Favorite Video Surveillance Hard Drive Statistics 2016: Seagate vs WD

Author: Brian Karas, Published on Aug 01, 2016

What is the favorite hard drive for video surveillance integrators?

Two manufacturers stood out, Seagate and WD but one of them trounced the other.

In this report, we share detailed findings, including trends and explanations of what and why integrators preferred what they did.

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Comments (19)

Not saying Western Digital isn't a better drive, but I think they have better marketing. I see them being advertised a lot more.

I have been a WD fan since the mid 90's. I have tried other brands over the years, but have always favored WD drives. I have been burned by many other brands; Quantum, Maxtor, Samsung, etc.. Wait, those were all acquired by Seagate at some point!

I was also burned by Seagate by a flawed firmware on the 7200.11 drives. I personally had data on one of these drives that had been used as a backup device. The primary drive failed, which led me to access my backup device. The backup device was locked due to the defective firmware. Seagate's fix was to flash the firmware, but bricked drives weren't accessible. I ended up having to ship my drive with my only set of data to a third party who was able to flash the firmware using a proprietary method.

That whole disaster cost me days of time and hundreds of dollars. It was all due to the lack of QC on a shipping product. I lost all respect for them then and still harbor resentment today.

I have used SV35 drives, but only when forced to by incompatibilities with WD drives (some Dahua recorders didn't play well with WD drives).

What does HDD have to do with live viewing ?

"We like to use faster rpm drives for the recording/live drives as we have seen improved live view loading."

"Live Drives" are typically a Milestone architecture where very fast direct attached drives are where the video is first recorded before being archived later on. The reason for the separation is the ability to record a large number of cameras all going into motion at the same time, where normal storage would overflow the buffer.

As the largest distributor in the US for WD Purple drives, I can tell you one of the big reasons for WD's much higher market share in the US is because of WD's focus on the video security market here which really started in 2010 but took several years to take hold. In addition to shipping very solid drives and to being first with (relatively) widespread marketing, and to me of much higher importance, was and is WD's distribution channel strategy on WD Purple. The strategy has ensured widespread availability of WD Purple drives. Both companies 'video security drives' are solid nowadays, but if manufacturers (or integrators) can't buy them from their distributor sources, with same day shipping, it's a non-starter. It is a lot harder than you might think to have a solid distribution channel with distributors paying enough attention to the business to always have stock on all the major capacity points. WD has really done a good job with this.

I'm sure most in this community remember the devastating flood in Thailand in 2011? WD resumed shipments to distributors in about 60 days. Seagate chose to enter long term agreements with only their largest (direct) customers and so distributors didn't get shipments of video security drives (as well as enterprise drives) for 6 months.

We make our living keeping security manufacturers, distributors and integrators in solid supply of reliable drives. To do this, we need to rely on a drive manufacturer that we know is committed, at the senior exec level, to all their customers, not just the very largest.

Backblaze (a backup company that does fantastic metrics for failure) samples all failures of their large pool every quarter (they use consumer and "Video" grade drives in their proprietary arrays).

Here's a bit of data from this last Quarter that may be helpful.

Backblaze Q1 Drive Failure Data

We've reviewed the Backblaze info pretty carefully, and to us it's tough to use their data on any drives other than enterprise drives, since consumer/desktop drives are not rated for large systems or 24/7 use, and 'surveillance' drives, while some are rated for multi-drive systems and 24/7 use, this is only in a video security application, not in a potentially very high input/output (random data/webserver, etc) environment that a BackBlaze system might see.

So we think failure data on 'video' drives used in an application they are not designed for is not of great use when considering video drives' capabilities in video applications.

Our failure rate is much higher with Seagate, the RMA process is not worth the benefits provided by their recovery offering.

All of the failures we've seen were with seagate. That was a few years ago but since switching to WD purple we have not had a single failure. I personally almost lost a lot of data on a seagate drive and had to spend a lot of time and money to recover it.

When putting in a large server, with say 24 drives, are people using WD purple or enterprise drives?

If you are talking about in a drive chassis using some using some for of RAID, I believe you should use enterprise drives because that us what they are designed for. Firmware for RAID specific error reporting and higher vibrational tolerances. But there are people better looking and smarter than me who can give a more technical answer if needed.

That was my thought but I didn't see any mention of enterprise drives.

To support large number of drives in the high density enclosure, the drive must have vibration senor built in. This is to compensate the motion from all other drives. All enterprise drives have this sensor.

If you ever pull out a drive still rotating from a chassis, you can feel the force.

Without the sensor, the vibration would degrade the performance or introduce read/write errors. Because the drive head either takes longer to get to the targeted location or fails to read or write.

When WD Purpose just introduced, WD just didn't want to add the sensor. They did not listen to us and asked us to restrict to use 8 drives or less.

Seagate had the vibration sensor from the day one of their surveillance drives. So, we switch to them.

That was true with the first gen Purple drives, but they began putting the sensors in Puple drives initially only in the Puple NV line, but now all Purple drives have the sensor by default.

Seagate Exos Series 2.5"HDD, no failures yet. Stay tuned.

Great to see this important discussion come up again. Do look for hardware RV sensors in drives going in systems with 8 or more drives. We've found 'surveillance-class' (Seagate SkyHawk and WD Purple) drives very reliable up to 8 drives per system. But above that, and especially at 16+ drives, we highly recommend enterprise class drives only - designed and tested solely for this setup.

For readers interested in the "Seagate/WD preference" topic of the OP: Seagate's marketshare in the USA has dramatically increased, due to a complete turnaround of the issues I highlighted in this thread in 2016. It's amazing, but it's like the two companies switched roles over the last couple years. Maybe I shouldn't be too surprised though, given there were key executives and mid-level manager WD defections to Seagate!

Our company is making the move as well - Seagate is the clear future for 'video-security HDD's.' Wait till you see what they have coming this year...

Well if this topic has come up again.

While the ISC West shenannigans were going on, Toshiba launched their range of Surveillance Drives, the S300s, so there's another option for us all.

Link

Hard to jump on a product like this and trust it, but it seems like a viable line. Pricing is a few bucks less than WD or Seagate. Without digging into the spec sheets myself, does anyone have a compelling reason to try these?

I'd be more inclined to roll with these over Seagate, because I had a horrendous run with Seagates prior to Surveillance spec drives.

I used to use the Toshiba drives as storage before that and they never let me down so I'll definitely be throwing a few on long term test.

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