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UPDATE February 2012: This article is out of date has been replaced by our 2012 Surveillance RAID Usage Statistics/Analysis.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

SkyBell Trim & Slim Models Tested on Sep 25, 2017
Given continued growth of video doorbells and the central role Skybell plays in smarthome packages like Alarm.com and Honeywell Total Connect, we...
Hackers Globally Attacking Dahua Recorders on Sep 25, 2017
Dahua recorders are being hacked and vandalized around the world, as confirmed by dozens of reports to IPVM since the attacks surged 5 days...
Reseting IP Cameras - 30 Manufacturer Directory on Sep 22, 2017
Every camera has a reset button (well, almost) but it is not always clear what these buttons do, how long they need to be held, what settings they...
80+ OEMs Verified Vulnerable To Hikvision Backdoor on Sep 22, 2017
Over 80 Hikvision OEM partners, including ADI, Interlogix, LTS, and Northern Video, have been verified as having products vulnerable to the...
Genetec Launches Cloud Access Control (Synergis SaaS) on Sep 21, 2017
Genetec's cloud everything expansion continues, with their announcement of Synergis SaaS edition, joining their cloud video offering Stratocast,...
Genetec CEO Warns Against Insider Threats on Sep 21, 2017
With Dahua and Hikvision cybersecurity issues becoming indisputable, a new counter has emerged. Just put them behind a firewall, buy cheap...
New IPVM Calculator V3 Released on Sep 20, 2017
The New IPVM Calculator V3 is released. An entirely new architecture delivers the following benefits: Turbo The calculator is now ~50% faster in...
Automatic Door Operators For Access Tutorial on Sep 20, 2017
Opening and closing doors might sound simple, but it takes a high-tech piece of door hardware to pull it off. Integrating automatic door operators...
'Clowns' Allege Ubiquiti 'Completely Fraudulent' on Sep 20, 2017
A short seller has alleged Ubiquiti is 'completely fraudulent'. Ubiquiti's CEO has responded calling them 'clowns'. Here is the short...
Avigilon 'Blue' Cloud Entry Examined on Sep 19, 2017
Avigilon is moving to the cloud. The company announced their Avigilon Blue platform, designed to be a web-managed surveillance system, utilizing...

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