Economics of Video Surveillance RAID

Author: John Honovich, Published on May 09, 2008

While valued by security managers for years, use of RAID for video surveillance systems has been low. With many organizations migrating to software only solutions, the RAID decision has new challenges.

UPDATE February 2012: This article is out of date has been replaced by our 2012 Surveillance RAID Usage Statistics/Analysis.

Today, Milestone Systems published an article on "To RAID or not to RAID?". It's well written and worth reading but two immediate concerns came to mind:

  • The Key Element is the Cost Difference
  • For RAID, software only systems seem to be worse than older appliances.

Most security customers value the storage redundancy of RAID but have not been able to justify the increased cost. In this respect, RAID is like megapixel cameras. Most everyone values the higher resolution of megapixel but only a minority of security managers can currently justify the additional expense. Therefore, the key element in the decision is how much more RAID costs.

The RAID premium has continued to decrease over the years. 5 years ago, using RAID for Intellex systems increased the cost of a 16 channel appliance by 50% (from roughly $10k to $15k. Today, using RAID on Intellex systems increasing the cost of the equivalent appliance by less than 25% (from roughly $9k to $11k).

Last year, 3VR offered RAID standard on its entry level appliances, effectively eliminating any premium for RAID. At that point, choosing RAID becomes a no-brainer. Expect this trend to continue as PC motherboards increasingly support software based RAID.

For appliances, at least, the RAID premium has dropped under $2k for a 16 channel system and is approaching $0. As it does, value is generated as the cost for RAID drops below the amount of savings generated from not losing evidence and saving systems from going off-line due to a hard drive failure.

Software Only

The other interesting element of this article is how much more costly and complicated selecting and setting up RAID is for a software only solution than an appliance.

This is a regression or a step back from what security managers and integrators have been experiencing for years. With appliances, adding in RAID is like super-sizing your meal or ordering an iPod. You simply select what you want and the product is delivered to you, fully integrated and ready to use.

As Roger describes in his article, "RAID technology is not particularly difficult to configure, but it can be somewhat confusing. Each product has a different interface, and most of them rely on a BIOS level utility program to initialize the disks and build arrays. RAID is not for the faint-of-heart."

In business terms, this increases cost by requiring more time spent on set-up and using a more skilled technician to accomplish the setup. Ironically, this could reduce the value of RAID to security managers. These complexities will likely spur the adoption of products by Intransa or Pivot3 as organizations seek to simplify and reduce the time and risk of manually setting up RAID arrays.

It would be interesting to see more details on the relative costs of using RAID in software only versus appliances. In this way, integrators and security managers could make better decisions about the value generated from using RAID.

Most Recent Industry Reports

Importance of Sales To Integrators - Statistics on Jun 23, 2017
One of the top trends in the industry over the past few years has been the rise of across-the-board sales (e.g.: Hikvision Sales, Dahua Sale,...
Deep Learning Surveillance Startups Deep Problem on Jun 23, 2017
The undeniably good news for the video surveillance market is that we are seeing the rise of more startups than in many years. The cause of this...
Avigilon Announces RADAR-Based Presence Detector on Jun 22, 2017
RADAR is gaining momentum within physical security. Two months after Axis announced a network radar detector, Avigilon has announced a RADAR-Based...
Covert Cloud Camera Service Launching (KJB) on Jun 22, 2017
Cloud IP cameras, for consumers, has become increasingly commonplace. However, covert cameras, lag there, with few options. Now, North America's...
Manufacturers Shipping Unlicensed H.265 Products on Jun 22, 2017
While H.265 support in video surveillance is growing, IPVM's research shows that most surveillance manufacturers are shipping H.265 products with...
Uniview Low-Cost Bullet PTZ Tested on Jun 21, 2017
Uniview is offering a HD zoom bullet camera, the IPC742SR9-PZ30-32G, with an integrated pan / tilt positioner, for the price of a low-cost...
QSR Video Surveillance Best Practices on Jun 21, 2017
Fast food restaurants or QSRs (quick service restaurants), are frequent victims of crime and fraud. Because they are open late, deal with cash, and...
45 Drives 'Lowest Cost' Enterprise Storage Company Profile on Jun 21, 2017
45 Drives claims the "lowest cost per Hard Drive Slot in the industry." But who or what is '45 Drives'? What started as a product design to...
No Hack, Still Liable, Court Finds ADT on Jun 20, 2017
Recently, ADT has been in the news for a $16 million settlement for a cyber security vulnerability class action suit. One of the most important...
Resolver / PPM 2000 Incident Management Platform Profile on Jun 20, 2017
You might have seen the company whose employees wear hockey jerseys at trade shows and wondered "what do they do?" PPM 2000 has been active in...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact