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UPDATE February 2012: This article is out of date has been replaced by our 2012 Surveillance RAID Usage Statistics/Analysis.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

Security Consultants Speak Episode 1 - Protus3 on Oct 21, 2016
This is a first of a series of conversations with security consultants. If you are a security consultant that wants to talk and can share frank...
Sony and Samsung Breaking VBR on Oct 21, 2016
For years, users have known variable bitrate (VBR) as one thing only: bandwidth varies, compression stays the same. This is not an accident but an...
Pelco Matrix End Of Life - End Of An Era on Oct 20, 2016
Pelco Matrix switchers, once the pinnacle of large SD analog installations, are now literally impossible to build. The Matrix products were not...
Axis Video Revenue Down on Oct 20, 2016
An important milestone. Axis revenue for video products is down year over year. But Axis is now focusing on 'diversification'. In this report, we...
Worst Access Control 2016 on Oct 19, 2016
Two access control providers stood out as being the worst to work with for integrators. In this report, we analyze the answers to: "In the past...
Hacked DVRs Surge To 400,000 on Oct 19, 2016
The global internet is under attack from record breaking botnets. And it is getting worse, Mirai doubled in size in the last month. Shamefully,...
Longse Rips Off Hikvision on Oct 19, 2016
Longse is on the attack, and now they are targeting Hikvision. Evidently not content just to rip off Milestone and Video Insight, Longse has now...
China "Unswerving Leadership Over State-Owned Enterprises" Like Hikvision on Oct 18, 2016
The PR agency of the Chinese government declared: President Xi Jinping stressed the Communist Party of China's (CPC) unswerving leadership over...
Move Aside Cisco, Axis Has A Network Switch For Integrators on Oct 18, 2016
Cisco is a common choice for network switches, including in our Favorite Network Switches survey, but now Axis is releasing a 16 port PoE+ switch...

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