have is that camera unit growth is faster than hard drive unit growth. Also, could be possible that people are extending storage duration given the relatively lower cost and reduce need given smart codecs.

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Stefaan here from Western Digital. Thank you, Sean, for posting an overview on the 18TB drives. We would like to provide some more details to the IPVM audience on our latest WD Purple™ 18TB drive.

The reliability specs on our Purple 18TB CMR drive are the same as our prior proven generation Purple products and includes the following technologies:

  • Our energy-assisted perpendicular magnetic recording drive (ePMR), which is a first implementation of our long-term strategy in EAMR technologies. ePMR utilizes a bias current applied to the head to enhance writability. There are actually no new components required for ePMR, because we leverage our previous investments in damascene heads.
  • We augment that with an industry-first Triple Stage Actuator (TSA) that provides more accurate positioning contributing to better densities over time. A TSA brings together field-proven millactuator and microactuator technologies and continues our track record of actuator innovation.
  • We use our 5th generation of Helium technology (HelioSeal®) to optimize for power and durability. In 2019, 2/3rds of Helium Exabytes shipped were based on Western Digital Helium’s technology, a very extensively deployed technology.

The above technologies actually contribute to a higher performing and more reliable drive overall and don’t lead to an increased firmware risk. We are more than happy to schedule a follow up with anyone who would like to get more details on the technology. Hope this helps clarify some of the outstanding questions.

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